How would the United States of America react if President Barack Obama went about installing large statues of himself and his party animal the donkey? He deserves it doesn’t he for the far reaching change he has brought about in his country’s political landscape?
Well, apart from being ridiculed by the press, his Democratic Party would probably be the first to clamp down on such a move.
How would we all react if the Congress party went about building large statues of party president Sonia Gandhi all over the country along with giant statues of the hand? They’ve ruled the destiny of most of Independent India, haven’t they?
Can you imagine the nationwide outrage that would cause?
Then how is it OK for UP Chief Minister Mayawati to do the same all across the state just because she’s totally in charge without any form of opposition whatsoever? Apart from the wastage of tax payers’ money in such a poor state, it is a very attack on all kinds of sensibilities one can think of.
The EC finally calls the bluff
It is this regard that one has to applaud the decision of the Election Commission to cover all the statues of Mayawati along with that of the elephant, which happens to be the party symbol of the BSP.
India is a glorious country of diversity and this communist-style megalomania involving statues is quite sickening.
The people of the state have not protested strongly enough for Maya to be deterred.
The Central government, which leaves no chance to infringe upon the rights of any state, has also been looking at all these unnecessary constructions with a blind eye.
It is also sad there hasn’t been a Public Interest Litigation which has succeeded against such downright wasteful expenditure.
In fact the EC is the only body in the country which has been able to bell the cat.
Communist states used such statues, posters and other symbols as a subtle form of brainwash. Wherever the citizen went, it seemed that the state was keeping an eye on him and there was no escape from it.
A similar form of brainwash has been going on in the state of Uttar Pradesh and it is a subtle form of suggestion which could well influence the voters. It is not an unreasonable ruling which seeks to keep these symbols covered during the electoral process.
The only arguments that have come against it, is the one like: Since the bicycle is a symbol of the Samajwadi Party, shouldn’t all the bicycles in the state be covered? Well, the SP has not built statues of bicycles throughout the state during its rule, has it?
The EC has also not asked real live elephants across the state to be covered. Only those symbols which were spent using the tax payer’s money. That’s a very reasonable demand.
The cult of megalomania
Actually, in a way, the fault does not lie just with Mayawati. This malaise is a part of the megalomaniac cult that is India. There is very little debate and democratic process in the country. Most regional parties like the DMK (K Karunanidhi), SP (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and the TDP (N Chandrababu Naidu) are virtual dictatorships.
In the Congress party, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has the divine right to rule and no dissent of any kind is tolerated. Even an educated Cambridge alumnus like Mani Shankar Aiyar goes unreasonably ballistic the moment a member of the dynasty is mildly criticized.
A full page Congress advertisement appeared in a newspaper recently that showed Sonia Gandhi’s picture with the headline, “We remain, Madamji, ever at your feet.”
That’s the general story all across political parties in India.
In fact it’s not just parties, but also businesses. The industrialists of India also keep the top managements of their companies with sycophants and fawning people.
The late Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple in the 1980s and the Disney family exited in executively handling the Walt Disney Company. Such things are extremely rare in India.
The government babu wants to sit grandly at his seat while everyone salutes him or her.
Democracy as a concept exists only at the highest levels, definitely not in the grass roots of India.
And no matter how much Rahul Gandhi criticizes Mayawati, both of them are surrounded by yes men and women, sickening loyalists and can take dictatorial decisions without seriously worrying about dissent.
At least the EC, just staying in their specialized space of the elections, is doing away with this widespread issue of megalomania for the duration of the polls.
Thank god for small mercies!
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/