Mallika rules...and damn the voter
What a charming picture. Mallika Sarabhai is indeed a worthy candidate and she takes on no less than L.K.Advani.
She is contesting as an independent, but like all independents she would not mind joining secular forces. I am not sure what secular forces means any more. Some define it as sarva dharma sambhava (all religions have equal respect) which is rubbish, because the very foundation is to say whose is bigger.
Some say it is separation of state from religion. It doesn’t work in our country where every politician has to go to every place of worship and genuflect before every god or god-like figure, ring bells, light candles, place flowers over tombs. It is a veritable fancy dress competition when they get togged up for iftaar, and Christmas and Diwali “respecting the religious sentiments” of the folks they are going to be fed by. It’s all about food.
Some say you are secular if you don’t believe in god. I know atheists who can be bigots.
Anyhow, coming back to Mallika, I find this carrying a basket to collect money to file for her nomination papers too stagey. As though those dropping notes and coins are genuinely interested. These are people who enjoy a good tamasha as much as she probably did. Or, to be less cynical, they are the already converted.
Had an unknown number indulged in this, it would have been seen as something comic. Because it is a celebrity, it is Commitment.
Now, Mallika is committed – to dance, to her social causes. No doubt about it. But there was one time when she had held a peace meeting and refused to acknowledge that Medha Patkar had been invited only because there was violence and they were beaten up due to Medha’s involvement with the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Later, of course, it became a Mallika issue about being beaten up by Modi’s goons. Patkar had been upstaged.
I see this 'basket case' no differently.
We are watching how our corporate types are being promoted only because they do not have a criminal record and have never been corrupt. How do we know? Will we say the same thing with such certainty if a simple school teacher wanted to contest?
Accept it. We have inbuilt hierarchies and we work strictly along those lines of demarcation.
Mallika could well afford the Rs. 10,000 nomination fee and it does appear like a mockery when we think of, say, a worker at the refugee camp not being able to shell out that money if s/he were interested in contesting. That reminds me: Why would a Mallika or someone in that position not promote one such candidate instead? Would it not send out the right message and in fact be the message itself?
Of course, our dear Sir Salman Rushdie, who is now backing Mallika, would have not given a damn then. Incidentally, what are these prominent backers all about? Aren’t these committed candidates representing the common citizen or are they merely about showing off their liberal faces to each other?
All this sounds like political placebo.