India is passing through a historical period of self-purification. Our Prime Minister is putting an end to black money and corruption. Our Supreme Court is feeding patriotism into our hearts via cinema halls. Now the apex court has weaned our politics from our gods. 125 crore Indians may go down in history as the people who sanitised a whole polity.
Can politics exist without corruption? Can greed be washed out of human hearts? Can religion be separated from public affairs especially politics?
Politics and Corruption
Corruption is an integral part of politics simply because politics is about power and power is about subordination of most people by a few. Subordination, swindling, manipulation, exploitation... these are the normal synonyms of power unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool idealist. There is no power structure without bribery, cronyism, nepotism, extortion, parochialism, embezzlement, and whatever helps one climb up the endless rungs of the ascent.
As Carl Sagan said, we have been bamboozled so long in history that our minds are tuned to reject the deception. “We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” [The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark]
Go back to the history books once again. A careful peep into them will tell us that our history is full of blood and filth. Because charlatans of one type or another sat at the apex of the power structures with very few exceptions. Only charlatans actually reach there. And they learn the latest tricks of the trade. They know how to bamboozle us in new ways. Look at who were caught with wads and wads of the new currency soon after the demonetisation and think whether demonetisation actually achieved anything good.
Does it mean that attempts should not be made to cleanse the system? Not at all. The attempts should be genuine and effective.
If you want to change a particular system effectively, you have to replace it with a better system. I quoted Carl Sagan intentionally because the title of the book from which the quote is taken gives a hint to a better solution: science as the candle in the dark. Bring more rational thinking into people’s minds. Make people think and realise why cooperation is better than competition, why sharing is more beneficial than grabbing, how rational approaches can solve more problems more effectively than emotional approaches...
Politics and Religion
Religion and politics were handmaidens of each other right from the days of the Brahmin priests and the Kshatriya warriors who colluded with one another in order to hoodwink the others. Right from the days of divine right of kings and queens in the West. Right from the days of the first estate(religion) and the second estate(aristocrats) in France where a historical Revolution ended up creating a worse system because the new alternative was also merely political led by a new set of aristocrats with their versions of gods. Is it possible to cut the umbilical cord between politics and religion just by a court ruling?
There is a diabolic connection between religion and politics in India even today. There are godmen, gurus and ammas who control fabulous empires with the help of politicians. Most political parties in the country today derive their strength from one religious sect or another.
The solution, once again, is not a court order. Carl Sagan is a far better solution.
A paradigm shift is what is required. But the present regime in India is incapable of bringing about that paradigm shift. Their intentions are not genuine. Look at the huge amounts dedicated to erecting certain statues, for example, and you will understand where the motives are rooted. Look at the kinds of people to whom financial supports are extended in thousands of crores of rupees and you will understand the deeper games.
That’s why Carl Sagan is right. “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”