What is the most attractive way to enjoy power?
It is the power without responsibility. Governance without accountability is the dream come true for a politician. Identity politics is right method to achieve this fate. It has been tested from country after country. Nobody can say who invented it but British pioneered this method of governance in it’s empire by promoting different identities and keeping them at each other’s throat at all the time and act as nice pacifist arbitrator of bloody disputes.
Shashi Tharoor in his book ‘An Era of Darkness’ has given the details as to how census operations were used to shoe horn different communities into ‘caste’ identities and then promote some and oppress others for 15 years and then patronize different caste and oppress other.
Transfer of Power in 1947:
After the British transferred the power of India to it’s laquees i.e. Nehru and Jinnah, they continued time tested method of British Governance by keeping the identity politics alive. They would pampering and appease communities at the cost of other communities. But their methods were subtle and social media was not yet invented. Press was kept in tight leash. Even in TV age, only businesses submissive to establishment was permitted to have its say. Others were slowly rendered non-competitive and edged out of game. This was the period worst than British as in 1920 onwards British had encouraged criticism of establishment through editor/press-owners but subject to the condition of no direct attack on the Crown. This help them claim fairness and open society.
Now Businesses own the media and they can hire the submissive editor and fire the rebellious. Free speech in identity politics is a matter of subjective criticism.
New Millennial and unsubtle narrative:
In 1990, India got Electoral Freedom, thanks to T. N.Seshan, the then Election Commissioner. Now elections can not be hijacked like before. This resulted in hung Parliaments for next thirty years. Ascension to power on the strength of allies by BJP and Congress respectively made them to resort to identity politics even more but Congress chose minority identity and BJP had to just sit back and point out this fact. Ten years of rule between 2004-2014 has led the Congress to believe that it has some divine right to rule India and it’s policy of divide and rule through appeasement of communities, became brazen and the balloon finally bust in 2014.
The problem and it’s cause is aptly summed up as under:
“As politicians and political parties have been less and less able to commend themselves on the basis of their performance, they have deployed a standard technique: look for a grievance, for some measure by which it can be shown that the target group has been left behind; when you can’t find the grievance, invent it; stoke the sense of being discriminated against; frighten the group into believing that others are out to take away even more of what is its right; and present yourself as the only available saviour.”Arun Shourie in Falling Over Backward.
Identity Politics in 2020:
Human beings have only one consistency that they o not learn from history. When they take out an old card, due to their limited knowledge they think this is some brilliant new idea.
Akhlakh murder case, Kathua alleged rape case taught no lessons. No lessons learnt from creation of saffron terror bogey. No lesson learnt from election results of 2019. Assumption is still very strong that people of India are idiots. May be they were but the result of 2019 should have misplaced the myth.
Their is no outrage on mob lynching of Priests in Palghar, Maharashtra, complete silence on murder of priest in Karoli, Rajasthan but outrage is on a manufactured gang rape in Hathras when it appears to be honour killing. Not one comment is offered on Delhi riots or Bangluru riots. No comment on killing of Rahul Rajput in Delhi by 3-4 Muslim Boys. The media has exposed itself even more. They suppress Muslim identity while highlight caste as if it is something by which they could tell people walking on road. No wonder that their are hundreds of proliferating you tube news channels with millions of followers. Media is completely discredited itself.