THE KAFKAIAN STREAK OF INDIAN POLITICS
Kafka (1852–1931), was a Czech writer, most famous for his novels, the Trial, and the Metamorphosis, where the Absurd, the Grotesque and the Illogical were given a new life with impossible twists. The word ‘Kafkaian’ has today transcended the literary realm and is pertaining to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, illogical, often with a sense of impending danger.
The term ‘Kafkaian’ could be very well applied to today’s politics in India, for things have gone to such a pitch of absurd, unfair, blatant and outrageous illogical state, that it baffles the mind. Yet neither the politicians, nor most of the press find anything wrong in it.
Just a few examples:
Varun Gandhi spent nearly three weeks in jail under the NSA, just because he said something which might be reprehensible. But many mullahs spew fire and venom in their Friday discourse in numerous mosques in India – and none ever gets arrested, because riots would erupt immediately.
Sadhvi Pragnya, a Hindu lady monk, has been languishing in jail for months, even though no conclusive proofs have been brought forward of her direct involvement in the Malegaon blasts case, and recently she was assaulted by a Muslim inmate at Byculla Jail and sustained injuries to her face, nose and neck. But you have the Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani, a prime accused in the Coimbatore bomb blasts, which cost the life of 60 people, whose party, the PDP, is campaigning for election in Kerala with the CPI-M. Kafkaian?
In Orissa, the police arrested BJP candidate from Kandhamal constituency, Ashok Sahu, because he accused the Church of using foreign money to induce innocent tribals to convert – which is a very well documented fact, please read Tehelka’s cover story.
Yet, terrorist, Kasab, who went on killing people as if he was strolling in a mall, is enjoying a royal life. The entire Arthur jail has been vacated for him. 11.000 pages of his indictment charges are going to be translated in Urdu, just because the gentleman has asked for it and the court has even gone to the absurdity of ordering DNA tests to determine his age. The entire country wants him judged quickly and hanged, but to please a minority, the Congress is dithering. Kafkaian or not?
In the same way, the president of India, who is a pawn in the hands of the Congress, will not allow to Afzal, who has committed treason against his own country, to be hanged, till the elections are over, for fear of alienating the Muslim vote. Yet the Congress keeps telling us that Indian Muslims are patriotic. Then, why should it fear of losing its votes when it hangs a traitor? Nobody thought two times about hanging Godse. Kafkaian or not? You judge.
The LTTE blew up in a totally senseless and cruel manner Rajiv Gandhi , just because he was on the verge of becoming PM again. But today, because the of the Tamil Nadu votes, Rajiv’s widow, Sonia, is sending an emissary to Sri Lanka to pressurize the government to effect a ceasefire, just as it is about to wipe out the LTTE after twenty years of a bloody civil war. Does it make sense to you? Is it truly Kafkaian?
India is all about equality and rising above castes, yet since 1947, politicians of this country, particularly the Congress, and later V.P Singh, Mulayam Singh, or Lalu Prasad, have hopelessly divided India along castes and religious lines. But Mayawati tops them all: she just gave a push to her prime ministerial aspirations, by promising Scheduled Caste status to 16 more castes if she came to power at the Centre. Can you think of a more Kafkaian way of obtaining votes?
In India you are supposed to be elected with ten lakhs of white money. But everybody knows that to become an MP today, you need ten crores, as you have to boast of a hundred cars’ caravan when you go campaigning, hire private planes, helicopters, gift free saris, dhotis, televisions, cash even, more and more. So where do you get the 9 crores and 90 laks black money? From corrupt businessmen, from the mafia, from kickbacks. Can you think of a more Kafkaian situation?
Ultimately democracy in India has become a Kafkaian affair, as it has been so perverted, so hijacked, to the point of absurd. The same is true of the Indian judiciary: it always wants to be more thorough, more punctilious than the western system. As a result, if you have a good lawyer, or if you are a politician, you can twist the law, bend it to your own advantage and get out scot free. Rich people sit on posh houses in Mumbai or Delhi for which they pay a pittance of a rent, because they go to court against the legitimate owners.
The tragedy is that the Indian press does not play its role, because not many mainstream newspapers or television channels complained when Varun Gandhi was in jail, while Madani, a criminal who has the lives of 60 innocent people on his hands, was not only scot free, but was standing as an MP with the full backing of a political party, whose leader just said that he will not refuse the post of Prime Minister.
The real problem is that India has been colonized for too long, contrary to China whose people remain proud of their culture and intensely nationalistic. It has resulted in a deep-rooted inferiority complex in the Indian psyche, whereas every intellectual is always looking towards the West for approval and Indians are so obsessed with having the western type of democracy, without adapting it to the Indian conditions. The system has become so perverted that only radical surgery to remove the diseased parts will start the indispensable cleansing process.
O Kafka, you should have been born in India…