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Indian politics : A path paved with insults and intolerance

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Politics has always been a place where beliefs and views clash. But in recent years, the tone of political dialogue in India has altered dramatically and distressingly. Politicians no longer partake in spirited conversations where they articulate their positions with respect for their opponents. Today, it appears that underhanded criticism, abuses to the person, and offensive language have taken over the political sphere and serve only to denigrate politics as a whole.

The fact that this transition is a reflection of a wider cultural trend towards intolerance is one of the most painful features of it. Politicians are a reflection of the society they represent; they do not operate in a vacuum. They are using hate speech, slurs, and disparaging language more frequently, which means that the public is coming to accept such behaviour. A dangerous trend that endangers the foundation of a diverse and democratic society is the normalisation of intolerance.

In the past, despite ferocious political rivalry and ideological conflict, leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and others always conducted political debates with a certain amount of decency and respect. They were mindful that their comments impacted the entire country rather than only their political rivals.

Today’s politicians, however, seem to have lost this integral principle of moral leadership. They resort to personal jabs and character assassinations in place of focussing on the issues that have an impact on the lives of millions.

The emergence of social media has made this issue worse by providing politicians a stage from which to hurl abuses and indulge in name-calling with even greater direct and widespread effect. They now often engage in Twitter fights and Facebook rants to settle scores and further rifts rather than promoting civil discourse and constructive debates.

There are several repercussions of this worsening political debate. It erodes the public’s trust in their elected members and the legitimacy of political institutions.

Today, the situation of Indian politics is characterised by xenophobic remarks, crude insults, and belittling language, which is quite concerning. It depicts the alarming intolerance that has sneaked into our culture.

We must call for a return to the decorum and respect that once characterised political debate in India if we are to preserve the integrity of our democracy and ensure a better future for our country and compel our politicians to put the welfare of the nation and its citizens ahead rather than petty grudges.

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