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Rakht Charitra (A History of Blood)

November 9, 2010

Whoa, you would feel like what the heck was that. It’s a cool Bollywood film but if you see towards the end of the trailer, it says “inspired by a true story”. It is a real story of Dravidian politics, and the most violent side of it is “Goondaraj” (Rule by the goons). The murders you saw are something that happened. I could not help but relate the social contract theorist and apply them to Dravidian politics. To give you a simple notion of Dravidian politics, educated people are scared to be in power, for education is a passport that can lead you to more SAFER careers such as medicine and engineering. So the state is run by illiterates and/or goons.

Hobbes’ soverign gone bad is what I can compare Dravidian politics to. What I see in Dravidian politics is a absolute monarchy with a veil called democracy. The slogan of democracy is “By the people, For the people and of the people” but Dravidian politics has a slightly different slogan “Buy the people, Far the people and Off the People”.

In Dravidian politics, everyone in political scene wants to be the Levithan, and power is not given, it is taken. A goon can become the Levithan, you can be the Levithan, that is if you can survive.  As Hobbes put it:

Repugnant to the nature of a commonwealth, is this, that he that hath the soverign power, is subject to civil laws….which the commonwealth maketh, he is not subject (pg 230)

So there is no laws, no restrictions to gain power. That is precisely what happens in Dravidian politics, some rulers are civil and fight fairly for power but others don’t. Notorious states like Andra Pradesh are some of the most dreaded political scenes in the world.

Hobbesian commonwealth and Dravidian political system in well linked, the people in power (By power here I mean, power by currency or power by the sword) want to be the Levithan, the subjects (the common folks) made a tacit covenant to abide by the soverign as long as their lives are protected and they are given liberty which in Hobbesian terms means

those things, which by strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindered to do what he has the will to do (pg 188)

But this is where the unfairness comes in. All the subjects in a Hobbesian commonwealth come to a covenant to place person X as the soverign in state of peace. But in Dravidian politics, people are either manipulated or intimidated to make person X the soverign (this is “Buy the people”) and if there is opposition named person Y, X should destroy Y (Destroy here does not mean murder, it means destroy their political support, defame them, look better than them) because X wants to be the Levithan. And as for the subjects, the winning soverign’s supporters are embellished while person Y’s supported are neglected. (this is “Far the people”) This is fairly simplistic, rather than X and Y – think of two giant political parties with their leaders attempting to take that spot as the soverign.

As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close, keep your enemies even closer”. These parties are in constantly looking to preserve their soverign power and most of their effort goes into keeping political power, as Hobbes states

directly against the essence of the commonwealth….that the soverign power may be divided (pg 230)

Power cannot be given, it has to be taken and these parties won’t share power. So if Dravidian politics is all that bad, why can’t the people revolt? The soverign as in Hobbes’ scheme offers a state of peace, and all the madness occurs only when one attempts to seek soverign power. Decisions unfortunately are made to keep soverign power and if doing people good will keep power, the Dravidian Levithan would do so, if not, he/she will not. The people are an afterthought. Keeping the power of the soverign is the most important aspect. So people are rarely affected (meaning the levithan does not bring about innovation or betterment of society nor does he/she try to intentionally harm the public. His/Her fight is against the one who seeks his/her spot)

Democracy in South India is hard to achieve, for the focus on keeping power is way overblown. Maybe being president or chief minister shouldn’t be so enticing.

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