After extensive research at Oak Labs, we believe we have discovered the secret of success in politics. It revolves around the simple concept of “Us vs Them”. The key to getting a mass following, winning elections and being a popular leader lies in the ability of the politician to clearly define an “Us vs Them” pattern.So throughout history and in all walks of life, the successful politician always has a clear understanding of who ‘Us’ is and who ‘Them’ are. It is the ability of the politician to convey this understanding that decides how successful he or she is. Here are some examples of Us vs Them. Rulers vs Natives, White vs Black, Democracy vs Dictators, Indian Cricket vs Aussie Cricket, Locals vs Migrants, Secular vs Communal, Believers in a Faith vs Non-believers, Underdeveloped vs Developed Countries and so on.
The chiefs of the 3 armed forces were recently exempted from security checks at airports. In the build up to this decision, you got quotes like “It is a shame that India cannot accord a small privilege for those who guard the country”. Since anything related to the forces always gets linked to patriotism and national pride, so naturally references to the same were made from all corners. Finally the government gave in and extended the privilege of exemptions from security checks. The minister added that it was “absolutely appropriate” that the people who defended the country’s borders should not go through the security check exercise. So ended the matter. The VIP list for exemptions got a little longer for another service. “No big deal. All’s well that ends well. Right?”
Not really. The basic premise for this or any VIP privilege is that a certain person’s time or pride is more important than that of ordinary citizens like you and me. This goes completely against my understanding of democracy and people’s rule. VIP privileges for a chosen few cannot be a part of a democracy. It’s understandable if a dictator is a VIP, but in democratic India, no minister, politician, military officer or even the Prime Minister can be a VIP. He is just another citizen of India chosen to lead and not to rule. Privileges to bypass the queue is just one aspect of the mammoth VIP baggage that the nation carries. In a supposed equitable society, the time and pride of my cook, driver, my boss or the Prime Minister of India should have the same value, at least on paper. There cannot be a government sanction for discrimination.
Post the T20 world cup, Dhoni is said to be making crores more and every other cricketer is making lakhs more. Good for them and best wishes to them. However something that isn’t good for us, is how our tax money was blown by every government in the country during the post world cup money distribution ceremonies. I have nothing against good old Ajit Agarkar or the promising Rohit Sharma, but I think it was not right of the State government to dole out 20 lakhs of tax payer’s money.
Continue reading “Modern Day Maharajas?”