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Political Morality and Fault Tolerant Society

Political Morality and Fault Tolerant Society

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Published by Vijay M. Deshpande
Technology for mud slinging has improved with sting operations, doctored CDs & websites and so bricks & mortars are not required for damaging private & public properties. All the political parties must evolve a code of conduct for peaceful demonstrations.
Technology for mud slinging has improved with sting operations, doctored CDs & websites and so bricks & mortars are not required for damaging private & public properties. All the political parties must evolve a code of conduct for peaceful demonstrations.

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Published by: Vijay M. Deshpande on Feb 13, 2010
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02/13/2010

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Political Morality and Fault Tolerant Society
In last decade or so, it has become a trend to protest against artists, painters, film producers or actors in the name of political assertion of morality. The painters or actorshave to fall on the feet of the high and the mighty to get their blessings. Theaters or film producers and actors must seek protection to screen a film, or face stone pelting crowds.The sportsmen are also targeted for being what comes naturally to them… being Indian.From Sania Mirza to Sachin Tendulkar all leading players had their share of experiences.From Karan Johar to Amitabh Bachchan, and from Jaya Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan allhave been through the baptism by fire! The books & films are banned and then bans arelifted. And while all the high pitch drama unfolds, the target audience as well as the vote bank is not even concerned about what goes on except for hassles and inconveniences if any.Political parties take on themselves the role of self appointed guardians of morality toaddress their vote bank. Religious groups with affiliation to political parties have their own agenda and vent out their anger with slightest provocations. In fact participation of common man is seldom there in such protests which are limited to a few hired professionals to create disturbances and fear among the public. It only serves the purposeof keeping news channels busy 24x7. May be a few apologies here and there and theissues are over. So finally it boils down to just egos of a few politicians for which the public has to put up with all the hassles and loss of property etc. If one looks back at suchincidences in last 5 years it becomes clear that none has been taken to their logicalconclusion. They all have fizzled out or lost relevance.The net result is trampling on the fundamental rights of the citizens for expression of freespeech. The cost of this is reflected in damages caused to the public property, loss of  production or economic activities. The court cases against perpetrators of crimes, if any,are dragged till all concerned lose their patience. Though legal provisions exist to make political parties pay for the damages, there are hardly any inspiring land mark judgmentsto make any difference. One simply does not know if any politicians, demonstrators or unconnected opportunist hoodlums involved in rioting have ever been punished. And yetthe show must go on.The politicians have fundamental right to have their own views and express them freelyas much as common man has. But taking shelter of a political banner to impose their ownviews on whoever they do not agree with is not democracy. Politicians get elected toassemblies or parliament and that is the battle field for them to air their views, debate, pass strictures, and censure anything unpalatable, if they can. Taking to the streets atslightest irritation shows their desperation and ineffectiveness within the house of assembly or parliament where they are ill equipped and unable to sell their views.This is not to advocate banning of public protests to attract the attention of the authoritiesor law makers. But there must be civilized norms of how the protests would be conducted
 
 by any political party. Today with hundreds of TV channels covering everything live,even one banner of protest along with a press conference is more than adequate to reachout to millions of viewers without need to break glasses, pelt stones, burn tires or damagefurniture to attract attention.
Technology for mud slinging has improved with stingoperations, doctored CDs & websites and so bricks & mortars are not required fordamaging private & public properties. All the political parties must evolve a code of conduct for peaceful demonstrations.
At present no one knows if the politicians & people seen indulging in rioting on TVscreens have ever been punished. The government and political parties are not interestedin taking any actions as quid pro quo. Under these circumstances, the journalists or newschannels and NGOs should compile information on follow up of cases against rioters of  political parties along with damages incurred and publish information periodically to highlight inaction or action taken.Today the society has by and large become fault tolerant to an extent that there is generalcynicism when it comes to political system and general governance. Either there is totalindifference or sudden outburst of pent up feelings resulting in unexpected blow ups. We,as members of society, must calibrate our responses based on data and factualinformation and resist unreasonable diktats & political interpretations of creations of artists, professionals, writers, and leave it to individuals to decide what one should see or read and what one should not. If people do not like a book, the word of mouth wouldensure that a book does not sell. If people do not like to watch players from some teams,they would switch off their TV sets or do not go to stadium to watch a match.The recent amendment to IT Act 2000 has resulted in the government withdrawingexecutive powers to ban pornographic web sites based on morality alone. Governmentcan ban such a website only if it causes public disturbances creating law & order  problems. Perhaps our political parties have their hands full with cricket and film releasesand have not yet protested for this abdication of executive powers. In fact anything whichis banned invokes more curiosity and enhances salability and becomes counterproductiveto the protestors’ objectives.The political parties would do well to focus on more serious issues like soaring inflation,hoarding of commodities, power shortages, pollution of rivers, garbage management incities, traffic management etc. instead of trivial issues. The budgets of the states and thecentre are round the corner and they could significantly contribute in programformulations and budgetary allocations. We have not seen any significant positivecontribution in controlling the inflation effectively. It is unfortunate that serious issues donot have the mindshare of the politicians and common man is left to fend for himself.Valentine Day has come to stay now, Jinnah sells faster in book stores and all the Khans& the Bachchans are doing well. And the political parties will be looking out for newnon-issues while the common man is still struggling. All the best.Vijay M. Deshpande

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