Lesson No. 1 from Karnataka: There’s no ethics in politics, stupid is the title of Chetan Bhagat’s article in today’s Times of India, a newspaper that has sold itself to Bhagat’s beloved political party. I am among those whom he has labelled as “stupid” but I refuse to accept the label. Here is the reason.
Bhagat’s only argument in the verbose article is that in “desperate times” political parties can resort to unethical practices in order to win. Winning is more important than ethics. The end justifies the means, in other words, and that is a somersault from what the Father of the Nation had taught us. We have indeed come a long way, too long a way, from the Mahatma and his ideals.
What is ironical is that the party which created the “desperate times” is indulging in practices which Bhagat (or Bhakt, as many people have begun to call him) has adjudged as unethical. Leaving aside ethics for a moment, plain logic will tell us that the party which has created the problem and is hell-bent on aggravating it for gaining more political mileage cannot or will not solve the problem. Hence the “desperate times” will only get murkier. Is that what Bhagat wants?
We can safely answer yes to that question because Bhagat believes that the BJP is the panacea to the country’s present woes. The despair of certain sections of the citizens is part of that panacea. Bhagat has hired lessons from the Kurukshetra War to prove his point. “Even in our ancient texts like the Mahabharata, the war isn’t won ethically,” he argues and rightly so. “It was a virtuous war for the Pandavas, but there are enough tales in the epic to show how they employed unethical means to win it where needed.”
This is where the problems lies. Bhagat is not only justifying duplicity but also upholding it as a divinely ordained strategy.
The inevitability of pragmatism notwithstanding, to discard ethical principles in theory is tantamount to throwing away the baby with the bath water, which Bhagat fails to understand. In the pragmatic milieu of politics, as in a war, unethical practices do take place. But the moment you sanction them as right and add scriptural scaffoldings to them, you are dismantling the entire moral fabric of the nation. You are telling the nation that everything is right on the way to achieving your goals. Lynching is right. Assaults are right. Rapes are right.
As long as Bhagat insists on seeing the nation as Pandavas and Kauravas who have begun their Kurukshetra War, there is no possibility of a sane solution to the crises faced by the nation. Moreover, why does Bhagat think that all those who support the BJP are Pandavas and the rest are Kauravas?