Skip to main content

Sreedharan's keenness to be part of saffron agenda and why celebrities seek limelight

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat* 

Delhi Metro's chief 'architect' E Sreedharan has decided to join BJP in Kerala and has said that he is 'ready' to accept the chief ministerial post if it comes to him. He said, he is determined to bring people to BJP and that it is the only party that India needs at the moment. Sreedharan has also given his 'expert opinion' on farmers’ issues and love jihad, supporting the official BJP line.
As Kerala will go to state elections within the next couple of months and BJP is in desperate need to get some 'celebrity', Sreedharan has come handy, and, not without reason, 'political commentators' and 'experts' are citing Sreedharan on every TV channel.
Sreedharan even said that he does not see any 'intolerance' in the country, and that some people are “defaming” Prime minister Narendra Modi. Many 'liberals' are shocked while the Hindutva sympathisers are elated at Sreedharan's keenness to be part of the saffron agenda. He has already started speaking their language and is trying to look 'younger' in order to take the lead.
There is nothing unusual in Sreedharan's approach. We have seen celebrities in India who mostly join hands with the powers-that-be. They are pampered as long as they are in service. But after retirement it becomes difficult for them to manage without those luxuries. I do not say everyone is like that, but many look for messages by those in power.
A few days back, we saw how Sachin Tendulkar and other Bollywood stars tweeted in support of India's 'sovereignty', as if it has been questioned by the protesting farmers. None of these celebrities have ever spoken on violence against women, atrocities on Dalits and other marginalised sections. Leave aside so-called 'political issues', they don’t even defend their own fellow cricketer Wasim Jaffar, who is being harassed, even accused of communalism. Not only Tendlukar, even the otherwise loud Saurav Ganguly is mute.
In the last two decades, celebrities have been roped in by various political parties at the cost of their loyal workers and those who have been dedicating their time fully for the cause of the people. Most of the 'celebrities' are known to have represented the values of the caste supremacists and will not utter a single word on caste discrimination and untouchability. However, it is these celebrities who jump on issues of racism in the western world and pretend to be the 'victims' of racial prejudices.
The trend was started by Rajiv Gandhi in 1984 when he brought in film stars, cricketers and 'popular figures' into 'politics'. We all were in awe with that. Most of them failed miserably as they were not made to speak to the people. They won only because of their popularity in their films – this is true of all ranging from Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, Sunny Deol, Hema Malini, Kiron Kher, Jaya Prada Jaya Bachchan to Bhojpuri cinema starts.
Wasim Jaffar
Coming to Sreedharan, for the last so many years after his retirement, one never heard of him speak on any of the issues concerning the nation. One can understand that while on duty he could not speak up. But one is surprised the way he is speaking now on various 'political issues' and is even 'ready' to become the chief minister of Kerala!
They don’t defend their own fellow cricketer Wasim Jaffar. Not only Tendlukar, even otherwise loud Saurav Ganguly is mute
Sreedharan might be a great engineer or manager, but it is important to see which side is he moving, especially his political track record. He is commenting on farmers' protests, is justifying the laws against love jihad, going so far as to say that it is a conspiracy against Hindus. He says there is no intolerance in the country, which reflects his understanding of things around.
Indians are habituated with brands, whether political or any other. People compete on Facebook to support this or that brand instead of debating on issues. Few understand that these brands wouldn’t succeed. They are popular for their films or songs or for other works. Sreedharan could have done a lot of work without power. There are so many of us who can do work without being in limelight. Why do they need power and publicity all the time?
One hopes people of Kerala will not fall into this 'brand trap'. They should vote for politicians and political parties which speak on issues, social justice, socialism, secularism and democracy. It is time one develops a collective approach and rejects the culture of brands, as it is a sure recipe to disaster. When power revolves around one individual, who is made as a macho man, a kind of Shaktiman or super hero like Spiderman, democracy and its institutions will become submissive.
For a strong democracy, one needs stop hero worshipping, as Baba Saheb Ambedkar said long time back. Strengthening institutions and protecting their autonomy is the need of the hour. Not every strong individual is an Ambedkar or a Nehru, who respected individual liberty and democrats to the core of their heart.
Indeed, there is a need to shun brands, take a pledge not to make anybody a brand. There is a need to build collective leadership, developing alliances, look at the work done by an individual in public life and his or her political philosophy. One needs to be mature enough to understand the dangers of brands to our democracy. One hopes that Kerala will provide a way out to the rest of India to strengthen secular democracy.
---
*Human rights defender

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.