Wagering on people’s fate?

Dishonourable political contentions and their adverse impact amidst the already chaotic pandemic

A quarantine centre in Manipur (PHOTO: IFP)

Power seldom fails to allure people. Abraham Lincoln once said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”  It emphasizes the power that power has on an individual. It is believed to be a determinant of the change in everything surrounding an individual’s personality. It is believed to be obsessive, so much that ‘power’, which is the ability to do what you want in a way that you want, actually becomes enslaving. In this power labyrinth is where most of our leaders and politicians are trapped today.

The headlines of our newspapers that are unprecedentedly shocking stand proofs, particularly because of the chaos COVID-19 has already brought. It is especially surprising why, amidst the pandemic and the deadlock we’ve reached in our management of Quarantine Centres, the government would still be engrossed in petty political contentions as if it were wholly unaware of the mounting complications. It has indeed come to pose a big question for any and every responsible citizen: Is the government –the politicians –wagering on peoples’ fate? And what if it is so? What do we do as learned, concerned, and responsible citizens?

At this point, it is all-important for the politicians to recall the ultimate essence of representative democratic policy. The once composed aspirations of every politician and leader should be brought to life and must stimulate an actual reality of selflessness and excellence among others in working for the people. This is imperative as in it lays the fate of the people, of hundreds and thousands whose lives are being impacted by the decisions made and steps taken by the leaders. This ostensibly demands a step-to-step critical analysis by politicians and leaders alike towards uplifting the society as a whole and being deliberately responsible in their respective fields in particular. The politicians must realise that they are being closely watched, and they must also be extra-aware that power as it stays can also be transferred back to where they belong –the people –and at any point.

It is also felt that the power of the people is being terribly undermined both by the government and by the people themselves. People are becoming victims of the structure they themselves design, and are burnt by the fire they themselves ignite. This is supposedly because we do not wholly understand our roles in policy making that has been concealed by rhetoric tales since past times –of the government and certain politicians viciously making a larger section of people believe in falsities merely because they want to stay in power. The public fails to be inquisitive and responsive towards the governance that dictates them. Moreover, we are –our votes are –unfortunately more or less buyable since money is a great determinant owing to more than 85 percent of people in our state living well below the poverty line. The fact is that we fail in our responsibilities; we fail to be vigilant as we continue to be ignorant about the social and political aura that surrounds us.

However, this is not to point that there can be equal emphasis on the lapses in being accountable, on both the government and the people. The larger part necessarily remains with the government as it decides what is and what is not in a way that they have the complete authority to bring things into accordance or likewise the opposite, which cannot, in any way be compared to the authority that rests on the general public. These leaders –the politicians and their governments –are to lead the entire business of the state despite the roles that the public can or may play. Therefore, the contrasting situation with the current political scenarios is a big misfortune for the people of the state. It is largely but indicative of the failure of the government to live up to the needs and hopes of the people.

More critical is the sweeping complications in various Quarantine Centres of the state. Cases of conflicts between inmates of these Centres and government agencies are at a rise as can be seen viral in various social media platforms. With this is the growing suspicion of the inmates against the government and concerned CSOs if there are any political propagandas being employed. At many centres the inmates are voicing their discontentment against government discrepancies in administering the centres as a whole and the inmates in particular. Their demands are largely transparency and efficiency in government programmes and policies. In a certain way, test results are also something that confuses the inmates to an extent of adding to their suspicions of any opportunistic involvements of people from the political arena, apart from inadequate and sometimes inappropriate amenities being provided.

The eventuality can be dangerous if the government does not take all the right directions and appropriate the frustrations of the inmates. The government must turn from its outright, ignorant, and blatant misuse of power and position and must come towards the right cause for the people rather than engulf itself in petty opportunist dramas. It is a time when selfless dedication is highly desirable and the politicians must heed to this. It cannot draw itself away from the real and surging problems that they stood out to solve and bring to an end. Moreover, the government must be conscientious of the policies they engage in administering the returnees. It is to be carefully noted that SOPs are near impossible to be actualized when two and three toilets alone are arranged for more than fifty to hundred inmates as it is in most Quarantine Centres. The government therefore has little or no right to anticipate and subsequently blame the inmates alone for the fault in handling the spread of the pandemic.

Wherefore, in a time when there should be cohesion and cooperation, the ruling government and the opposition alike, together with every politician, must let go of any contentions due to selfish intentions. Rather, it must strive to come to terms through deliberation and rational cerebration and realise the urgency and therefore work together to achieve a common goal of quality governance and well-being. This is also to enliven the general public that in each of us is power and when we can bring together those powers in each of us; that is the answer to how we can change society. With that, notwithstanding the drawbacks in governance, let us be discerning and responsible as we strive towards a better society for our future generations to live in. And for the government: it must, in no way and under no circumstances, think of wagering on people’s fate.

(The views expressed in the article are the writer's own)

First Published:June 26, 2020, 11:17 a.m.

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