Karl Marx had famously said that “Religion is the opium of the people”- he was of course referring to his communist utopia when he said these words.
Cut to 2012 and to Indian democracy- from 1947, since we ousted the British from the country and became a democracy, till date, the opium of the Indian population has become “hope”.
One look at the way our politicians have taken politicking and sloganeering to an art form in the face of things that are so grossly wrong in our “MATURE” Democracy that it makes me wonder, why is it that my friends in the US dont see the ugliness of our so called democracy?
Do my learned friends in the west only see the superficial aspects of our democracy, the free elections, an apparently great constitution ( a document that is a glorified piece of our democratic ideals, not understood by the vast majority of our illiterate population, left to be interpreted by the politicians , and fed by these seedy political class to our illiterate masses, who are their vote banks, and a document which is so lose in its interpretation, that the politicians mis-use it to their own advantage at the slightest opportunity!) as the mark of a GREAT DEMOCRACY!!!
One needs to live here for just a few months, go beyond the superficial, watch the joke that is our parliament and its Parliamentary “Decorum” to comprehend the depths of our politicians ans their crassness and you will come back a severely disappointed man.
Very often when subjected to the wrath of the people, on issues that matter to the majority in India, our “LEADERS” in India, either cut a sorry figure and lament the vastness of our “GREAT” country as an excuse for non performance, cite the inaction by the bureaucracy and the leviathan army of corrupt clerks and administration for not being able to deliver to its people- clearly alluding, that since they are “LEADERS” (very often geriatric, and virtually looking at their coffins), they are not expected to deliver, but people under them need to, and if these very bureaucrats and their incompetent teams dont deliver, its not their fault- THEY ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE.
There ends the dream of the protesting masses! and this is the sad reality of our GREAT democracy.
Another pipe dream which is often fed to the protesting masses in India is that of hope- words like, keep calm, we are doing our best (Read- we are pathetic, we are slow witted, we have an incompetent team of advisors and bureaucrats who dont deliver, its not my fault, the buck does not stop with me, but at some one elses table….), we will set up a judicial commission (Reality- judicial systems and the judiciary has been perverted to such levels since independence that one can be forgiven for thinking that we Indians live in a glorified banana republic , with judicial process taking a lifetime !…and these Judges are often political aspirants or worse, corrupt, who are willing to toe the political line of their politicians and work so slowly that the essence of the delivery will be lost in piles of paperwork and years of lethargic progress!!), we will have a parliamentary committee ( Committee comprising useless , sleazy, unshaven politicians, who clearly have no real work, and this provides them an opportunity to pay to themselves allowances from the exchequer for doing nothing).
Over all these years I have been witness to many an issue that erupted in anger in the streets of modern India, the fledgling movement, only to be cleverly doused by our politicians who have successfully used the strategy to provide hope, some hope, any glimmer of hope to their restive masses, (in marketing parlance, the 1.5% of the early adopters in the Rogers curve), and thus ensuring that the early majority never gain traction , which would eventually lead to a mass protest movement, a civil dis-obedience movement not seen since the time of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, or worse, a bloody revolution that will kick them off their pedestals and ensure their demise as a de-facto , demographic class, unique only to India!
Too often have those who took cudgels on behalf of the beaten and bruised, the abused and the raped in India, across the demographic divide, been misled off their path, been led to falsely believe that justice is “around the corner”, a judicial probe will be their panacea to eliminate all that ails our country and its real greatness- the early revolutionaries have been failing to lead an actual revolution, because they have time and again, clutched at hope offered by our politicians as a straw of sustenance, hoping against hope that at least this one politician will deliver on his promise.
This desperate clutching on to the unreal hope offered by our politicians is our opium ..it is not religion.