Gone are the days when a witty repartee would be the only weapon to unnerve or reply to an innocuous comment made by an opponent. Today’s discourse is no holds barred.
Calling names, using derogatory language, dual meaning metaphors, cryptic one words & outlandish language is what you see politicians serving their electorate in modern day politicking. They eat, sleep & speak an unparliamentarily self without erring on the side of caution. Such discourse bordering on extreme insensitivities has filled the air & almost every day we get a new lexicon to describe an adversary. So while ‘BC’ is before Congress & ‘AD’ is after Dynasty in the words of Modi; ‘ODOMOS’ is ‘Overdose of only Modi & Shah for Omar Abdullah. Just like ‘OROP’ is only Rahul & Priyanka for Amit Shah, ‘NAMO’ meant Narendra Modi the master of neologism himself.
If you heard from a certain Amit Shah exhorting people not to vote for KASAB, do not confuse yourself with the Pakistani terrorist. For him, it actually meant Ka (For Congress); SA (Samajwadi party) & B (BSP). Such can be the pervert digressions from the simple & sensible issues concerning daily life that our leaders have to actually treat us to such a razzmatazz of pseudo acronyms & duplicitous lingo. Maybe the new social media disorder has got to do something with such careless & obnoxious discourse that we witness these days. You could still be okay till you heard of stuff like life Chor, Manhoos, Scorpion, Murderer, Hitler, Gangu Teli, Pappu having descended on the grand Indian political Akhara, a repository of our great political heritage.
Until the first few years of India having become a republic, we would witness some engrossing debates by parliamentarians involving issues of national importance. The language outside was less vicious & the politicians would be very cautious using any offensive verbiage against opponents regardless of the proportion of attack or insult so perceived by the victim. It could also be that there was less attention or traction accorded to such abysmal utterances by our lawmakers, with very little media on offer. However in a free for all world of today, there sure is an overdose of such avoidable, meaningless blabber, coming at you crass behaviour by all & sundry that even a genuine jibe or a light banter looks ferocious.
Politicians are perhaps expected to be indiscriminate in comparison to the ordinary masses. So when you hear a certain Yogi “Keep your Ali, we have Bajrangbali”, in response to a Congress leader’s call to Muslims for 90% turnout in elections, you are only hearing a predictable propaganda unleashed by the respective aspirants. The problems begin when such remarks metamorphose into something more vicious & hurting of the inter-community relations. India being the country that it is, hugely diverse & pluralistic with an assortment of religions, faiths, beliefs, customs, languages, cultures & traditions all immersed in the crucible of one nation, it is incumbent on every lawmaker, representative that he/she chooses his/her words carefully. That is the oath & the duty they are supposed to do towards the constitution & towards the people at large.
It has become common place nowadays to hear partisan discussions on public platforms. The sense & mutual admiration for leaders has taken a serious beating. Gone are the days when you could see a Nehru introducing a young Vajpayee to a foreign dignitary & saying “This young man one day will become the country’s prime minister.” Vajpayee, despite having told Nehru to “have a split personality”, had tremendous respect for the first prime minister. So when he actually became the external affairs minister in 1977, he returned the favour that Nehru might have done by making “the PM prediction” & how. As he sat occupying the ministry, he noticed a blank spot on the wall. Presumably one portrait of Pt. Nehru that used to be there was missing & he immediately inquired about the same. Going by the historians accounts, Vajpayee got the portrait put back at its place as his tribute to the longest serving foreign minister of this country.
All the political parties are equally responsible for having reduced the discourse to such a nadir. Congress leader Raj Babar while campaigning in MP had reportedly called the PM Modi ‘Manhoos (ominous) over the issue of rising fuel prices. Furthermore, Babbar compared the devalued rate of the Indian rupee to the PM’s nonagenarian mother. That wasn’t fair. It is a different question that Modi might have used the same analogy describing the dollar’s rise against rupee during the Manmohan regime. Not to be left behind Gujarat CM & Modi anointed Vijay Rupani sniped back at the Congress chief saying “It shows your (Babbar’s) mansik ghatiyapan (sick mindedness).” The eloquent Navjot Sidhu slammed Modi saying that “Modi ki 2014 ki lehar ab zehar ban gayi hai,” just like KCR had reportedly said that Modi has ‘Hindu-Muslim bimari’. But then Amit Shah & Modi both have also referred repeatedly to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “Mauni Baba”, mocking his reticent nature. Similarly BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra called Congress leader Kamal Nath as scam nath.
While no party can claim high moral ground on the language they use, the Congress seeks to apportion major blame on this front to BJP & its leaders. It has accused the Hindutva outfit for lowering public discourse in the country and put the onus of keeping debates civilised squarely on the ruling party. Congress has alleged serious transgressions against the BJP of public misconduct & “offensive” statements against its former and current presidents & their families. After all who started the ‘Namdar’ vs ‘Kamdar’ debates, one may argue. As the campaign for Lok Sabha polls has already begun, we may get to see & hear of more salacious comments & insinuations by warring political outfits. The gloves are sure off & politicians would not hold themselves back firing mindless mouthfuls.
Such neo-bravado courted over irresponsible behaviour & conduct in public has certainly opened a serious debate on how our future lawmakers should react to comments or criticism by either the electorate or their opponents. The shallow, devoid of merit & unbecoming of a legislator’s conduct mustn’t triumph over the common man’s concerns for which the accused has been elected.