The false binaries of political discourse

I started out clipping bits from this article that I wanted to bring to your attention — and then realised I was clipping most of it anyway.

So read, in full, Amit Varma on Professor Makarand Paranjape’s JNU lecture, Kanhaiya Kumar’s off-point questioning, and the false binaries of our political discourse.

Also read — despite the enforced pagination — Tabish Khair on JNU, sedition, Kanhaiya Kumar and related issues.

Fighting “anti-national forces” by joining them

A bit of a problem, this, for Zee News which morphed “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans onto a video to lead a tirade against JNU’s anti-nationals; for BJP MP Maheish Giri who filed the FIR demanding “stern action”; and for Home Minister Rajnath Singh who grabbed hold of the ball and hurtled to touchdown in a minefield

What to do now?

Which is trump in this game of gotcha — the flag-draped politician or the godman?

Why is this not “sedition”?

The recent Jat agitation for reservations left at least 30 dead and approximately 200 injured, besides who knows how many women raped, their lives shattered. It also resulted in a reported Rs 250 crore in damages to the Railways; Assocham estimates Rs 20,000 crore loss overall. In its wake, the state government has been reduced to saying it will issue gun licenses to traders who suffered at the hands of the rioters — just what we need, open anarchy with everyone shooting at everyone else. Law and order outsourced is an emerging business model, seemingly.

So now what do we have? Jat leaders saying cases of arson and rioting registered against the community should be withdrawn, or the riots will start again, and be worse. The community has actually set a deadline — 72 hours — for government compliance.

Why is this not sedition?


“Polarisation” is often talked of as a political ploy. This is what happens when you play the politics of division, of polarisation — you lose control. And it all goes up in flames.

In passing, reading Anumeha Yadav’s piece rebutting the spontaneous combustion theory of the Jat riots.

I deny that I had my foot in my mouth

That is to say, Ghulam Nabi Azad denies he compared RSS to IS. Or at the least, that his statement was “taken out of context”.

That’s precisely the trouble — there is no possible “context” for such a comparison. Worse, you show the paucity of your political intellect when you fall back on such meaningless tropes, and end up giving your opponents another stick to beat you black and blue with.

Seriously, aren’t politicians’ brains connected to their mouths, like is true for the rest of us?


Mind your language

This might seem an odd thing to fixate on, on a Monday morning, but there it is: this is the thing that stuck in my craw while scanning the media. So read the clip below, slowly, as many times as it takes, and then tell me what it means:

“In that comes the very strange pretext of a cover-up about departure on the basis of incorrect or illegal lookout notice and the totality of such circumstances raise serious question marks”, he said.

On the question of a farmer in Tamil Nadu, who took loan of Rs 3 Lakh for tractor, being attacked by cops and bank employees, he condemned the “highhandeness”.

“We do believe that highhandedness, throwing the rulebook and all kinds of procedures for a miniscule amount for a common man and allowing elephants to be swallowed as far as big people are concerned is a systemic problem”, he added.


Why is it so hard to understand that the key to politics is communication — simple, straight, to the point, intelligible?

In other news, seems a quiet sort of news day for now. Will be back later in the day with reading lists and suchlike.