PACHU MENON, MARGAO
DEFYING long-established concepts of everything held dear by the countrymen, politics in India can be trusted to achieve the most improbable. Although it has only given reason for complaints, it has become an inseparable part of everyday life in the country. Politics has accorded many with criminal precedents the privilege to trudge the haloed portals of power in the country elevating them to the status of leaders of the masses. Politics should also be credited with the uneasy relations that have always proven to be the harbinger of communal clashes in the country. Throwing a veil of uncertainty over the much hyped secular credentials that set apart our motherland from some of her immediate neighbours who take pride in being recognised as nations owing allegiance to a particular faith, politics in India has however made a big joke about our highly publicised unity in diversity. The manner in which religion and religious feelings of the people have been exploited, it would appear that even the gods – and India has multitudes of them – have not been spared the agony of being brought down to the level where the ordinary mortals are induced by politicians to make their ‘divine presence’ a matter of public debate, and often violent ones at that. Where once issue-based politics typified the trend, it is vote-bank politics, as the practice of creating and maintaining a local bloc of voters from a single community which consistently backs a certain candidate or a political formation in democratic elections, which has gradually assumed importance in the country. The Patidar reservation agitation made a mockery of the classification system that gave the SC, ST OBC and the economically backward communities a level-playing field. However, placating various other communities to win over their confidence by a series of affirmative action measures which in turn could translate into invaluable votes, every politician worth his salt has been capitalising on the ‘boom’. And now politics in India has gone so far as to create a new religion. In short, politics is a way of life in India!