Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Of the People, by the People, for the People



Elections in Gujarat are around the corner. If the pundits are to be believed then Narendra Modi is going to win yet again with more than a comfortable majority. The pundits may well be right.
Let us go back to that election immediately after the Godhara deaths and the pogrom that followed. The question to be asked is did the voter believe that the Narendra Modi Government was complicit in the massacres that followed or did they accept the State Government's version that the State was impartial and tried to do all that it could to save life and property. If it was the latter then the matter rests there, however naive one may perceive the voter to be. On the other hand if the vote was "an expression" of a tacit, covert acknowledgment of the Government's role in the savagery then that opens up a completely new debate.
It   is a complex debate with many facets and issues. The core of the issue however is the social acceptability of the idea of discrimination. Discrimination based on gender, class, ethnicity, caste and what have you continues to have social sanction.
The State does no better and cannot since it is merely a reflection of society. Take the example of "caste barracks" in the Patna Police Lines. How are these police men expected to uphold the principle of "equality" as set out in the Constitution when they are most comfortable and accepting of existing discrimination?
Of course, as pointed out by a friend what is more disturbing than the social acceptance of discrimination is the collective acceptability of savagery......

7 comments:

Su said...

Interesting interpretation. I have a more fundamental query to which I am yet to receive a satifactory answer. Why is it presumed that equality and equality *alone* is the answer to all of human misery? What is the rationale found in nature that all human beings - members of one species - are created exactly the same? No two cells are the same in one organ in one human body at any given point of time. How (and more importantly, why) is it, then taken for granted that equality and not equity, is what should govern all human existence? Historic evidence of human savagery is rooted in avarice and greed. There can be no equality between people, only equity. If this then to be evaluated, the whole concept of one-man-one-vote goes down the drain and any so does any other assumption based on the faith that every human being that votes, knows what he/she is doing, in its entirety.

Ahn said...

I do think the idea of equality in the constitution is actually based on equity. Why would you think otherwise?

Ahn said...

A very interesting piece by Aakar Patel

http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/gujarat-is-not-done-with-its-caesar

Divya Bhalla said...

In the absence of acceptance, there is no choice but to accept humanity as the "animal kingdom" of one-up-man-ship. I guess.

Ahn said...

@Su : To come back to your argument of the inherent and actual inequality between people and a persons desire to be selfish. Actually, human nature is such that the people and communities that are marginalised intrinsically seek "equality" and "parity" with those who have access to resources. However people who have access to resources, being in a better position do not have a natural instinct to share.
This takes us to the next level of the argument. If people who start of prosperous were guaranteed their prosperity throughout their lives, then they would not bother with ideas of equity or equality. However if they were to foresee waning of fortunes, then they would react very differently, I imagine!!!!

Ahn said...

@Divya: Hey Divya, There is always a choice to stand up for what is right and I know that you do it in your own quiet style. More power to you!!

Su said...

@Ahn: Those who don't have will want. Those who do have will want more. Applies to almost all Life. So..my observation stands. Universal suffrage as understood - and practiced - in modern times is alien to Nature. And the more alien we are to Nature, the more catastrophic the decline when it comes.