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Politicising surgical strikes was always on the cards, Rahul Gandhi's 'dalali' remark made it worse

Khoon ki dalali... Ahem! Rahul Gandhi is at it again. Poor choice of words, deliberate insult, an outburst of frustration or it's just being Rahul, take your pick. It can be all too. But be warned, it won't take you anywhere. The level of political discourse in the country has stooped so low that it's better not to get stuck in the immediate and waste time; rather have a few laughs and wait for the next such incident to happen.

The BJP would love to blame the Congress vice-president for bringing the collective maturity of the nation down by big notches single-handedly, but as the developments post the surgical strike suggest, it could be a joint effort involving several BJP leaders too. To expect them to hold back gloating after the strike for long was expecting too much. Prime Minister Narendra Modi discovered this to his dismay recently. To expect the opposition to hold back questions for long was silly too, particularly with the media going bonkers about lionising the political leadership. Politicisation of the strike, thus, was always on the cards. Who started it and why are there dumb questions.

A file image of Rahul Gandhi. AFP

A file image of Rahul Gandhi. AFP

The word dumb brings our attention to the media. It is amusing that the media – a large section of which has been taking political sides openly – would ask who politicised the Indian military's post-Uri action. Having banished the word 'discretion' from their vocabulary, suspending the word 'sober' in their everyday conduct and embracing 'outrage' as the language of conversation, it's rather strange that they would go to town claiming that politicians are using the incident for selfish advantage. Why blame the poor leaders? They are only playing things in the hands of the powerful media, rushing as they have to every now and then for tit-for-tat press conferences, quotable quotes and what not. If they don't perform according to media's expectations, their case is doomed.

While it may be difficult for the outsider to judge who is using whom, it is safe to say it is a symbiotic association. In such an equation, ruling parties generally enjoy more advantage than the opposition. The latter can only be heard by being outrageous. Arvind Kejriwal is a case in point. His repeated tweet attacks on the Prime Minister ensure him media space. In the age of short memories and echo chambers, it hardly matters whether it is for good reason or bad.

If you don't exist in the media, you don't exist at all. It's the new reality for the political class. Rahul Gandhi's periodic outbursts, sometimes silly and juvenile by general agreement, follow a pattern now and are getting popular among his ilk

He can be held guilty for poor language – his dialogue writer certainly deserves twenty lashes; if the man himself invented it, his Hindi tutor, if he has one – must get the sack. But he is not the one who started politicisation of the surgical strikes. He only made a low-intensity affair a full-blown one. His remark means the gloves are off. If the BJP secretly wished this is how things shape up before the Uttar Pradesh elections, he has delivered it to them on a platter. Looking at his 'feeling', as Kapil Sibal would put it, from a sympathetic perspective there could be an explanation. Why not go the whole hog when the matter has already been given a political colour by the media and it is no more likely to stay buried as a state secret?

The biggest loser in the political muck-raking would be the defence establishment, perhaps the last of the institution in the country which commands undiluted respect from the masses. The dumbed-down discourse around, which revels in mediocrity and lack of the sense of responsibility, fails to take note of that.

Don't waste time over what Rahul just said. Wait for what worse is coming from any direction. We live in silly times. Khoon ki dalali is one proof of that.

Updated Date: Oct 08, 2016 12:20 PM

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