What if The Polls Are Rigged

What if The Polls Are Rigged?

What if The Polls Are Rigged

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw.
Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
– The Hollow Men by TS Eliot

In a poll season of no waves, hot winds are blowing in the scorching heat. There is no respite in this daily furnace, especially for sweat-soaked bodies of hardworking daily-wagers — men, women, children. Like a thousand venomous vipers slithering on the burning streets. And, then arrives, another straw in the wind! A straw as stuffed, as un-poetic, and as shallow, like the perennial, earthly reincarnations of ‘Hollow Men’!

From one God to another in a season of hate-speak and double-speak, after the 5th phase, thus spake the incumbent prime minister of India: “Till my mother was alive, I had the impression that perhaps my birth was a biological one. After her demise, when I view after assimilating all the experiences, I am convinced that God has sent me.” (Interview, News 18. Telegraph, May 23, 2024) “I am nothing, only an instrument through which God has decided to achieve and so whenever I do something I believe that God wants to get it done…

Speaking to News 24, he said: “…Possibly, God only has sent me for some work, for some purpose. And, for the achievement of the purpose, he gives direction, education, ability, energy, inspiration. Call it ‘daivya shakti’ (divine power) or ‘ishwariya shakti’ (godly power); all this is not possible without it…”

These magical powers were testified when his party’s spokesman, Sambit Patra, claimed, yes, that Lord Jagannath of Puri, worships the PM; that he was, a devotee. Certainly, the beautiful dark lord with big, beautiful eyes, flanked by his brother and sister, Subhadra and Balram (Balabhadra), stationed in the sanctum sanctorum of this famous temple near the sea, might have himself descended in the BJP office to confess his most profound secret to Patra! He later said that it was a Freudian slip. Between him and PM-speak, pray, tell us, O God, which one is a slip and which one is not?

In response, the media chief of Congress, Jairam Ramesh, cryptically remarked that it was a sign of impending defeat: “The outgoing prime minister seems to think — he is God. This is an unprecedented level of delusion and arrogance.”

Now, things seem to be turning upside down pretty fast. First, it was God’s-own-prophet branding the entire population of Indian Muslims, all legitimate citizens of this secular democracy, as “infiltrators”, and producers of more children. It only brought back dark memories of “baby-producing factories”, “hum paanch, humaare pachees”, and “kutte ka bachcha” — crushed under a car.  Such statesman-like sublime-speak, of course, was showcased after the State-sponsored Gujarat Genocide of 2002.

Then there were the 5 Ms. Mutton, Machhli, Mughals, Mangalsutra, and, of course, Muslims. They could have added another M: Madrasa. Then, of course, the two, poor, mythical buffaloes – the Congress will snatch away one and give it to the Muslims. Reservation for SC/ST and OBC – Congress will take away that too and give it to the Muslims. (Coming from a party, and the RSS, which has singularly opposed reservation, and were vanguards of the anti-Mandal agitation!)

At Basti, on May 22, the ‘prophet’ said, “This patron of terrorism which once used to make eyes at us, its condition has become such that its people are hard-up even for grain. Pakistan is finished, but its sympathisers, SP and Congress, are busy scaring the country… They say one needs to be scared of Pakistan because it has an atom bomb. Don’t they know what is a 56-inch (chest)? It’s not the weak Congress government… but the strong government of Modi. India does not spare those who try to bully it. India today beats them in their own homes,” he said. (The same, cliched, typically street-brawl narrative, repeated the umpteenth time: “Ghar mein ghus ke maarenge!”

Another short video (IANS) shows the PM, looking tired and not so happy, claiming, using the first person — that ‘Modi’ gave electricity to every village (false), but the Congress and SP will cut your electric connection, that Modi gave water to every home (false), but the Congress and SP will take away the water tap, that they will shut your bank accounts, and snatch away the money!  Delusion?

ALSO READ: Elections 2024 – How Indian Muslims Would Vote

Contrast this with the INDIA bloc campaign. The ‘radical’ Congress manifesto with concrete, living, realistic issues: MSP for farmers, jobs for the jobless, money in the accounts of the poor every month, scrapping of Agniveer, stopping high inflation, blocking crony capitalism of the PM’s best buddy, unleashed since 2014, among other crucial issues dealing with the everyday struggles of the vast masses of India, deprived, marginalized, jobless, malnourished, saving every pie to make a living.

