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The Politics of Pretension

Being committed to a particular ideologue often makes people develop their political reasoning with uncritical zeal, sometimes contradicting their own principles. This is essentially what modern day politics is about ; hypocrisy is cynically embraced as a fact. There have been innumerable instances of both the Left and the Right being hypocritical and self-contradictory. The hunger for power makes them abandon the fundamental and central principles they chose to begin with.

The left wing principles include social liberalism, social justice, and social equality. The Left discourse tends to defend Islam and denounce any criticism against the same, calling it Islamophobia or bigotry. For instance, Triple talaq, a medieval Islamic practice which has been banned in quite a few Islamic countries, was legal in India until August 2017. Triple talaq is a primitive practice protected under the Shariat law that gives Muslim men the power to legally divorce their wives merely by stating the word ‘talaq’ thrice. It was banned after the central government filed an affidavit against the practice based on Shayara Bano’s petition in the Supreme Court. Although the Left claims to be feminist, it remains wary of supporting the ban on the practice in spite of its sexist nature. In fact, the Indian National Congress has indicated that it might even oppose the bill that seeks to criminalize Triple talaq.


The Uniform Civil Code aims to remove existing personal laws that are based on scriptures of major religions in the country and bring in a common set of rules for all religions. Although secularism is a word that has been used quite often by the Left, it seems unable to grasp its significance. Secularism denotes the separation of the state from religious institutions, a feat the Uniform Civil Code aims to accomplish. In spite of that, whenever the debate on UCC surfaces, the Left refrains from speaking in favour of it.

The Left wing in India constantly complains about not having freedom of speech. However, it is not very good at dealing with opposing views either. For instance, the Indian National Congress protested against the release of a film called Indu Sarkar, which was a fictional movie based on the emergency declared by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There have been several other instances of liberals not being able to handle criticism of their ideology.

A cartoon by Anne Telnaes

The right wing fundamentals, on the other hand, include social conservatism, nationalism, and nativism. The Right has had its fair share of hypocrisy. The right wing in India is extremely critical of Pakistan for being authoritarian and undemocratic. In the same breath, the BJP implemented the beef ban, essentially imposing an ideology on the entire population. The same ideas that the BJP slams Pakistan for are reflected in its own actions.

Despite being guilty of resorting to identity politics, the Right constantly accuses the Left of the same. Identity has always been used as a tool to gain votes by the Right. For instance, the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya was an issue raised by the BJP during the elections in an attempt to polarize the votes. Several other attempts at this practice is reflected in the divisive speeches delivered by some of their leaders, such as Sakshi Maharaj and the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.

Hate speech by Sakshi Maharaj

The BJP complains about the media being anti-Modi. However, it seems to forget about certain media houses that are supportive of the BJP to the extent of openly siding with them.

It is not wrong to be associated with a certain ideology, but opposing views need to be considered with an open mind. In order to progress as a society, opinions must be formed only after listening to the other side of the argument. Democracy stands for the exchange of ideas through dialogue and discussion. Unfortunately, people tend to look at the world through the confines of their finite belief systems. To incorporate better systems, to ensure transparency and collaborative growth where the nation comes together, we sometimes need to look at things with a different perspective.