BJP to supporters: See no evil, speak no truth, listen to no criticism
The government and BJP's deafening silence in response to protests by women wrestlers alleging sexual harassment by a Member of Parliament is consistent with their public conduct, writes Aakar Patel
Sabka Saath (in solidarity with everyone) is a lie or a delusion.
It is more likely to be a lie, because exclusion is deliberately perpetrated and institutionalised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It has no Muslim Member of Parliament nor any Muslim Member of the Legislative Assembly; yet the BJP says “Sabka Saath”.
While its ministers garland those convicted of lynching minorities, the BJP says “Sabka Saath”.
Who do they think they are fooling? Nobody. The BJP wants to say the words because it is not honest. Or perhaps it was a nice-sounding jumla (a contemporary colloquialism for a slogan or catchphrase) at the time. Or perhaps that time was not right for the party to openly claim what it really stands for. Whatever we conclude to be the reason, it is an inescapable conclusion that the slogan itself is untrue, because the numbers do not lie.
But this level of fake piety and pretend virtue—while the deception is visible for all to see—is likely unique to usAakar Patel
Beti Bachao (‘save the daughters’) is not a convincing phrase in the mouths of those who free convicted rapists for coldly calculated political benefit. Beti Bachao is mere jumla when wrestlers, national heroines in their field, must sit in protest to beg for action against their oppressor.
The government is reluctant to act because the man is a long-term party MP and it senses there might be political benefit in not acting. This is the only reason it looks away from, and in that sense condones and encourages the harassment of India’s daughters.
It claims to promote Beti Bachao, though in court it is unwilling to reveal the reasons for choosing to release rapists. Again, mark the reluctance to reveal oneself honestly.
In how many democracies is the political rhetoric this disjointed from the reality of the nation? One cannot think of any, really. Of course, hypocrisy and lies are a part of all political activity, and that is the reason why many people are not attracted to it. But this level of fake piety and pretend virtue—while the deception is visible for all to see—is likely unique to us and that is why we have to talk about it.
It is remarkable that a political party can do this and assume it can get away with it forever, but such is the arrogance of power, and this time, the delusion is likely real.
On the one hand, there is the mass media feeding at the trough and happy to be seen as cheerleader for the government, if not aching to be an actual part of the official propaganda machine. From them, we can expect no honest survey or assessment.
Add to this a set of the world's most craven celebrities, film stars, musicians and cricketers, unwilling to stand up even for their own when they are tortured and persecuted; too afraid to speak and too selfish and greedy to put at stake the riches they have gathered through their fame.
And so externally there is no large dissenting, authoritative and popular voice to point out that what is being shown as day is really night.
On the other hand, the leader is shielded by those who line up to say in public the opposite of what is manifest and apparent, and what probably even they believe to be true. This works in particular with those leaders who have convinced themselves that they can only ever do the right thing. They want to be shown the evidence of every being wrong, and there is no shortage of people demanding evidence of harassment.
If the leader held gigantic rallies when the second wave of the pandemic devastated the land, his aides were vociferous in claiming that the rallies did not spread the Covid infection. The BJP actually passed a resolution just before the second wave started, declaring that the Prime Minister had defeated the Covid pandemic, and thereafter deleted the resolution from its website after the second wave began.
When religious bigotry is exposed as the fundamental pillar of the BJP’s politics, they righteously point out that in the distribution of entitlements, the party does not discriminate against minorities (as if such a thing were even possible, and as if anyone had ever accused them of doing this, but let us set that aside for now).
If joblessness and low wages are being experienced by crores of people and this is being reported on almost a daily basis, they will conjure up data that would show this is not the case and that India is in fact not only marching towards the blessed Amritkaal (Immortal Age) but is already in it.
The government’s own data that show poverty increasing and consumption, including of food, decreasing between 2012 and
2018 is discarded because it is inconvenient. No reason is given and the findings are not put out in the open for scrutiny. We must accept the government’s word that the data that it itself has collected is so bad that they cannot be revealed.
The government's own finding that joblessness hit record levels in 2019, before the pandemic, was discredited by the courtiers till the election was over, and then the findings were released without any change or comment.
This, then, is the level of ethics and morality of those who surround the king and whisper into his ears that all is well.
The same people, including women in positions of power, are complicit in what is happening around them, and choose complicity over integrity.
In such a place, it possibly becomes easy to believe in whatever one says, though all evidence may point in the other direction.
It is a variant of the actions being taken by those three monkeys: See no evil, speak no truth and listen to no criticism.
The chants continue: Beti Bachao and Sabka Saath.
(The author’s views are personal)
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