Updated: Jun 30
There is a dialogue in NOTA that goes like this, "I have often wondered why are these government buildings so excessively magnificent in structure with imposing pillars and regal steps? Why should a motorcade follow the chief minister unnecessarily? Only now I realize that this pomp and splendour is a 'symbol of power'. People from outside should look at this as a temple. And the man inside should appear as God. A wave of fear should develop. I am in that position now. I cannot be God. At least I will try to be a decent human being".
Now, this is exactly what politics is in our country. We make an unknown person the head of state and give him the status of a God. Just like a rock with some imaginary shape is suddenly sprinkled with powders and worshipped. From where does this unknown and unrealistic love or fear towards a person in position come from? Partly from our observations of others doing it. And partly from the fact that only temples and government buildings have such splendour to themselves.
There is another bunch of folks whom we trust blindly like the netas; the self-proclaimed godmen. Something that our society takes pride in. Now imagine these two unknown individuals considered Gods; one apparently by the will of people and the other by his silence, or by unabashedly exhibiting their knowledge in their own sponsored events, come together to run the government. This is beautifully depicted in the movie NOTA, starring Vijay Devarakonda in the lead role.
There are two scenes that typically sum up this whole concept and what is wrong with our politics.
#1: Varun is chosen as CM
Varun asks why he was chosen ahead of other experienced party members. A close aide of his father tells him that it was his father's guru who said so. Anyone would consider a leader to be a fool when they consult godmen to take political decisions. This is because we are all affected by what happens to the state.
This was specifically why Machiavelli explained the ill effects of the interference of the Church in state administration, in his 'Theory of 2 Swords'. Aren't we already aware of the foolish decisions that people take in the name of numerology? Imagine the state doing that and all you have in your hands is a vote that comes once in five years to show your anger at the state. Even then some of us are indifferent and consider election day as a holiday.
#2: Varun is sworn in as CM
It is in this scene that Varun promises to be a decent human being. Just ruminate over the dialogue. You will find what is wrong with us. We were not given a chance to transition from a feudal society that worshipped kings to a democracy that made people aware of their power, unlike the West. The West had revolutions to tell people that they were the ones who hold power.
In this context, it is worth mentioning the concept of 'Social Contract' by Thomas Hobbes. Social Contract says that the state is the result of a contract entered into by the members of a society to safeguard their common interests without giving up their basic rights such as the right to life. The contract that gives legitimacy to the state is the constitution. Going by this we can see that this contract has been used by some power-hungry individuals to create a false notion that the state is all-powerful and the citizens don't have a say. Except for getting inked once in five years.
At least for once can we get leaders who act like decent human beings? Doing the right things by being accountable, responsible, and taking decisions based on rational thinking, rather than believing in pseudo-science? Finally, doesn't our society consider a powerful person who is decent as God? It is this decency of being natural humans that some of our representatives lack.
You would think, but we have the option to choose someone else than the candidates contesting. Well, you have it now and that's NOTA. In recent times, during local body elections, states like Maharashtra and Haryana have said that if NOTA comes first then there will be elections again. Haryana went a step further and said that the candidates will not be allowed to contest again. So, it is in our hands to bring about a change and make the state an individual entity. It is also up to us to put decent humans with the required knowledge in that entity.
Just like MCQ’s where you know that none of the options given is right, in the same manner, you can choose NOTA and tell the political parties that the candidate of my constituency is not fit to rule. It is better than seeing the face of someone who doesn't even know the local language.
Now, choose one party from below if, given the power to run the state, it will guarantee a rule of accountability, harmony, and equality.
● National Party (BJP, Cong)
● Regional Party (TMC, NCP, etc)
● Independent candidates