Saturday, April 4, 2009

Political Ironies -Coalition era

The coalition era which India is going through has thrown up a lot of ironies and a perfect case for 'chaos' theory. The politics in India is in such a turmoil that one never knows what tornado a single small act or event may bring about.

Coalitions are funny but let me bring about the positive sides of coalitions. Today due to necessity of coming together and sharing the spoils of government, the noble thought that 'people are good their ideas may be good or bad' has come into practice in the most ironical way. One day you will see a politician spewing venom over the TV screens telling how bad one party is and what not. The other day you find him hugging the leaders from the same party. One would obviously like to how is this hypocrisy positive? Well the way I see it is that it enforces the basic axiom that people have the right to express their beliefs and criticize the beliefs of others but more importantly one should fight against thoughts and ideologies and not people who follow them. One should be ready to accept that there are many views prevalent in the society and no view or belief is supreme. This is a manifestation of old philosophy of middle path or finding the middle ground while acknowledging that others may not concur entirely with my views. This is largely positive as it does not lead to formation of enmity between people but the wars are fought at a higher level i.e. the realm of ideas and arena of the mind. A nobler analogy to this phenomenon will be our independence movement which was against colonialism and India not only got her freedom but also was vocal in making sure that all the countries in the world are freed from clutches of colonialism. Yet we shared very cordial relationship with the British. The first Viceroy of free India was a Britisher. This proved to be a very good strategy as India found her stature elevated in the world as the first country to have a bloodless revolution where revolution was not marred by reciprocal hared of the erstwhile victims on their oppressors. Such a movement lent India the respect which even US vied for. Such a movement inspired similar movement in US and South Africa.

Another positive point which we conveniently ignore is that coalition era represents the deepening of Indian democracy with more options for the Indian voter. More than often there multiple view points on the same issue and two parties cannot adequately represent them. Thus this era gives voice to many many sections of people hitherto expressionless. Also coalitions make sure that there are no autocratic decisions or unilateralism exercised by any party or group.

Well the story does not end here. Contrary to intuitive and over simplistic beliefs coalition era has seen a stronger manifestation of national unity and secularism. Most of the leaders of a region would refrain from making comments against people from other states else they may become untouchable at the national level. Same is the case with secularism with most of the parties. Also regional parties have lead to a better understanding of unity in diversity among Indians. I don't think that many Indians feel unrepresented ideologically when there are a myriad of political parties filling up the thought space. Such a phenomenon is very healthy for democracy where the people who feel left out don't turn into rebels against democracy but use democracy to achieve their ends and such multitude of parties big and small gives them hope that other parties can make it to the national arena why cant they.

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