Monday, 31 March 2014

"Election Fever Turns Nation Sick"

My attention gets amassed at this Pizza By The Bay billboard every time I board a taxi for my daily 5 minute ride to the college. They've come up with a lot of flair and insight in their messages that resonate with the times but this one's stayed long enough to become obtrusive. I wondered how long they'll keep it and suddenly, I feel it's not a bad idea to let it stay there till we're making a fool of ourselves. We probably deserve that for all that we long for. What might have appeared as a lugubrious innuendo, now appears to me as the ultimate reality. Voila! Pizza By The Bay, you guessed it right. We indeed are in a febrile state.

Don't blame me for it but the demographic dividend brought by my age has started paying off. People are hell bent on voicing opinions which is exactly what was demanded of them. People are desperate to cast votes, maybe for the first time, which is a complete departure from what they were blamed not to do. People have finally realized the "we, the people" clause in our democracy and have started to take genuine interest in their future. But the question is, are we feeling a little too sanguine.

My post will be centered around these numerous #NaMo v/s #RaGa v/s AK 49 posts and comments that have been doing the rounds of the Internet. Having been on social media for a while and even being there around the 09' elections, it was pleasing to see people vehemently supporting an ideology in clear opposition to others. People started paying heed to politics much more than any other trend of the town. My news feed started seeing political discourses making inroads. It was nice to see all that. And suddenly, as we had our usual pre-election ambushes and sabotages, the discourses turned into vendettas and usurped the authenticity.

People took up opinions, that's all right. People consolidated their ideals, which was what we precisely needed. People took a genuine stand on a matter incumbent upon them, and suddenly, it went defunct. All that we did to arrive at the utopia, we gave it away. It was all right till we kept our opinions to ourselves and it went mad when we found out that we have opponents. Yes, that's where we went wrong. It's in our blood to see opposition as being vile and not worthy of existing, specially when it comes to hard core nationalist propaganda, and then there lied the impudence of the moment.

A news channel posts an encomium on a politician, haters term it paid, myrmidons term the haters cynic and we get into a fray. A politician posts a link to a rally video, haters begin to question his semblance, likers seem to obliterate haters' arguments by bringing more seemingly unrelated evidence, and we have a fray. A friend posts something in support of a political party or a person, haters inundate it with altercations and likers go any and every extent to keep hitting at the haters and showing vehement support for the poster. All in all, my news feeds have become rather apocryphal and turgid.

I analyzed this from different ways, the reactions and behaviors from quite a lot of my on friends, and I realized that this squiggly behavior may be rather attributed to our inability to see a person voting in favor of what is supposedly against our cause. One, we ourselves may not be sure about the vote we'll cast but we are in no mood to spare the thought process of our opponent from not getting influenced. Influence, yes, that's what we think we can exercise upon our "opponents" to make them go our way. In our attempts, we fail to realize that our opponents do the same. The result, a scathing slaying series of comments and justifications which ends in no more than exasperation in our inability to canvass some support.

I wouldn't be surprised if this exponential rise in election related activity is able to take shots at the content server's capability to keep content. We, in our attempts to vanquish the opposing argument, go so far beyond the obvious, that we ourselves become incapable of coming with any more relevant addendum. And then starts the phase two of every battle. More repugnant tripe to startle no one but yourself. And suddenly, some chosen heroes, who survive beyond a point in time, start getting support in the form of likes and supporting comments. From there own, a public debate is prorogated and a community debate takes shape. Food for thought for our psychologists on how public opinion is carved, but Alas! we once again witness vituperation, chastising, haranguing, litanies, and gruelingly garrulous set of people, making sure they are not the first ones to stop.

I guess the moment we lost hold of our admiration and appeasement that came out of our own inherent opinion, we lost it. Too concerned about those of others, we will go every extent to influence or better force our opinion about the masses, despite knowing somewhere in the bottom of our heart that the guy on the other side has his reasons. Commendably, our online searching and crawling abilities quadruple in such times. We come up with clauses after clauses, videos after videos, exhumed back from time, to predicate our case on. Ironically, we ourselves are unsure about the genuineness of all of it.

And then there are these massive online opinion influences. A few years back, a few groups of ingenious men took upon themselves the cause of extricating Indian youth from their ordeals by creating some genuine humor around the perfunctory aspects of our lives. Having witnessed these pages and their patrons at the apogee, it pains to know that even they've succumbed to this public fracas. They're no longer in a position to show their charlatan virtual personalities. I looked upon them for a while, as my trustworthy sources for creating genuine debates like they did in the past, but alas, all of them failed. But my respect for what you once were, keeps me from putting your names here.

So, as I end this post, for it being a critique as much upon me as anyone else from my clique, why is it that we find it so hard to form an opinion and not to look in search for one. And more importantly, why is it that we crave others to follow our orders once we've self imposed them upon our own order. Instead of being pensive and contemplative to come up with a more well informed decision, we end up being futile opinion shapers. We just find it too hard to resist the temptation of moving beyond just sharing our opinion and going to extent of garroting throats to put it in voice of others. We fail to see the faulty lines of our own opinion and try to correct the contours of our collective thought. Just waiting for this phase to give way to the post election convalescence. Maybe we'll be courteous enough to welcome each other in those non-political discussions which we are still good at. The good times shall surely be back.

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