The Hysteria Of Elections Has Made Democracy Deaf To Citizen apos;s Rights

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Modern life rebuilds itself on the primordial and the ancient. What Rome constructed around circuses, India builds around elections and IPL. 
Both appear like staged spectacles and epic in terms of battle. But, both need new scripts.

However, there is a fear of new ideas and new scripts. 
One watches Harsha Bhogle treated literally as anti-national because his commentary was biased towards objectivity. 
Come election time, everyone gets enthusiastic about prohibition, but all it creates is a hangover called electoral politics.

Voters in Hooghly with their identity cards
Both events are expensive and between the two they represent the idea of fair play in India. 
Yet of late there is a dullness to both, that is undeniable. 
IPL no longer provides an epic sense of competition and hysteria and the elections last fortnight lacked a sense of fable or inspiration. 
The elections in Bengal, Kerala, Assam looked like old replays without a sense of enthusiasm. 
It is as if when politics runs outs of ideas an election loses out on becoming a transformative spectacle to become a deadening pantomime. 
The cast of characters are old hangovers from an electoral Tussauds - Gogoi, Mamata, Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa. 
It appears like an enactment of regional authoritarianism to balance the Modisque anti-drama at the centre. 
Even the same lines make little difference. 
Jaya fights Karuna and one can summon little enthusiasm for it. 
Karunanidhi plays the electoral lion and creates a third rate script. 
He offers his son Stalin as the possibility of the new and the electorate yawns over it. 
Stalin will probably be a young leader at 70, before he inherits the DMK mantle. 
As ancient Rome that thrived on spectacles of Bread and Circuses, politics in Tamil Nadu survives on the dole and the gift as spectacles. 
Come election time, everyone gets enthusiastic about prohibition, but all it creates is a hangover called electoral politics. 
There is no sense of a social movement and even Vijayakanth's politics is ineffectual hardly qualifying for even cameo level possibilities. 
There are no big issues around equality or justice, just the limbo of continuity.

Jaya appears to continue like an implacable glacier and the whole electoral battle appears a much ado about nothing.
To put it ironically AIDMK and DMK which literally cinematised politics now seem frozen. 
One is sure that a lot is happening but as far as elections go political ideas seem subterranean. 
If the Punch and Judy show between AIADMK and DMK appears half dead, the battle between Mamata and CPM looks hysterical. 
This is partly because Mamata Banerjee's style can turn a morning walk into a crusade and CPM appears bereft without Bengal. 
Once again the sheer absence of ideas and issues is amazing and Bengal seems caught in the tragedy of non-choice. 
Any vote for any party dooms Bengal into a tragic non-development for another decade. 
Politics in Bengal is still hysterical and galvanic, but there is little of the animation of ideas. 
Assam boils with tension and yet it is clear that elections are not going to create reform. 
Politics will be the same give or take a Gogoi or two. 
The American army in World War 2 coined a word for such a situation, SNAFU, for an activity which expends a tremendous amount of energy, but alters the world not even a little. 
As a spectator and a citizen, I do not deny that elections are important. 
But, elections which look bereft of ideas, which present the same unpromising alternatives makes one worry about the possibilities for democracy. 
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Nitish of course is immaculately hypocritical denying that he has any prime ministerial ambitions. 
In fact, that one act captures this election drama, where the politics of hypocrisy is presented as the politics of hope. 
It embodies the conviction that the citizen who is a sucker for democracy will digest anything in its name. 
Yet one is desperate for a rethinking of ideas and a renewal of political drama. 
How does one look at symptoms of such a disease?

Where does one begin a diagnosis as a movement into therapy?
I think one can sense three major threats to the democratic-electoral system. First is the fact that civil society is on the decline, that NGOs are under threat and there are no social movements to fight durable battles against the state. 
It is as if there are few contending structures around the state today and one can sense that all political parties are relieved by the decline of NGOs and social movements. 
Secondly, media has become dominant in the new middle class view of politics and given its current style highlights the hysteria of the middle class.
Deep down that hysteria hides the dullness, the lack of ideas.

Finally one has begun to sense, that democracy in India has to go beyond electoralism to wider issues of rights, livelihood, migration and violence and our electoral system seems tone deaf to these issues. 
May be one needs this sense of ennui to create the new.
Let us hope democracy will ambush us with the unexpected. 
Only that can relieve the tedium of the Jayalalithaa and the Mamatas of today.