In the days of yore when honesty and integrity still had their place in society, treachery and disloyalty, and acts of betrayal were done surreptitiously, away from the public glare. But as I saw the thirteen Karnataka MLAs moving out of their Mumbai hotel, on their way to Goa, after having decided to switch floors, now smiling and waving at the crowd, not hiding their heads in shame, ashamed with having betrayed their constituents but actually grinning and in full view of the people outside, I realized that such acts of deception had become an accepted norm in the eyes of the world, at least in our country, if not elsewhere!
They were elected by a people, for the party which had fielded them. They were elected by a people against another party the people were against. They were the representatives of the voice of the people, how then could they have ever thought of acting otherwise?
But even as my TV screen showed their grinning faces and wildly gesticulating hands, I realized that these expressions of glee were directed to an admiring and receptive public outside. Very frankly, you wouldn’t show expressions which the audience did not want. You would not walk out of a court jumping with glee and waving to a crowd after being convicted of murder, because the crowd outside, baying for your blood would lynch you right then and there, even before the custodians of law and order could have done anything otherwise.
But here, thirteen men who had betrayed their people, waved to the crowd, who I am sure waved back at them, or at least were receptive to their triumphant expressions.
Like I said, once upon a time, such deeds were done scrumptiously because people were ashamed.
“Yes, we gave in to our carnal selves, but we are sorry!” showed the expression on the face of the convicted rapist as he was led off to jail.
“I wish I had not killed him!” whispered the killer silently as he looked at the gallows that also silently beckoned him to his punishment.
But there was no remorse in the eyes of these thirteen men. Worse, they looked out of the bus onto our own eyes, and waved because what they saw was a country encouraging and uplifting them for their dastardly act.
What stage have we reached, when betrayal is accepted as a normal?
Lies endorsed as a way of life?
Fake news forwarded even without finding out if it is true or false?
A society that accepts with approval and appreciation, what once was done with shame.
Do remember; we waved back..!
(Published on 15th July 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 29)