Democracy has three vectors. We the People, You the People, and They the People. The crossover of power from 'We' to 'They' is usually smooth after an election, since in the order of things, there is an alpha dog and the underdogs. Once that is sorted, is left You the People a small section of the educated elite with a sceptical bent of mind.
'You' refuses to stop questioning and accept what 'They' says as the word of God. 'You' seeks accountability and possesses an independent, questioning mind. Usually, 'You' leads ‘We’ when ‘They’ fails to do their job.
India saw this happen after the Emergency, when We the People brought in and later threw out the Janata Party, elected and ejected Rajiv Gandhi, chose Vajpayee and rejected Advani, and gave the green light to Manmohan Singh’s coalition twice.
'We' is fickle and merciless. Seven years ago, a new mutation happened. Modern Indian history is now divided into the pre-Modi era and the Modi epoch. For the first time, 'They' and 'We' are joined at the hip and become I the People.
Despite the government's abysmal ineptitude in handling Corona 2.0 leading to tragic consequences, the relationship between Narendra Modi and 'We' cannot be shattered. That leaves 'You' holding the can.
Why does the unforgiving 'We' see no wrong in Mr Modi? Why has 'We' elevated Mr Modi to the divine plane his political rallies comprise thousands of mask-less people? Why did 'We' shrug at the inconvenience and dehydration of demonetisation, and cheer Mr Modi with a bigger vote in 2019?
The answer goes beyond Hindutva and nationalism. India had been looking for a living god. 'They' has got one in Mr Modi. Doesn’t God test us with trials? Doesn’t He punish us so that we may be a better version of ourselves?
Doesn’t God promise and fail to deliver so that we can learn about Maya? God is not action, He is reaction - to prayers and karma. It is the job of astrologers and priests to decode His message and be ambassadors of grace.
When God is busy elsewhere, it is 'You' who comes to aid 'We'. 'You' sells their cars to buy oxygen cylinders, crowdsources funds to help patients gasping for air, forms groups on Instagram and Twitter to share information on hospital beds, cemeteries and ambulances, hospitals with and without oxygen, which ICUs are not full and which cemeteries are, the contact numbers of doctors willing to help free of charge, and cooks food for the poor who have been cooked down or have lost their livelihoods.
It is the same 'You' which fed, clothed and sheltered the migrants walking home during the first wave. It is also the same 'You' who is now calling out 'They' for not having anticipated the crisis, prescribing quackery and thumping their chests for having whacked the virus the first time.
'They' is not happy. 'They' has leaned on social media outfits to censor 'You' and files FIRs against 'We' who tweets for oxygen. But 'We' is cool with it. Sum total: 'They' and 'You' will always be at odds. 'They' is afraid of 'You', because in a crisis 'You' gives 'They' direction. ‘
Make no mistake, 'We' is angry with 'They' but not at 'Him'. The current crisis has given Mr Modi a chance to redeem the national image which now resembles a Third World nation in dire straits as the entire Western world, and spitefully Pakistan, is ready with oxygen cylinders and vaccines for India.
Who’s that talking in the back of the class? You?
(The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)