I just wanna share something on the recent debate between Kamal Haasan and Smirti Irani on Republic TV hosted by the well known speaker, Arnab Goswami. I've watched it due to waves of it hit my news feed and I was compelled (by myself) in penning down my views on it.
Disclaimer: These are my views on Kamal and Smriti Debate. The gist might look like in defense of Kamal, well it is, since most of the discussions on the social media didn't speak the truth. There is overwhelmed bashing of personal characteristics all over. Incidents taken from past and from their respective fields. But my views here are only on what happened there at the very tenure of the narrative and what I have observed from the politics that influence everyone like me, the common man.
As always this one was directed rightly onto the wrong path. Keeping aside the credibility of Kamal Haasan in politics and the things that happening around the same for him and against him, this debate is the most unplanned that I've ever seen. It will cost you one and a half hours of time and few calories in patiently listening to the not so typical, Arnab Goswami and one of the typical BJP party upholders, Smriti Irani. It will also cost you few more minutes in spending the same to refer your good old dictionary after keenly noting down few words spoken by these two persons. Not joking here.
Coming to "what happened, where Kamal went wrong" part of the hot discussions, which is keeping the social media busy. This debate came under the name "What is 2019's Narrative?". For the uninitiated, a narrative is "a spoken or written account of connected events; a story". In general, this means, what are your concerns as a citizen, a political leader and a rhetor. Start using your dictionary from this point on. Just kidding. ;-) And undoubtedly Kamal didn't come prepared for the event, this is where he went wrong. He appeared at a discussion where he was expected to shout at random faces without worries on the liability. He did his moves like a cinema person sometimes, expecting reactions from the audience. In that case, Smriti did it as well.
To me a narrative could have been an event where people take their stand on what really concerns them. They could have talked about the events that could have been avoided in the past in a societal boundary as a whole (it need not be pointing fingers at each other or the government in whatever may be the thing; I personally felt doing that wouldn't take you anywhere positively). But clearly that didn't happen. Instead, it was a political drama started off by provocative questions by Arnab. Taken forward to a typical unsolicited patriarchal melodrama, the one core strength of the BJP leaders as a whole, to which Smriti is not an exception. At this point, it has to be said that Kamal kept his cool as a political leader from Tamil Nadu, He also maintained the decorum of the dias.
And surprisingly I felt Arnab did justice in not falling prey to Smriti's provocations back at his provocative questions; and of course travelling to different directions from the core or the imperatives. Every single leader of BJP, boasts themselves as well as the party at all public events, irrespective of the accusations or the "RFCs"; projecting the party as one true party. I'm unbiased here, not for Kamal as well as against BJP. If the people who listen to BJP leaders, are a bit naive, not so logical, or analytical and unaware of the status quo around them, then they will be totally engulfed by BJP ideology, into their psychological sorcery called patriarchy. I wanna quote a wise man's saying, not very sure who that gentleman was but the saying goes like this, "Religion is like underwear, you can wear yours, just because you feel it so precious, you can't wear it over your trousers or ask others to wear the same!". The kind of patriarchy portrayed by BJP leaders, including Smriti, who was well appreciated and brought into limelight after this narrative is completely built on top of that religious notion, "One nation, one language, one religion". Come on, in what era are we now? And that's pretty much what feels like cheap politics in a massive large scale without any shame.
Kamal did a good job there, by truly talking for the region he belongs to and not swayed as well as returning back the favour of their intimidations by Arnab as well as Smriti. But Arnab kept pulling Kamal back into what seemed to be a monologue most of the time by Smriti and yet both the gentlemen on the dias failed before the talkative, unabashed, Smriti who kept on delivering a pro-Modi, pro-BJP ideology and she was successful in making the closed arena smell like their party office. Arnab did try to get back Smriti from beating around the bush in most times. Also tried to trick Kamal to start a heated argument. He set them right by quoting what they have said against each other. Especially Kamal against BJP by quoting his "Hindu Terror" statement. That called for Kamal's explanation on what "ஹிந்து தீவிரவாதம்" means; as well goes on about "தீவிரவாதம் = extremism" and "பயங்கரவாதம் = terrorism". Smriti by her ornamental fluency in english and uninterrupted, or her adamant occupancy of time in directing the audience to listen her party boasts and patriarchal blah blahs gave her the mirage of success from the debate to the poor fellows who viewed it.
They talked about Sabarimala, Kamal's allies, Prime minister Modi's silence towards Police man death and ministers garlanding goons, cow slaughter and what not. But in the given time, instead of talking about "everyone knows what" kind of things, they could have talked about what should we expect from 2019 as a country. As it is already said, this is not that narrative, a common man need to listen. We don't need the talk of the plunder, loads of blunder and judicial cases that slumber. As Arnab says, "the nation wants to know", what is going to be 2019, not what was 2018 and before to uncomfortably stay there.
The verdict here is not to get too dragged by these kind of events in judging anybody. To me, the genuinity of these events are the ones to be pondered rather than anything. I mean, what are their intentions, Is it portraying Kamal as a failed politician or Is it uplifting BJP as a well-versed national party or Is it using both the former and the latter for the business and to increase TRP. I must say, Republic TV failed in making the narrative, a narrative, let alone making it more interesting. Yet people were commenting about Kamal as an incapable politician and praising Smriti as an earnest leader.
Pity is old habits die hard in Indian politics for whomsoever be it.