Marrying political parties is divorcing intellect

It makes sense to be vigorous in your support for a political party if they pay you for it, or if elections are near, and you would like one to win, for example, but defending political parties is plain stupid. NONE of them give a damn about you.

On the other hand, listening blindly to any one side of the coin happens a lot if you are getting into arguments defending a party and you end up swallowing a lot of stupid logic that does you no good. This happens with every political party in India at least, but the recent post in support of Tehelka got me a lot of BJP supporters giving me all kinds of bizarre for supporting a “biased” publication.

So here are some of my replies. I hope they hold meaning for you. I am not interested in debating this. This post is about the upper limit of my interest in political party narcisism and xenophobia.

Tehelka does not like BJP

No shit Sherlock. What do you expect? After being persecuted by the BJP, they will have a love affair with them? Funny how BJP expects people to simply forget the hurts they cause. Be it the Gujarat riots “let us move on now” or Tehelka “we went slightly overboard with the verification” and oops, an organization just broke. We just want National Interest. All things considered, I find it remarkably mature of Tehelka to at least back their reporting of BJP with verifiable information – unlike the ones screaming this complaint. In my view, if they can bring proof to the table, then it is irrelevant whether they cover how many people or how. The point is the proof on the table.

Tehelka does not do stings against the Congress

This is false. I don’t know the full extent to which they do or don’t report against the Congress, but I definitely remember some. In the murder of Jessica Lal, their sting which broke the case wide open after witnesses were paid to turn hostile was against a Congress ex-MP Minister of Power in Haryana Venod Sharma – father of Manu Sharma. Tehelka also encouraged the memorable protests that contributed to justice being served. Among the piles of stuff they have on the Gujarat riots is something even BJP supporters have [selectively] quoted to me – that Zaheera Sheikh approached the Modi govt for a compromise – and no one had forced or threatened her. This information was verified by stings on two people – one of whom was a Congress corporator of the Best Bakery area. I forget his name, but it stayed in mind, because he was a Congress corporator. Of course, this doesn’t get publicized much because it turns out the original and correct version was the original one of the mob attack. But the fact remains that a Congress corporator was targeted in a sting.

Tehelka is pro-Congress

Only a BJP supporter can say this, because Tehelka has done some magnificent pieces of reporting on the 1984 Sikh Riots as well as the Bhopal Gas tragedy. They have run pieces on the Bofors scandal at least once a year. Keeping these incomplete issues alive. Their piece on the Bhopal Gas tragedy takes one of the most ruthless views of the Congress government I have ever read, including questioning the role of Rajiv Gandhi and those close to him in short changing the people, allowing the accused to escape, and deliberately selling out in order to maintain “India’s Investment Climate” – a term that has haunted me ever since I read it. They have taken issue with corporate suggestions to shift responsibility for recompense. Pro-Congress? Yeah, I bet Congress sends them Valentine’s day cards for this.

BJP is the the only choice for India. It is “less corrupt”

I am not so certain about that. My belief is if we aim low, we get low. I see no reason that I should settle for a “less corrupt” party – which incidentally only means less corrupt than the most corrupt. I am an unashamed idealist. At the same time, I accept that there are those who will buy this line, as is their right. What is incomprehensible is that if your last choice for survival is corrupt, how is it in anyone’s interest not to hold them to standards and demand they deliver. Or is it that their targets are ones you are ok with being harmed? Is this what democracy boils down to for India?

This can go on and on, but I am not interested in defending Tehelka or, for that matter lampooning BJP, because I have been equally stupidly given illogical reasons for why Mamata Banerjee is “good at heart” and only “lacks sense of talking to media”. I have also got stupid, utterly moronic comments on how Congress may be corrupt, but “it is still better than BJP” or Congress is better for the country “in other ways”. To me, these are all the same. When you start excusing political wrongs and start pointing fingers in other places, defaming sources of accusations or making excuses is a good time to ask why? Why are you putting your personal integrity at stake defending stands that are not in the interest of the country? Why is your support of your political party so superficial that you would rather they look good and no ill words about them stand than address serious wrongs and actually help make them beyond reproach?

How does this help our country? How does playing ostrich help even any political party’s future?

My point is our people, as a country. When we start killing messengers because we don’t like messages, we create for ourselves a bubble insulated from reality. We pop our heads out once in a while to complain about things going wrong, and carefully look the other way when they are actually going wrong.

Perhaps it is time to adopt the old question for Muslims into something for politics. Do you love your political party more than your country?

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1 thought on “Marrying political parties is divorcing intellect”

  1. Brilliant. I’ve had similar arguments with Modi Roadies (thank you, Mihir Sharma, for the excellent phrase) when I brought up Ashish Khaitan’s expose of the 2002 riots. As for them being pro-Congress, one of Tehelka’s most incisive exposes (Shoma Chaudhuri’s GM crops story) nails down the Congress like never before.

    Having said that, I didn’t quite like how Tehelka (more specifically Tarun Tejpal) made concessions for the illegal mining coterie in Goa in return for their patronage of their Thinkfest.

    All said & done, what we, the aam janata, need to ensure is that we consume the media output as well as propaganda of political parties with objectivity.

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