Indian Politics in a Mare’s Nest

A fourteen year old girl and budding tennis player is molested by an inspector. Unlike a swarm of other Indians bracketed within the designation of being the powerless and the unaided middle-class, this young girl carries unquestionable faith in the famed Indian judiciary. A complaint is lodged against the decadent inspector. But justice yet again decides upon its nasty course, upon the much trampled path the Indian law fraternity has so often chosen. A helpless father gets humiliated at his work place and false theft cases get slapped against the victim’s thirteen year old sibling. Expelled from school on a trumped-up charge, and unable to witness the agony borne by her loved ones, Ruchika poisons herself at age 17. The inspector while backed by a bevy of powerful associates escapes scot free. While he continues to rise in the police force under the refuge of the state’s esteemed politicians, Ruchika’s family drowns deeper in grief. Under the pressure created by the news-hungry media and the sudden arouse of sympathy in the till-now apathetic fellow men, 19 years later the court pronounces the inspector guilty and charges him with Rs1000 fine and six months of imprisonment.

It takes 3 years for a molestation case to reach the court and 19 years for a judgment. On the contrary, a politician’s inconsequential remarks about topics that probably do little other than earning the country’s political system a negative reputation among its own citizens make immediate news. And not just news, but a big ‘song and dance’ about the comments he makes.  Not strange in a country like ours, the next thing that happens is that he is asked to resign. Politicians get offended and party members embarrassed. After many fiery discussions and hollow persuasions, things assume normality. With no news for the media to cover and not many spicy ones for a nation like us to hear, once again composure prevails, watching and waiting for the next ‘big’ thing to happen.

It does not now remain an unheard story that the media today is on the hunt for news that make ‘news’. Things that happen may not always be important, but the tendentious attitude adopted by the media makes sure it appears so. The very crucial media-politics nexus has assumed a rather precarious edge. With the hoi polloi well out of the picture, a nasty game continues between the two most powerful media that run the nation. Murders and thefts, the ups and downs in a rich man’s not-so-public life cover the morning news paper’s front page, with the sidelined tabloids occupied by the policemen who risk their lives to detonate a bomb found in the populated cities these very biggy-wiggies inhabit. For a typical Indian today, the day starts with a hot cup of tea in one hand, and a piece of bad news in the other. It’s hardly any other thing than a politician’s exposure of corruption that keeps him riveted to the televisions, enjoying in the cozy ambience of the living room, the doomed future of the country. The concentration of the media pre-defined and the destiny of the ordinary folk in the hands of the ones who could be tagged as the producer of such prejudiced laws and rights, the designation of a topic as important or not-so-important remains a difficult task. What survives is not what actually happened, but one that could have happened, something so twisted and moulded that it could never be recoiled to get to the real facts. And the fickle minds that we have been trained to develop lives a blissful life on whatever it is fed.

With diversity in opinions at its peak, rapes, murders and loots now remain to be the only issues that arouse a public display of unity. Freedom of speech is no doubt a natural inheritance, but the freedom of thought has long since been snatched away and in its place a holocaust of duplication has been implanted. The innate complacency of democracy and the spontaneous spirit of applicability it demands still remains an unattended rupture.

Dipti Jain

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