On Idolization & Madness
One particular politician in Madurai is very famous. He is M.K. Alagiri, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, and is one of the two sons of Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi. This is like no news at all for someone from the South. This is because we are often reminded of this particular family of politicians whenever something or someone of importance comes to visit.
You should have seen the number of posters and road blocking banners there were when M.K. Alagiri was celebrating his birthday. The loud speakers and the tube lights arranged like a sun along bridges [the rising sun is their party (DMK) symbol] were very much conspicuous in the otherwise current-deficient and quiet city. And I don’t think I can even stop if I start talking about the words they use to describe their favorite politician – ‘Socrates’, ‘Raja Raja Cholan’, ‘Fearless Heart’, ‘Tamil Nadu’s history’, ‘Aristotle’, ‘Future Prime Minister’… What did I tell you? I simply can’t stop when I start about it.
However, I don’t think I mind the extravagance or inconvenience or wastage of resources or even the wordings on the banners very much. What does trouble me is how the people seem to be so comfortable with everything. Every single person I knew talked about how it was a great nuisance and all that, but on the other side, I couldn’t help noticing that there was a section of people who almost worshiped politicians. They were the ones responsible for the votes they get, for the banners put up, for the riots that rose. And that made me realize how many people in India seem to idolize people rather than simply support them.
Take Mahatma Gandhi as an example. He was a great man, a truly wonderful man… but the problem with his followers is that they idolized him, rather than follow his principles or even try to understand them. Before him, long, long ago, was Buddha. Instead of following his doctrines, a section of people started worshiping his idols, when he had himself spoken against idol-worship. Then there was the story of Kabir. Most of it is legend, but suppose we take it to be true, we’ll know how both the Muslims and the Hindus failed to grasp what he said, and instead started to create an idol of him. The same old history seems to have repeated over the years and seems to be repeating now. Even recently, when the film ‘Endhiran’ was released, people were giving milk oblations, worshiping in temples, going crazy over the entire movie [something, which if I may add, was quite sick].
A healthy democracy isn’t one where its people start idolizing the people they elect. It’s up to us to identify if we are on the right track in supporting a person, and if not it’s high time we corrected ourselves.