DailyPost 2088

Political terminology is the sum total words, phrases, double edged and deviatory expressions, beating below the belt utterances and the associated tone, tenor, pitch and the audacity it manifests both in oral and written communication. The two modes of communication get enmeshed in social media, where the speaker in the video and author of the post need not be the same person. The most venomous of it all, are the prime-time TV debates of the day, which sometimes one feels, that the format has been created for debasement of democracy. The angry young man’s communication style unfortunately has reached the temples of democracy; the parliament and the state legislatures too.

The nature and quality of debates, the stalling of parliamentary proceedings and at times violent manifestations, portray a different picture of the largest and so-called robust democracy. Undeniably, it is robust in a different way. Communication is the most refined art, civilization has taught us, and it has taken centuries to reach this level. Democracy is the finest method of governance, where pearls of wisdom, through some persons voice and writings, enlivens the lives of millions and billions of people. What is required for leaders today, can be gleaned from the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly, erstwhile parliamentary proceedings of this county and of other pall bearers of democracy across the globe. The sophistication of political behavior can only be expressed, in the way we conduct our communication.

Are the shenanigans of democracy even aware of it? Has it been hitting at the very root of our democracy? It is said words once uttered cannot be taken back. It’s the bow and arrow story. In the digital world in which we live, it is etched for eternity and consequently into history. We are in the midst of facing multifarious consequences of one of such utterances. The language in earlier days gained in sophistication as we talked to a political worker / leader starting from the village level to the highest levels in this country. This is certainly not to suggest that at a lower level it was bad, this is just to suggest that there was an improvement in the quality of content, poise, elegance, nature of delivery as we moved higher* and the leaders being in full control of the communication.

Frayed tempers have become the sine qua non of political expression today. Debates have become verbal battlefields. It can even lead to rampant violence outside. Frowned eyebrows and eyes spewing venom has become the order of the day. The TV anchors have gone into the same mode, or have they evolved this new normal, is left to your judgement. The new normal, if one may say so, is a vitiated normal. Wit, humour and even sarcasm of the right type seems to have completely vanished from the public political domain. Leaders have been known for these expressions earlier, in and out of legislatures, the glue which actually rules democracy. Democracy can be conducted in a language meant for it. It cannot be conducted in an alien language. The political software and democratic hardware do not match. Most of the political parties need to take a correctional leap.

Sanjay Sahay

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