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Mass politics, social media have led to 'crass' political dialogues

By Dr Dharma

Apr 14: The way the democracy is handled today is a major concern, especially the social media has lead to a major crisis and has completely destroyed the political dialogues on the mainstream.

At the outset of 2018 Karnataka polls there is a new trend of not realising one’s own rights and duties. For instance, a few national, state and local leaders can be heard using hate phrases or derogatory words like ‘Huchha’ or calling someone 'Chaiwala' or singling out a person's caste calling him 'Kuruba', all of which is a bad political culture. Some of the words that are unconstitutional and considered to be vulgar were being used in the public meetings. The words were also highly undemocratic and uncalled for in any sphere of democracy.

People also use the chauvinistic conversation in public discourses. Is she a 'Gandasu’, is she a ‘Hengasu’ referring to one's own sex. A few political leaders in Karnataka are found to use such phrases or words, while the mass claps and enjoys. That’s why I say that we are living in a 'mass' politics, where people have failed to analyse the party leaders as they continue the character assassination against each other.

Not even close to a century old in a democracy of ours, throwing garbage on each other is a recent trend, which otherwise had highly matured political stalwarts. Irrespective of their parties - the left-right or the centre, the leaders had the highest regard for each other and addressed them in a similar fashion. Yesteryear leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jayaprakash Narayan, Dr B R Ambedkar were the stalwarts of this wonderful political culture, where individual respect was held in high regard.

It was only after the communal clashes intervened in India the political affairs went beyond control. The recent generation who have emerged as leaders and holding highest position have failed to realize as to why they are being elected to political-offices. Subsequently, the political ambitions and insecurities of such leaders got better of them and they publicly traded charges against each other only to remain relevant in the public memories.

Eventually it was completely forgotten that politics is an exclusive sector, where you need to serve people. Rather it became a profession for large number of 'Mass' leaders. With professional 'tag' attached to politics, the 'value' took a back-seat and competitive and aggressive behaviour from the politicians came to the fore.

To attract people, the 'mass' leaders felt that decent language and respecting others wouldn't work. They started using unconstitutional and provocative language to make the mass or supporters to get charged. The leaders have forgotten the clear divide of what public sphere and private sphere is, which marked the beginning of the end of the democracy.

Democracy is not merely being elected and holding public is also managing the existing reality. The MLCs, MLAs or the MP's have forgotten to conduct themselves with democratic values of free speech, expression and also how they represent their constituents. Unfortunately, most of the elected representatives have forgotten their constituency and they only think that they represent their respective party. This amnesia is high among politicians, who unsparingly use all sort of language both in public and the media.

What is the impact?

Unfortunately or fortunately we have a fan following for such political culture. Every leader has his own mass following, analysing the leader is not the culture of this 'mass'. In the absence or very little room for analysis and the leaders do not have control over their language the journey of politics is deteriorating over the days. As a result, it has created a damage to the society or public discourse at large.

Even if you are a constitutional expert, you are not able to survive the politics, as only a few people are left with a decent or a rational approach. This will definitely lead to a natural death of democratic processes in India as you don’t engage in debate, interaction between individuals across caste, community and region. In the absence of which, unconstitutional/ unparliamentary words will always prevail. We have reached a stage where our democracy has no control and the democracy on other hand is being controlled by undemocratic leadership.

Faceless social-media harming democratic fabric

By calling 'Chaiwala' or 'Kuruba' in context of jokes and forwarding it in the social media we are exhibiting insensitivity. Our social media is not strengthening democracy but rather harming it and silencing constructive debates. Democracy means communicating, debating and airing ideas. Democracy cannot survive on Facebook and WhatsApp, and if that is democracy, it is a dead democracy. Technology cannot be a substitute for people.

Social media is changing political scenarios and outcomes, because social media believes in providing entertainment to the mass audience, instead of constructive debates. It is cheap entertainment or buffoonery that you don't remember tomorrow. Faceless mobs have taken-over the social media and have stopped communication and dialogues.

Social media has become a mere medium of attracting attention, not communication. What's funny is that such mass-leaders know that they can mesmerise voters using flowery language and that they will support them.

Look at our youngsters. Already the youngsters have allergy to politics. In 15 years where will these people go? I don’t think that you will carry a healthy debate in next 10 years. Most of the newspapers are not helping the debate. They don’t even open. None of them have access to newspapers. This is a serious problem, because you don’t want to get into any political debate. You are not even interested to know what is happening in society through newspaper. Rather you would read WhatsApp, messages, Twitter etc.

Most Twitter posts are political expressions. This is going to kill the democracy. We are already experiencing the fall of democracy and if you are going to tweet, I don’t think this tweet will be healthy. If PM Modi relies on social media to reach out to people, I will blame him, if Congress uses it I will blame Congress. I still think we need a political parties that needs people and people’s dialogue in a direct interaction.

Dr Dharma is Professor of Political science and Director of Jnana Kaveri campus Kodagu district and a guest writer at

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Comment on this article

  • Shekar, Mangalore

    Mon, Apr 16 2018

    Kudos DrDharma for the thought provoking message.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Mulki

    Mon, Apr 16 2018

    It is we who let the leftovers from the schools to take leading positions in politics and this is the result.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Joachim fernandes, kelarai

    Sun, Apr 15 2018

    Thank you Dr Dharma for a thought provoking article. We are going to have a generation soon which neither reads newspaper nor books. Analysis will be a forgone exercise of the mind. Waiting and working for a enlightened generation.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

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