Edit/Op-Ed

Varanasi: Chant-man (Modi) Vs. Serviceman (AK-49)

Rakesh Manchanda for BeyondHeadlines

From Laathi (Baton) to tweets, a man needs security with sharing followed by connectivity. Greed for short cuts and power by those who do not deserve it is delivering violence and provoking words with actions into election campaign.

Varansi is becoming noisy in the run up to decide who shall serve the people. Battlelines are visible. Varanasi contest is fast polarizing between 49 days CM of Delhi-Arvind Kejriwal and Hindu heartthrob Narender Modi – Gujarat CM who counts his developments in 1825 days -5 years. Varanasi is a temple city where ‘Goswami Tulsidas’ founded the ‘Sankatmochan’ Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Tulsidas started the Ramlila folk-theater adaption of the Ramayana in the local language.

Watch the Television bytes more closely – Arvind Kejriwal folds hands, takes a dip in holy Ganga: chanting Har Har Mahadev, he does ‘Surya Namaskar’. Out of Ganga after ‘holy bath’ Arvind is greeted with eggs thrown by Modi supporters. With ‘chandan’ smeared on his forehead and wearing the saffron scraf, he visits famous Sanatmochan Temple and recites ‘Hanuman Chalisa’.

Modest yet confident with daring he waits meekly as if waiting for Varanasi people: the masters and voters to invite him to contest. Mr. Modi is vocal and appears to claim Varanasi seat as his natural right. Modi chooses to contest also from Vadodara at the cost of tax payer’s money. Contesting from two seats is like buying two train tickets for a single person journey. Mr. Kejriwal understands the rules of a sevak while Mr. Modi displays ‘naked’ ‘Neta’ authority with new ‘PM cloths’ of development.

With elevation of the election fever and pressure of people, the weak leaders crack in slog over. Let us not be silent and help collect the observations. Modi support lobby with Modi tea stalls distributing tea is like a private army that is camping with American knicker drills, black RRS caps and using Laathi as a weapon all in name of a culture to gain power.

Thanks to Modi- the BJP candidate for PM now sees AK-49 (49 days of governance) and ‘Pakistan agent card’ instead of a Jhadoo for cleaning. Imagine a modern AK-49 firing 1000 rounds per minute replacing the ordinary Jhadoo and not even a vacuum cleaner. Do we need a Jhadoo and or a gun to remove Indian problems of Janta?

Instead of displaying his good works, the BJP PM candidate tried an old politician trick to use fear to divert attention. For hidden masters like Ambani-Adani people are now fast realizing the connection and the power. Does AK-49 instead of Jhadoo (Broom election symbol) indicate some fast effective results as claimed by AAP never done before?

Even Modi demands 60 months to put his own governance skills to ‘test’ as he says public has given 60 years to Congress rule. After 49 days Modi claims Arvind Kejriwal ran away whereas BJP-Congress who pulled down AAP sarkar over Lokpal are still wily wishing and running away from running Delhi Government and Delhi people have to face hike in gas and electricity prices.

Power via Weapons or Connecting with Peoples’ Need:

India a great land of snakes and snake charmers continues to showcase Gandhi, lathis as weapons and violence in politics all in the same space. We have around 270 species of snakes. Not all ooze poison to kill human except a few. Majority of the snakes in agriculture field have very less poison; just enough to help them survive. Snakes work as ‘unpaid farm guards’ to kill crop enemies like field mouse and at times frogs and lizards. The fear and inability of a person to identify a snake is what creates the confusion. Only a few type of snake have poison to kill humans. Politicians at times are compared with poisonous snake like Copra because of their skills to convince people and later to ditch them or ‘poison’ them to remain divided and deprived.

Snake charmers in India try to make their clients happy and force their snakes to drink milk; which is more than he can handle which is why many snakes are found dead around ‘Nag Panchami’- religious festival where Indians try to feed snake with milk. Body of a snake cannot drink or suck any liquid and due to lungs getting choked they die. Therefore popular tradition says – Do not feed milk to a snake. Apply this tradition in politics and you will find many blind supporters of leaders getting hurt or killed with no constructive work by political parties but only grabbing of power via protests. Protest is a good communicating tool to focus on the problems but it fails to shoot the problems and solve them.

Connecting with real needs of people is essential. This is tricky – as Tulisadas who worked to make ‘Ramayan’ easy in common man’s empowered language was once bashed by Brahmins who feared a loss in authority due to his works. Today Brahmins in Varanasi value Tulsidas equal and at times more. It shall be interesting to see how Brahmins now in Varansi shall value KG Basin Gas Price exposure controlled by Ambani with NaMo-RaGa nexus which shall hit the pockets of all Indians due to high prices.

Political parties under the mask of culture and religion continue to take pride in drills where Laathis and swords are extensively used. Use of such weapon and drill continue as an extra- constitutional privilege or often get weapon license under the excuse of protecting culture. A congress candidate from UP is booked and send to jail for hate speech against Modi.

In a war and in elections if you do not know your moves, you lose. Exploiter with the powerful weapons wins and the majority voters lose. This, however, needs mobilization for correction, i.e. a process of involving people, which in turn needs connecting people towards a change using non violence as a tool with a power of dignity and Right to Work as a power tool.

Another important lesson in Varanasi ongoing contest is to check ourselves for any element of self-righteousness and tolerance. It leads to a wrong believe, ‘I cannot lose’. It is just an illusion. Win-Loss does not matter. What matter is the participation for betterment?

[Views expressed are personal.]

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