Thursday, December 4, 2014

Use of abusive and divisive speeches in Indian politics.

Recent uproar in parliament over derogatory speech made by union minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti has created lot of debate and discussion in print, electronic and social media. The words she used while campaigning for BJP in Delhi were definitely not acceptable. After such a strong protest and many be on advise of senior leaders of her party Ms. Jyoti apologized "if her comment hurt anyone". I wonder how come she expected that after using such derogatory language it won'r hurt anyone. The words she chose in her speech are definitely used to insult or hurt people who don't subscribe to her faith or political ideology, so I wonder why she phrased her apology like that may be because she didn't think that she said anything wrong and she was only apologizing because senior party leaders told her to do so. She not only used abusive language but also made speech with divisive content where she questioned people's patriotism if they don't believe in Hindu god Ram. She rightfully apologized for her abusive language (there was no option for her in this case) but she and her party defended her divisive comments and they don't even find anything wrong in her comments. Unfortunately she is not the only one and BJP is not the only party who is trying to defend such divisive comments made by their leader there are quite a few political parties who do the same thing.

Any use of abusive language should be avoided on public platforms, but rarely politicians in India show this restraint. They address each other with many derogatory names and adjectives but I can understand their hatred towards each other, so I always ignore when they abuse each other personally by using different derogatory adjectives specially during election campaign speeches. That can be a part of their personal enmity against each other, may be they are OK with addressing each other like this. But one can not ignore when they start painting communities in negative way or stereotyping them or when they use derogatory words to insult people who don't support them, this is not only a abuse but also a hatred and divisive politics. This hatred and divisive politics leads to communal tension, sometimes it even leads to communal riots which are difficult to control once they start and that's is why this is more dangerous. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti's speech comes exactly under this category of hate speech. She was not insulting any political leader or party (that is why I didn't include here comments which another minister Mr. Giriraj Singh made about Mr. Kejriwal). She was talking about all who don't agree with her political ideology and questioning patriotism of people who don't respect some god from her religion. She literally abused everyone who doesn't agree with her views, and this is not some ordinary party worker or some insignificant politician (so called fringe elements) this is union minister in Mr. Modi's cabinet. This is same Mr. Modi who declared on Red Fort not to indulge in any communal propaganda at lest for 10 years so that country can focus on important issues like development. But it seems no one from his own party or cabinet heard that part of his speech or they just ignored his request because these leaders think that politics has to be divisive, and without polarizing votes how can you win elections? Not taking any strict action against such people encourages such behavior, it reinforces the idea that as long as you are popular you can get away with anything.

As it happened many times in past with BJP and many other parties this time also most of Sadhvi's comments were defended by her party. She apologized for using that abusive word (the word means 'bastard' and that too only if it hurt anybody's sentiments) but not for rest of her speech. BJP offered various explanations to defend her, their spokes persons even quoted many other instances where people used some derogatory words for Mr. Modi but they all failed miserably to differentiate between a personal attack and attack on entire community or entire opposition. So ultimately it is up to people to decide whether her speech was communal or not. It seems no political party is going to accept that their leaders do any mistakes or try to spread hatred among people. They all have very polite and well behaved leaders so it is up to people now to decide what they think about such speeches and people who make them. If they vote for such people and parties then we don't have right to complain as they will keep on doing these type of things but if we don't want such things to happen then protest and object to such behavior in peaceful manure. Now a days abusive and divisive speeches are used very frequently in politics. Politicians who use them understand their impact very well. They use both type of speeches to their advantage but not it is time for people to understand this dirty game played by politicians and act accordingly.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. Ruckus in Parliament over minister's abusive remark, opposition demands PM's statement
2. Modi's minister uses derogatory language, defends remark

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