It does not happen very rarely that you come across a person who regards politics as a poison. The one who claims that politics only attenuates a participant’s integrity and pulls him away from the rest of the ‘un-poisonous’ things. The ones who do a marvelous guesswork by claiming that all politicians are corrupt and that ‘sickulars’ are soon going to overtake India. We have met the members of this unfortunate species, haven’t we? You know, the ones who launch a banal diatribe on why politics has done no good and that politicians are the handiwork of the devil who only wish to earn money before getting assassinated.
Once you come across these apolitical virgins, the only contrivance that can save you from the overwhelming boredom is to couch and rise just in time to avoid shibboleths and platitudes hurled at yourself at a fantastic speed.
Clichés are clichés. But one might want to hunt down the purpose of a cliché. Most of the time, when used in a sensible manner, clichés are repetitious ideas that many people might agree on, but the very fact that they’re repeated should be questioned. Why do we need to repeat sayings which we know are true with utmost certitude, regularly?
For one thing, ambassadors of boredom enjoy it, another, the need to reiterate common understandings is a sign of insecurity. So if you happen to meet a cretin who roars, “Politics can do no good! Politicians are murderers and carriers of corruption!” either he or she is an insipid douche, or a human whose deepest worries are also embedded in a speck of political consciousness.
The next question may surface: Why be politically conscious? Why be cognizant about the political happenings in one’s country? Turning this question around gives a better touch. Why not be politically conscious? Why not be cognizant about the political happenings in one’s country?
Why, And How does it Matter?
My answer will not only deal with the reasons for being politically conscious, but how it can change one as a person and bring about change on a larger level.
To start with, gathering new information hasn’t been a bane to anyone. It can be presupposed that reading newspapers or articles dealing with current affairs is a favourable habit. For one thing, it can help making ‘conversations’ into ‘good conversations’, for another, one can breakdown the things happening around oneself from a better perspective. People often like to rejoice about grand decisions taken by a popular leader, but they hardly ever scrutinize it in a way which would help them conclude how it will eventually affect them in their daily walks.
Not only newspapers, tracing the history of a certain event can greatly help in stimulating critical thinking and detecting inaccuracies whenever one comes across it. Another major reason backing such habits is that an individual can breakdown the events happening around him or her and can discover the process of ‘filtering down’. Now, what is filtering down? In this context, it is simply the narrowing down of a substantial decision taken at the central level to the level of the individual.
For example, when Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi, traffic cops stopped collecting needless fines, senior citizens started getting their social security money earlier than they used to receive it in the previous governments, and the overall rate of corruption fell drastically.
If I’m a layman, I might or might not know be able to decide why such things are happening or what would they lead to (most probably I will, because the Delhi elections of 2013 were very popular). I might know why it happened, but not ‘how’ it happened. In any case, knowing ‘how’ something occurs and it’s affects and effects acts as a lubricant for my intellectual machinery. If the layman is politically conscious, he can visualize a landscape where he can picture how a big decision can affect him personally.
Another advantage of political consciousness is breaking away from what is known as ‘mental slavery’. To keep propaganda at bay. To not be trapped into the presupposed frameworks of the media or influential politicians.
Related example: Naxalites and Maoists are considered terrorists by a large part of the country, and seen as a cult that deserves no benefit of doubt. However, if one is politically aware and puts history under a microscope, they’ll observe that these organizations resorted to aggression solely because of the injustices done to them by the government of India while it was trying to incorporate capitalist economic policies (Though one shouldn’t be an apologist for these groups, the ones who have killed innocent people must be prosecuted). But once a person realizes this, he/she will start viewing government statements about the Naxalites under a different light.
Politicians who condemn the Maoists vehemently are mostly taking advantage of the public unawareness about past and present of the Naxalite movement. However, if you happen to be an aware individual, you can dissect the statements and subject it to the bullshit detector.
Lastly, following and thinking about politics can make one elect appropriate local leaders. As a matter of fact, voting for honest candidates at the local level is a life hack. Most people fall into the trap of voting for a party whose prime ministerial candidate comes across as the best choice. It’s a flawed way to look at it. If only the masses started voting for the best candidates at their local constituencies, things can become smoother. As it stands, most of the junta doesn’t even know the names of their local leaders and candidates.
Concluding, overall, political consciousness is not only about having a better general knowledge or impressing your crush or fishing sapiosexuals, it can benefit an individual in 4 great ways, as summarized above:
1) Breakdown of decisions taken at the centre to how it gradually affects you and others around you.
2) A tool for independent thought and inquiry.
3) Avoiding mass political propaganda.
4) Choosing better leaders.
By: Ayush Tiwari