Politics of Apologies

We have seen politics of apology all over the globe. We in India have our own share of this politics. We are witnessing how this politics of apology is stalling our Parliament these days. In the name of our democracy and country being offended abroad ironically the temple of democracy, the Parliament is not allowed to function . This stalling is unpreceded because it is done by the ruling benches. Usually, it is the opposition that is known to play obstructionist politics, but here we have the ruling party taking that role for a change manifesting exactly what is wrong with our democracy.

Any demand for apology has a structure of a quest for justice and as such when it is demanded of a public leader, it does damage his/her reputation and brings about a trust deficit among his/her followers . But when the demand for apology is fake, it boomerangs on those that make the demand. In the instance that we have at hand, the claim of Rahul Gandhi is proven as right by stalling of the functioning of the Parliament. There is no harm in seeking apology when one feels outraged by something profoundlyoffensive, but linking this apology as a condition of the functioning of the Parliament betrays the cause by apparantly proving what Rahul had alleged about our democracy.

The politics of apology appears to be a deflection tactics of the ruling party to avoid its accountability in the Parliament. Issues of price rise, jobs as well as the Adani saga seem to be pushed in the background as a new narrative of Rahul shaming India and consequently, the demand for apology has taken our Parliament and public sphere by storm. It has also led to the discussion about who is a serial offender between Rahul Gandhi and the Prime Minister Modi. Lets grant that India is hurt by the offence of Rahul Gandhi but the washing away of the parliamentary proceedings will no way benifit our country. What comes out from this chaos is disturbing sense that triggers featmrs of weaponising of our Parliament to settle political scores. The result is an unique political communication that is neither fish or fowl .

The waste of the precious time of the Parliament seems to indicate that dramatic demand for apology is simply a grand posturing and exercise in rhetorics to escape accountability. Perhaps, the sheer numbers of the ruling benches seem to create the arrogance that seems to feel right when it escapes its responsibility and accountability to the house . A thin and weak opposition also does not help in this regard. Maybe it is this arrogance of power that is curtailing the size of our legislative sessions in.Goa. This trend of runing away from responsibility and accountability to the sacred house of democracy shows once again that our democracy is in danger. The fact that a pretext like Rahul Gandhi’ s opinion or a religious festival can become a precipitating point for the shut downs or down sizing of our Parliaments and legislature is indeed a serious matter that manifests the health of our democracy.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao