Episode 5 of Season 2, Satyamev Jayate examined the clear and present danger to our political system – the criminalisation of our politics. We know that our politics are peopled by criminals – accused and under-trails – people who have been accused of multiple heinous crimes. But when we are give facts and figure of the proportion of criminals in our politics, this is disturbing, depressing and disheartening.
Where on the one hand the show highlighted some horrifying statistics as reeled off by Professor Jagdeep Chhokar as well as the heartrending story of Mragendra Singh Bundela’s daughter, on the other hand we also heard the story of a fine, upstanding and effective politician like Ajit Sarkar. When the son or murdered politician of Purnia, Amit Sarkar appeared on the show, he spoke not only about his father’s murder but also his legacy and for many reasons this was encouraging and heartening.
Uncomfortable home truths
Milan Vaishnav told us that the chances of a candidate winning actually increase if they are criminals. Caste is a huge factor in this. The understanding is this: they are all criminals; why not choose someone who is from our fraternity. The fact is that you and I don’t really care if our political representative is a criminal or not – so long as several other factors are in place.
Journalist Utkarsh Kumar Sinha related anecdotes of how, for politics, any publicity is good publicity – even publicity that proclaims them criminals and offenders. He also spoke of the uncomfortable fact that as long as we receive some largess from politicians, we don’t really mind if they are criminals. Expedience is all, ideals and principles aren’t really that important for us.
Take the pledge
This time around the show is asking us to pledge that we will not sell our vote or cast a vote in favour of a criminal politician. How many of us will take the pledge? More importantly, how many of us will live up to that pledge? Get more information on the Satyamev Jayate website.
By – Reena Daruwalla