Disturbed by the lack of a tolerant, inclusive, plural vision for India- Oct 16, 2012

So what’s the logical option for left of Center, liberal people like me in the current political situation in India? It’s a thought that’s plagued my generation no end. I distinctly remember drawing room discussions about electoral politics when I was growing up and this is pretty much the question that plagued my parents and their friends as well. Often times, they ended up voting Congress because all other political positions were simply too extreme. Today, when the Congress appears to be crumbling under the weight of its own pretensions, pseudo socialism and dynastic obsession, even that isn’t an option any more. So what do we do, when we no abstaining from political participation is not an option either. When we know we have to keep our voice, but there is no voice out there that seems to represent us!

I can’t help feeling that we do need a new perspective and a new voice in today’s post-liberalization scenario where everything’s changing rapidly and the existing political establishments are simply too jaded and narrow in their focus to appeal to a new generation of voters. The demographics have changed. We are a super young nation now and young blood wants to see positive changes fast. Rapid urbanization and much exposure via all forms of media means people have too much information, too fast, information that is often half-baked, half-processed and can fan flames of discontent and anger. There is entirely too little reflection on many issues covered in the media and its easy to believe what you already want to believe.

But is that new voice Arvind Kejriwal? No. An emphatic no. Each time I cringe at his methods, I find myself questioning my own reactions. Why am I uncomfortable about the IAC’s way of doing things? Well, I find them too flashy, media hungry and exhibitionist. And I wonder if there is a real plan behind all this drama that is apparently for political gain. So what happens if the IAC does prove some of their allegations? Do they really have a plan for taking on a leadership role at the national level?

But my problem is that the IAC’s gimmicks and world view seems far from the liberal, secular, tolerant establishment I dream of. It thrives on hatred. I cannot believe that anything built on hatred can foster a society of tolerance and compassion, which is certainly what India must aspire for.

Am I too idealistic? Should we give up the dream of living in a society that is diverse yet tolerant, multicultural, plural and also respectful of other cultures? How do we resolve all the various conflicts around us- urban-rural, modern-traditional, religious majority vs minorities, if we don’t even have a vision for inclusion and tolerance?

Forgive me my rant people, but if anyone has any non-negative thoughts on this, please enlighten me….

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on October 16, 2012, in Politics & Citizenship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hope lies in sensitizing ,igniting and educating the young with values , sacrifice and character.

  2. There is no quick fix unfortunately. One person cannot change the socio-political system in a day / year / decade. But we can do something. We can change our country’s future. We can do this by imbuing our young with a sense of values, positive energies, achievement orientation and a strong sense of self worth. Then we will want to be citizens of a future India. Wasn’t it Gandhi who said: in order to change the world, we first need to change ourselves 🙂 Jai ho

    • Totally. Get quite crazy when I see parents actively foist their insecurities and biases on their kids. But that’s natural too. Everyone believes they are right. Including the ones who spew hatred and bigotry. Now what do we do about that!

  3. Change is slow. We need to patiently do our little bit – equipping our children with the correct values, encouraging them to ask questions, maybe take them volunteering at a young age so that helping others (without the expectation of a quid pro quo) comes naturally to them in their adult lives. We need to teach them the lesson of patience and perseverance too – so that they are not tempted to take the short cut method when available, not jumping queues, allowing others to deboard a metro compartment… small things that make life bearable. And maybe we should follow these lessons ourselves. It might seem dark and depressing today but, when you look at the progress India as a country and society has made over the past 60+ years, there is hope for the future. Undoubtedly our task is more difficult, also because the more developed countries keep enticing our best talents/minds away by encouraging to think just for themselves and not for the society that raised/invested in them. Still, all we can really do is inculcate the right values in our children, lead by example, and hope for the best!

    • Bingo! You are the third person who said the exact same thing here. I agree and it’s about each one doing their bit. I see plenty of hope in children but also see kids being taught to be competitive, pushy, self centred. Yup those are virtues in many middle class homes. How do we change that? How do we not pass on our insecurities?

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