Buddhavarapu Rajeswara Prasad
What a fall! Awful degeneration indeed. Where are we headed? These disturbing thoughts flit through our mind when we observe closely the declining standards of political discourse in Andhra Pradesh. Things have come to such a pass in the state that everything uttered as part of political diatribe is getting contaminated by the liberal use of coarse, profane, and often unprintable, language.
Political criticism, an essential part of democracy, is losing its soul and becoming virtually a day-to-day brawl among politicos, irrespective of their status or stature. They are resorting to things that society should abhor. Whether it is inside the Assembly or outside its premises, there is no decency or decorum in the mutual attacks of politicians. Most of the times, their discourses degenerate to the point of virtual humiliation of their opponents in broad daylight. As if they are locked in a no-holds-barred contest, political leaders and their workers and henchmen care for none to pacify or satisfy their bosses. The situation has deteriorated further with the penetration and percolation of YouTube channels wherein the leaders lambast one another in provocative rage that renders them blind to the language they are using, often oblivious of even the gender they are targeting.
In politics, playing to the gallery is the norm or part of the game and using indecent or uncivilised words may hook the intended audience, but at the same time, this kind of abuse of words will ultimately cost a lot for society. There is a danger of this kind of political criticism becoming the new normal for the coming generations of politicians who may take it for granted to build upon the kind of castigation of the opponent we are witnessing these days.
The recent happenings in Andhra Pradesh speak a lot about the way politics is being pursued. Politics does not mean one must humiliate his or her rival to drive home a point. Any form of communication should be constructive to the point of elevating society, not devoid of standards, ethics, and ethos. Once we shed these non-negotiables, the degeneration won’t stop and people may stoop to any level, thereby dismantling the very essence of societal and democratic decorum. The rule that every action will have an equal amount of reaction applies more aptly to politics than to any other field. For, it has a wide range of arenas and controlling or containing them is virtually impossible.
With the availability of hundreds of fiercely competing YouTube channels, the situation is getting worse at a faster clip and the fall of political standards is unfathomable. And once you fall or yield, you go on falling and yielding and there will be no stopping it. Deviation attracts more than dedication. This has been happening in Andhra Pradesh glaringly for the past few months and everyone has a share of the blame for this play of the decimation of political standards. It is with proactive criticism and action that one can attract people and earn their favour but with reactive and degenerate tendencies no one can earn anything except the wrath of people and ultimately their dejection. You can nail or fail the opponent to establish your political credentials but that should be in such a manner that you win accolades and not the admonition of people. It is for those who are worthy; so, those who are worthy and worth their salt should take the cudgels to stop the fall in standards of political discourse.
A healthy discourse or discussion will ensure a healthier political atmosphere and anything in opposition to it will surely vitiate and scuttle the intended purpose of it. Unless something is done forthwith to ensure decorum and minimum standards in political discussions, debates, and other forms of narrative, whether on screen or off screen, the coming days will see the complete elimination of what we consider the soul and life of democracy.
As the adage goes, we reap what we sow. Our present leaders should be enlightened to proceed on a cautious note in respect of their utterances. Blaming someone is different from hurting him. Parties and their leaders should keep this point in mind so that the larger interests of constructive political criticism are protected.