And, most importantly, the reassertion of the sacredness of the Indian Constitution, conceived by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. As a counter to the ‘400 paar’ slogan of the BJP, the reaffirmation of the Constitution, the book, which Rahul Gandhi displays in rally after rally, has turned the tide. The awakened poor, especially Dalits, have recognized that this ‘400 paar’ rhetoric is nothing but a ploy to dump the Indian Constitution, a sinister project of the RSS/BJP, who did not participate in the freedom struggle. Besides, they were, essentially, always opposed to the Constitution of India – they ardently love the ‘Manusmriti’ of the Manuwadis in a Nazi-like, ‘One nation, one culture, one religion’ warped utopia.

There are two more crucial issues in the 2024 polls: People’s power, and the assertion of federalism. It is the people who are reasserting the life-affirming doctrines of the freedom and democracy, despite the low-turnout – which is disadvantage BJP. It is the people who are saying, it’s time for a new, different India, without the ‘nafrat ki dukaan’. Enough is enough!

Second is the strong reaction of the regions to a centralized one-man, quasi-dictatorship in the Centre. The federal states are reasserting with a vengeance, and that is a positive sign. From Mamata Banerjee, to Stalin, Arvind Kejriwal, Tejesvi and Akhilesh Yadav, and Siddharamaiah, among others, the regions are saying no to the centralization of democracy. As in the Nehruvian era. Anyway, the South, Punjab and Bengal, including much of the North-east, care two hoots for Hindutva and its vicious hate politics. They live in a higher realm.  

Meanwhile, another undercurrent is flowing strong. That they will fudge the EVMs and declare themselves victorious despite losing the mandate. The Election Commission of India is perhaps the most discredited institution in the current scenario. Surely, they too can sense the simmering mass unrest, despite not disclosing correct poll data in time, and, thereby, mysteriously, increasing the tally! People too can sense that diabolical game this time.

A rigged election will always be called what it is – a rigged election! Perhaps, the fake prophet will not go down so easily. Perhaps, more damage will be done to the ravaged soul of India. Will he do a Trump-like Capitol Hill misadventure? Will the polls be fudged?

In that case, India might resurrect itself into a new avatar! A tiny prairie fire can light up the scorching summer sky. And the fire can spread, like a peaceful torch of hope and rebellion — from Kashmir to Kanyakumari!

India has known the theory and praxis of peaceful civil disobedience — Satyagraha, Jail Bharo, Dandi March. Like Abhimanyu’s memory in the womb, this deep memory is waiting to be rekindled. India is also the land of great revolutionaries: Ashfaqullah Khan, Ramprasad Bismil, Chandraskhekar Azad, Bagha Jatin,  Preetilata Waddeddar, Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Birsa Munda, among others – their memory is etched in our political subconscious. Indian secular democracy is precious. Its people just cannot allow it to be hijacked by fake prophets and dictators. wallowing in narcissism.

And when the dictator falls, and finds his grand finale, like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, the same poem will discover its own raison d’etre as well:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

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Vidya nidhi Chhabra
Vidya nidhi Chhabra
28 days ago

For how long one has to suffer under this aasuri shakti?

Virendra Kumar Singh
Virendra Kumar Singh
28 days ago

I can’t agree more with you. One thing that I know for certain is that the fight against the dictatorial power will be waged by the people rather than by parties. Dictators know it really well how to use democracy as a ladder to reach the summit of power, but are cursed to not remember how to climb down. He can be dethroned only by the might of the people: people who vote needs to fight back when votes are hijacked by the power that be. We know how to fight and how to win.

28 days ago

May good things come to us, we have
been patient

28 days ago

Let fake prophet collabse. Evms have to be shunned

Subhash Gatade
Subhash Gatade
28 days ago

Dear Amit, liked your analysis.
The Great Helmsman has defeated lost his confidence. Within a span of one n half months he had to try different narratives to attract people
Miserably failed
Ofcourse, we will have to remain vigilant

Karen Gabriel
Karen Gabriel
27 days ago

Thoughtful, historically rooted, incisive and yet with a vital optimistism that is wired into much of Amit Sengupta’s writing. It is imperative be able to see and show viable possibilities in today’s scenario. And Amit does that. The Hollow Men must combust, must be dismantled by the winds of change.

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