When the 2014 Indian general elections unfolded, not many paid attention to the rise of right-wing politics or even if they took notice, many were focused on getting rid of India’s left-wing congress party, mired in numerous scandals and political misgivings.
As a newsroom journalist tracking exit polls, numbers and party speeches, I was dumbfounded at the mass hysteria Prime Minister Modi managed to eke out before the elections making it a grand affair with selfies, poll planks and what not. Many liberal journalists or liberals justified his rise to the top of the heap by saying:
“I don’t really support him BUT what option do we have.”
“He has a bad history of carnage and 2002 riots BUT he is for economic development.”
“We gave Congress 30 years. But they did nothing. So, Modi is the only option.”
This BUT used by many as a way of dodging different political ideologies or balancing themselves at the border offers a view on how many aren’t even aware of ideologies or rather prefer going with the majoritarianism rule despite its misgivings.
But, cut to 2017 and India is being led by a right-wing prime minister who takes potshots and jibes at those in opposition and sometimes these criticisms cross the political boundaries and border on indecency. And there’s always a ‘fear’ of communal clashes, unrest and political thuggery meant to shake off India’s foundation as the world’s biggest democracy to a nation defined by ‘Hindutva’.
And, we saw a similar campaign in U.S Presidential elections with Donald Trump insulting, mocking, attacking and berating a wide spectrum of communities for their differences. To think, this was the same America that focused on inclusion, diversity and progressive values makes me go numb at the direction our politicians are heading, or literally tumbling with no control.
Is it a free fall? What about our economies? Is the liberal order democratic world we knew once already ebbing towards its dead end? And what next after this?.
An array of questions presents themselves as alternate right movements gain ground and white supremacists and puritans elsewhere seek for a closed world order. And George Orwell’s 1984 seems to be transferring itself into the current world order as the line between a literary classic and global politics thins, stunning everyone including pundits rather regularly. It’s not even a surprise anymore. And the emboldened regimes seem to be slapping each other on the back rather surreptitiously at all the gains, some promises of protectionist walls/borders could yield politically.
Maybe complaining won’t help or it may just be a way to express dissent to the world order that a majority of half-aware nationalistic citizens are tumbling us towards because the power of sheer numbers has the ability to change the world — For better or for worst. And here, clearly, we are in for a ride that is geopolitically and economically terse and with uncertainties.
The only solution we can now have is deleting the word BUT when speaking about tyrants, narcissists and hyper-nationalists and appropriating them and their policies in a broader context. No, engage with them, highlight the most pressing issues, but do not defend them or partake in their agenda to create a world full of borders, evisceration of human rights and laws and criminalising religions.
All opinions expressed are my own.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons / Representational purposes only.