Years ago, when I was a student of mass communication, as part of a group discussion, I had proposed (of course, theoretically!) that India should have a system of governance that is an amalgamation of both democracy and dictatorship. I don’t remember anything else about that discussion except that mine was a minority opinion in the whole group. Needless to say that if I were to juxtapose that topic and discussion to the whole country, my opinion would still be in minority even today. I seriously feel that democracy is quite over-rated as a system of governance because we keep saying that our vote is powerful but we forget to add that it is powerful for the political class, not for the aam janta. The ‘mango people’ have no idea about what to do with their power of ballot and the political class makes full use of that power, to drive their own interests. Janta jaaye bhaad mein!
Just recently, president of the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the umpteenth time since 2014. This time, it was Modi’s alleged ‘mistakes’ in Jammu and Kashmir that had caused the state to be ‘on fire.’ Jammu and Ladakh, two regions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (yes, J&K is more than just Kashmir!!!) are thankfully, more or less, peaceful. But yes, Kashmir is on fire, especiallyin wake of the brutal killings of members of the Jammu and Kashmir police force.But is it all a recent phenomenon? More importantly, was everything hunky-dory before 2014? Even a child would say no to both the queries.
But the political class would want you to believe otherwise! And leading that bandwagon is, who else, but the motor-mouth himself. The Gandhi scion has accused the Modi government of throwing open “the doors of J&K for terrorists.” Well, the doors were opened at the time his father was the Prime Minister, but this is a fact he has conveniently forgotten. Moreover, when he says, ‘no politician was martyred in J&K”, he forgets one of the very first killings in Kashmir, that of Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, then vice president of BJP in the state, for obvious reasons. But that was just a start. Since then, people with particular political leanings, especially one that is against the ‘ideology’ of terrorists, have regularly fallen victims to bullets. And recently, the ire has returned to the politicians, albeit at a more localized level. This includes workers of both National Conference and People’s Democratic Party, both Kashmir-based outfits.
As usual, the BJP has rubbished the allegations, but that is another story in this tennis-match of allegations and counter-allegations. Who is kept hanging amidst all this show of political strength? It is the poor public, from one election to the next. And now that the janta finally decided to take matters in its own hands, during the recently-concluded local body elections in J&K, it seems history is going to repeat itself. After all, how can people be allowed to take their own decisions! Democracy for the people, of the people, by the people could well be termed as the ‘biggest scam’ of all times. That is the painful truth of our times.
People in J&K must be really happy these days, especially those in Jammu, for having elected majority of BJP candidates to the local bodies. They must be feeling elated at having assigned the reigns of public works to the hands of a party, whose image is that of ‘Kaamdaars’, as the PM Modi himself announced in the Parliament. But they have to make just one trip to the national capital, to East Delhi, in particular, to see how inefficient, lazy, insensitive and dishonest the BJP has proved to be in terms of municipal tasks. We won’t go into the fact that the Delhi government, led by another entertaining character, has been equally handicapped. That is the subject for another day, another write-up. But the BJP councilors have done almost nothing to alleviate the basic local problems of residents of a major part of East Delhi. You can see garbage strewn around the main roads and dumping grounds over-ridden by filth. Water supply, in specific localities brings dirty water, instead of clean water. Roads are in such bad conditions that if one was to take a motorbike or rickshaw ride, one would surely end up with a spinal injury, in the least. And all this has been going on for months now, in case of some localities, even years. Each complaint, every news report, every TV show falls on deaf ears and the same old argument, “funds nahi hain!” So, Jammuites, before you rejoice, just make sure that Jammu doesn’t go the same way as East Delhi. Keep your representatives on toes and demand an explanation for works not done. Otherwise, your vote will have gone waste, yet again.
Once again, it is election time next year and we will see a full-on tennis match happening between Congress and BJP. Allegations, counter-allegations, abuse, counter-abuse, drama, counter-drama, all this is on the menu for Elections 2019. Amidst all this, people who have no idea about their voting power, will get swayed by one side or the other and cast their vote. And there will be some who will say, to hell with it all. And at the end of the elections, whichever party, gathabandhan or maha-gathabandhan wins, it is the janta that is going to lose, once again, for another five years. And for another five years, the story of roti-kapda-makaan will be the same, with no one listening to the public. Meanwhile, people like me would continue to hope for a little bit of dictatorship within this democracy because in our hearts, we believe that we need it badly!