One sees a great deal of despondency on twitter over election results

To my mind this despondency on the Right stems from a tendency to view the political arena as a "Kurukshetra" - a war between Dharma (BJP) and Adharma (everybody else)

I find this tendency problematic
Politics is not about one side being "righteous" and the other side being evil.

One side being a paragon of virtue, and the other side representing vice

Politics represents a platform for debating different views that exist on how society should be run
In this debate, you will have more than view. And more than one political party. And power will shift hands in a democracy, as public opinion is not set in stone

That is but natural in a free country that is comfortable with the diversity of opinions thrown up by human nature
Very often in our polarized times this appreciation of politics as a healthy manifestation of moral diversity does not quite exist.

Instead you have parties on either side thinking of the other as Evil

And this creates despondency - " could the voters do such a thing"
But the other side says the same thing (with all their righteousness) when you win.

And the reason this happens is because there is no agreement even on the ground rules of how society should be run
Let's suppose both sides agree on the basic notion of what India stands for, and there exists a shared consensus on some fundamental ideas of morality, then even if there exists a division between the party of the Right and the party of the Left, it is not a big deal
A classic example would be America in the 1950s -

You had Harry Truman, and later Adlai Stevenson of the Democratic Party. You had Eisenhower of the Republican party.

Sure there was infighting and political wrangling. But there was no strong polarization.
Because both sides agreed on some fundamental notions of America - as an outpost of European civilization. Both sides agreed on the dangers of fascism and the dangers of communism

Both sides valued individual rights and freedoms. So there was a shared moral inheritance
So within the ambit of this shared inheritance, even though you had two warring parties, it did not perturb people much

They appreciated politics as something healthy. Because political differences were bounded by certain boundaries
That's not true in modern India or even in US today

Polarization is acute because there is no agreement on ground rules

The two sides don't even agree on what the "idea of India" is. And this is sort of true even in the US, unlike in the 1950s
And because of this you get this unfortunate tendency to turn the political arena into a moral battlefield where your side represents the good and the other side are a bunch of demons who need to be exorcised
This is not healthy for a vibrant political life

However it is indicative that more work is required in first reaching a consensus on "ground rules" and develop a shared inheritance of certain values and notions

Once that happens, a healthy political life will ensue
To illustrate what I mean by "Ground rules", let's take the example of US and India.

US first ....

So in the world of 1950, when US was far less polarized, there was an agreement across the two parties on what US is. Nobody questioned that US is a "Western country"
There was 100% concurrence on that fact, and in the view that US is a Christian country, and an outpost of Western European civilization across the Atlantic.

Today, does that consensus exist? No
While some people may still insist on calling US a "Western" nation or even a "Christian" nation, may others don't feel comfortable.

They think now of US as a nation of immigrants, who can shape the country with their own diverse values. Not necessarily "Western" or "Christian"
And this creates problems in the body politic

Instead of having a party of the Left and the party of the Right, what you get is a party of "Nationalists" who stick to the old 1950 notion of what US is, and a party of deracinated globalists who dont mind challenges to that notion
Let's take India as another example

Again there is no agreement on the ground rules on what India is.
Is it a civilization that has its roots some 4 millennia ago in the culture that emanated from the Vedas?

Or is it a motley bunch of diverse, unrelated cultures held together by a Constitution that some enlightened people wrote in 1947?
When you have these fundamental disagreements, which manifest themselves in the two major parties, then you dont get a healthy debate

It is not any longer a Right vs Left debate. But a debate over the idea of India.
To me that debate is not worth having at the hustings.

It should ideally have been sorted out at the time of the nation's founding.

So that in elections, we desist from discussing ideas of India

But unfortunately thats not the case.
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Shrikanth Krishnamachary
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!