My contribution to Railders' Guardian July 2019
My best wishes to all members for the forthcoming festive season.
The results of the general elections overturned the calculations of many media celebs and their followers who, in their smug overconfidence, expected a change of guard at the centre. To their utter surprise, voters across the country endorsed the ruling party giving it a bigger majority than before, ignoring the attempts to tarnish the image of its leader by exaggerated accounts of partisanship in favour of one community, unfounded allegations of corruption in defence deals and personal attacks against the man himself.
The country firmly rejected coalition politics and dynastic politics, with a stark exception in the south, dumping many a scion with ambitions to rule the country. The chief contender would have been without a parliamentary seat, but for a last-minute scamper to a safe place in the south. Leftists were undone by the slogan, Ei Baar Ram, Pare Bam (This time Ram, left later), leaving them with only one seat for the first time in parliamentary history. Nor did voters in Bengal and AP take kindly to incumbent leaders screaming their heads off with personal attacks against their opponents.
It seems that people voted for someone who brought real change into their lives, instead of parading empty promises as others have been doing for decades. One senior journo confessed that when he and others saw the changes in lifestyle in rural areas, they had ignored them as unimportant. Some of these media celebs have been forced to review their relevance in the new scheme of things. Others have declared that the voters erred and that the future of Indian democracy and multi-religious culture is in peril. Time alone will resolve the puzzle but, as of now, we have a government unimpeded by compulsions of coalitions and, hopefully, some good will result from it.
The new government teed off by sacking several bureaucrats for inefficiency and corruption, but the ruling party sent a contrary signal by admitting a tainted politician from one of the losing ones. The initiative on water conservation augurs well for the future. This year, the prolonged summer took its toll of lives all over the country, but we are shocked at the loss of a many extremely mal-nourished and unprotected children in North Bihar. This tragedy, as well as in the death of construction workers building a dome in Hyderabad and similar tragedies, reinforce the need for more sentience in governance.
While the media is choked with news and ads on the Cricket World Cup, Indian athletes of both sexes are making waves globally, from hockey to boxing to shooting and even rugby, unmindful of the lack of encouragement of the kind we seem to reserve for cricketers. Kohli’s men have performed splendidly, but for a self-imposed scare against lowly Afghanistan, but middle order blues continue to plague the men in blue. Hopefully they will overcome them, and you will have cause for cheer by the time you read this.