Rajdeep Turdesai tries his hand at damage control-by-diversion. His need is urgent for it comes in the wake of widespread suspicions about the intent of a certain media whore of the Congress party to ensure that the UPA won the trust vote.
Turdesai climbs atop the moral mountain and begins to ponder about the “events of this week” with a weighty question:
…is parliamentary democracy being strengthened by what we have observed this week?
He doesn’t answer that. Instead, he points us to the various curves and vales and traps and meshes that only he is able to see from that height. Here are a few.
While there is seemingly no legal bar on a convicted MP from voting, there are ethical questions that must be raised when those convicted of crimes like murder can decide the destiny of Parliament.
In the ’80s, newspapers were full of alarming articles about the “increasing criminalization of politics.” We need to start there. Regarding ethical questions, I shall get to that in just a moment. But I find that Turdesai is obsessed with morals and ethics
given what his own channel has done.
Legally, the government won the confidence vote. But is there a moral content to our politics that must rise above the law?
You know what, Turdesai?Let us simply legislate morality. In the least, it will achieve a great good. It’ll stop you from writing such pieces and save us from having to read them. But because that legislation doesn’t exist yet, Turdesaiwrites,
But morality demands that he [Shibu Soren] stay away from office till his name is fully cleared by the courts.
And now, let’s dwell on the relativity of morality. In Turdesai’s context, morality also demands that his channel exercises at least a pretence of objectivity when airing live news. But he’s on a trip sponsored by deep inhalations of the Mountain Ethical Weed.
Cash is needed to fight elections. Cash is needed to keep cadres loyal. So, how is this cash to be legitimised and the taint of â€˜dirty moneyâ€™ removed?
Cash is also needed to peddle opinions, to conduct fake opinion polls, to hire goonda-scribes, and hide videos of sting operations. In several ways, you can apply his very words to Turdesai’s channel. See how it fits in: fight elections, (think CNN-IBN’s Gujarat election coverage), cadres (think Sagarika Ghose, Suhasini Haider, et al), loyal (think Congress party’s media whore), and so on.
The Weed’s magic continues unabated. In an almost-orgasmic appeal, Turdesai asks,
Or will politicians put their heads together and honestly work out transparent, open and public methods of political funding.
And we are tempted to question: Is this your pathetic attempt at being naÃ¯ve? Till this point, you gloated on alarmingly about the tainted character of our politicians, and now you suddenly expect them to imbibe these crystal-clean qualities? In a way, they are way better than theTurdesais of the world. Turdesai reminds me of the servile Beni Gabor in the Mummy, who sells out and gets on the side of Imhotep.
Anyway, back to Turdesai’s Tryst with the Mountain Ethical Weed. By now, the Weed’s effect has worn off, he is on his descent from the mountain, his conscience is cleansed, and he is back in action. Back in the studios, he picks up the nearest, most piercing needle and swiftly injects communal poison, which forms the climax of this piece.
But amidst the darkness, there is some light. In a debate marked by bitterness, one speech stood out: Omar Abdullahâ€™s passionate espousal of patriotism as an Indian and Kashmiri Muslim. Abdullah Jr did what few politicians have the courage to do: admitted that he had made a mistake by not resigning from the NDA government after the Gujarat riots. He set the tone for honest moral cleansing, an example his senior colleagues in the House would do well to follow.
Let’s not even bother to dissect that. The proper questions to ask (and consequently, the answers) will present themselves if you dwell upon the words he uses: Indian and Kashmiri Muslim, not just Indian. Let’s see Sardesai using the same verbiage in this vein about Modi. Indian and Gujarati Hindu.
I rest my case.