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Problem with Being Apolitical

Rajesh , 2788

There is a problem with being extremely political, people say. Being an extremist is almost always perplexing… if not for you, for the people around you. But what is more problematic coming from an individual is his/her apolitical stance.

If you are (not a hermit and) living in a country like India which is constantly under political turmoil, then again, you are standing in the middle of Delhi elections - the melting pot of all the political actions and here if you are telling me that you have an unbiased and neutral political stance because politics doesn’t affect your life, let me begin by telling you that you have succeeded – by one single statement – in proving that the political chaos in India is not coming to an end anytime soon.

This undifferentiated rejection of politics is an important weakness in the citizens of this country, not only because it defies the years of equal right to vote movement (in other countries that actually started the base of democracy, not in India because we got pretty decent – readymade – right to vote surprisingly) but also because it is dangerous for the stability of the country. I don’t understand why politics is taken as some disease that kills you. Having a political stand is not at all toxic. You might die of extreme actions one takes over the politics but you will never die of the particular political stand in your head (or will you?)

Am I exaggerating? Wait, let me explain. A country (like India) is made up of the different communities that reside in it; the communities are made by the different individuals that are in one way or another part of it. As an individual, you are part of the community and hence the country. At the conjunction of all the communities, lies the factor that plays the most important role in order to bring forth the issues of everyone’s concern and that is politics. Politics is not something apart, see? It goes in conjunction with an individual’s daily life. It is not something grand, out of the world. It is by the people, for the people and eventually made up of people.

As a student, one might think that it is not affecting him/her but if we go one level deep, politics is also affecting what we study and how we study things. As a well settled upper middle class person, one might thing politics has nothing to do with you but on another level with the slightest political upheaval, such things happen that directly affect you. With a blindfold, I can even say that the sun is not affecting me in any way, but is it not?

If we go back in history (not time travel, just some history and political science books,) Politics actually started as a tool through which the common citizens control the very nation in which they reside. Political discussions gave birth to both – the intellectual and violent – struggles to reform the society. The danger of apoliticism is that without political debate, there is no possibility of taking the struggle forwards, since it can only start with discussing the roots of the problems. Take it this way – If there is no discussion and critique of a faulty foundation and we keep on building a fort over it, the fort will eventually collapse – similarly, with a country if you decide to be apolitical and don’t question the people you have chosen because you have an apolitical stance, you slap the past political movements right at the face and at the same time a big facepalm moment for all the people who are actually trying to make this country a better place to live in.

If politics is the question, debates and discussions are the point where the answer start and although there is no definite answer, one can always choose a side and crib than end up being the apolitical intellectual of Otto Rene Castillo’s

Apolitical Intellectuals

One day
the apolitical
of my country
will be interrogated
by the simplest
of our people.

They will be asked
what they did
when their nation died out
like a sweet fire
small and alone….