The Gloves Are Off : Fighting The War Of The Words

It is undoubtedly a well reasoned argument that the best political leaders are fairly good orators. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address, “The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” or Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can”, have mobilized and inspired billions of people in the United States and around the world. The stature and fan base political leaders acquire from delivering rhetorical quotes is incredible. A skilled politician knows how to work an audience.

A knack to articulate well, except for being directed at the audience, is also a useful weapon to ridicule, belittle and often insult the opposition group. In the political arena, speech is normally used more for the latter purpose.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Obama labelled Mitt Romney a “bullshitter” – it is the harshness and piquancy of the word that is disturbing and makes it sickening. However, as politicians are efficient opportunists, they never miss the chance to get on each other’s case.

At least the American candidates take part in formal debates, wherein they express their differences, specifics and choices over different policies and answer audience questions. The recently conducted presidential debates between Obama and Romney covered themes such as economy, health care, the role of government and governing, employment, domestic policy, foreign policy. In India, unfortunately, we do not have such a system.

The Routine Jhik-Jhik (nonsensical blabber)

All that Indian audience gets to hear from their politicians is the monotonous and never-to be-fulfilled promises with the usual tu-tu main-main(bickering). The Government is too unorganized to even have a unified or definite stand on reforms.

What greatness can we even expect? Mango People dare not desire much.

As far as bickering is concerned, politicians recklessly go on insulting each other. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish kumar must have called each other a liar about a billion times. They only modify the tone of their sentences every time but always retain the crux.

The Returns of Speaking Well

Manish Tewari was announced as the new Minister of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) in the recent cabinet reshuffle. In his term as Congress party spokesperson, he shielded it from all the monsters, be it “Mr. Anna Hazare” or the opposition party, BJP. He promoted Congress’s decisions and defended the party whenever and wherever needed. So, the recent appointment was Congress’s gesture to reward its loyalist for being a cooperative orator, and he earned it!

Figures of Speech Used While Squabbling

The snappy comments of politicians are no less than the great literary words of a poet.

Nitin Gadkari used a shrewd similie for Sonia Gandhi, commenting that, “Sonia fighting corruption is like Pak fighting terror”.

The knowledge of idioms is totally exploited and applied too. Sonia Gandhi, in her tirade against the principal opposition party hollered that “Blackmail is BJP’s political bread and butter.”

While campaigning for Uttar Pradesh elections, Rahul Gandhi personified the former U.P. state government, Bahujan Samaj Party (the party’s symbol is an elephant) as a “hungry jumbo eating away the central funds”.

Well, the great man did not spare himself too. Still a simpleton around the same time, he called himself a barsati maindak(seasonal frog). Tsk tsk! He certainly needs to take lessons in keeping his lips sealed from Manmohan Singh or for better refinement, his own mother.

Manish Tewari very meticulously depicted Anna Hazare’s body to be smacking of corruption from “head to toe”. Though afterwards, the overwhelmed Anna did not entertain such holistic description of his physique by the Congress leader, who regretted and reiterated his regrets after being slapped with a legal notice on defamation proceeding.

When To Bicker The Most

Not having much work to do renders the politicos with only one task, i.e. blabbering senselessly and, needless to say, they perform it pretty well.

Although Arvind Kejriwal is a greenhorn in the political scenario, he perfect expert in playing the blame game. All this while, he has been accusing and peeling the mask off many politicians’, their family members’ and servants’ faces.

The most exciting thing is that this drama of “unveiling and accusing” is happening at a very hot time, right before the elections.

Nonstop Yelling- A Crowd puller

During election campaigning, leaders desperately need to attract two types of people: sponsors and supporters. Funds can be acquired by various jugaads (improvised arrangements), but the mob comes hearing catchy slogans and seeing prospects of some favor-distribution.

This election season, curses are going to be showered like confetti and with scams and scandals coming into light, the limelight would keep shifting from one contestant to another. Fair enough, everyone would fall under the harsh rain. Some outrageous controversies will be created and the atmosphere would turn clean again!

The Politicians Must Perforce Attack

Since India is a democracy, the right to freedom of speech is available for all civilians, politicians or otherwise; and if any speech causes discontent, the court system is in place. The concepts of defamation and sedition charges are not new to us.

However, our politicians usually don’t back off and, like calculative professionals, remember to respond to the silliest of remarks by the opponents.

Defamation cases and probes on the allegations can go side by side but what shouldn’t be overlooked is the chance to participate in the battle of words and fight fire with fire. Politicians find themselves to be more tactical and crooked than lawyers.

Even well researched and solid claims are not tolerated. Rahul Gandhi’s remark “seven out of ten youth in Punjab are addicted to drugs” led to a huge political storm. The rattled Punjab government hit back saying that “Rahul is a national joke” and sought an apology from him.

He might have been logical and correct in his remarks, but he must also understand that if the central government doesn’t like nations as big as U.S. making assessments on its economy, the state governments also do not like missionaries from Center reviewing their state’s drug consumption. Who told him to throw himself into the lion’s den? He only came back criticized by the demographic (youth population) with which he must be most compatible.

In every case, whether the comment was meant to be spiteful or not, squabbling is given centre stage. The ministers might be, and are usually slackers in performing duties like building a school or a health care center  ensuring water supply to the chawls(substandard housing) or fixing a sewage problem, but when it comes to arguing with the opponent group, they ensure that they shoot back, tell them off in time and with full force.

The very essence of politics revolves around arguments and so the urge to squabble cannot be neglected by any politician whether corrupt or less corrupt, old or young, very educated or less educated, union ministers or state ministers.

Apologies! But some things can’t be avoided.

Sakshi Tirthani

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