Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Despicable Political Discourse


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Never before has an election campaign played with emotions of hate and othering as this one. While analysts and election watchers have stated that with each election in this country the discourse has dropped a few rungs and personal attacks and insinuations of the opposing parties has been the hallmark. But nothing can be worse than igniting fear and hatred against a particular religion and its adherents as is happening currently. Its almost as if each political party is waiting to pounce on any salacious piece of the news about its opponents. In all of this the real issues besetting the country such as the disturbing state of the country’s economy, the burden of inflation which has made life difficult for the common person outside of government’s payroll. The burgeoning unemployment figures are sought to be buried by manufactured figures just as the government’s achievements are blown out of proportion without any evidence of such claims. Since large swathes of the media today have turned cheerleaders of the ruling party and most media today are owned by two major corporate honchos – Ambani and Adani – both beneficiaries of government largesse it is futile to even expect anything better.
The media is supposed to inform and educate citizens about the true state of affairs prevailing in the country but since most media is compromised and the Prime Minister himself refuses to hold a press conference and be held publicly accountable for the government’s performance, the public is now left to deduce about the state of the nation from whatever it is able to consume from the internet and the proliferating social media content that can at best mislead since there is no knowing if one is being misinformed or disinformed. In a situation where the government refuses to divulge the facts and berates institutions that bring out data which are disconcerting. If data on India comes from international agencies they are labelled as being antagonistic to this country and of wanting to paint an ugly picture of India instead of prompting an introspection into the facts and figures being thrown up by organisations that are globally reputed.
The fact that no census survey was carried out in 2021 means that India today does not know exactly what its population is. Is this not a matter of concern? How do health and educational institutions work if they don’t have this basic statistic? There are in fact many issues that demand serious debates during elections but they have been bypassed and substituted by hateful rhetoric. Each day the bar gets lower and election speeches have turned abusive. Is this the reason why there is a sense of fatigue among voters and consequently the low turnout rate? There is a limit to how much abuse the human mind can tolerate and while the acolytes of political parties may believe differently, the fact is that hate speeches can impact negatively on the political party adopting it as a strategy.

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