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How slogans have influenced Indian elections

How slogans have influenced Indian elections
Highlights

Great slogans are spirit-stirring and prophetic. They are soaked in patriotism and humanism, cutting across the barriers of colour and creed, they blaze a trail in a multiracial and multi- cultural nation, ignite the minds of people and exhort them to rededicate themselves to the progressive march of their nation.

Great slogans are spirit-stirring and prophetic. They are soaked in patriotism and humanism, cutting across the barriers of colour and creed, they blaze a trail in a multiracial and multi- cultural nation, ignite the minds of people and exhort them to rededicate themselves to the progressive march of their nation.

In short, they are inspirational in word, deed and thought. Unfortunately, the slogans coined by our politicians are shorn of any solemnity, sanctity and substance. Now Chowkidar is made a celebrity. Won't he go the way of chaiwallah, a few days later only to be replaced with a Safai Karmachari in the near future just to reap electoral dividends.

A century and a half ago in 1860, Abraham Lincoln gave his nation a thoughtful slogan like '' Vote yourself a farm '' while a century later in 1928 Herbert Hoover promised Americans to fulfil their basic requirements with the slogan ''' A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.''

Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 asked every American to dream of a new America with his optimistic exhortation "Happy days are here again.'' Barak Obama enthused the entire US in 2008 and 2012 with the inspiring slogan '' Change we can believe in and Yes, We can''.

Even an in inveterate opponent of immigrants like Donald Trump appealed to the average American to dream big and ''make America great again.''

More than a half century ago, Lal Bahadur Shastri summed up the sole strength of our nation in a pithy sentence like '' Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'' and united the people of entire nation ''It was not an election slogan but a deeply grateful homage to the toiling kisan and the valorous soldier.

In 1972 Mrs Indira Gandhi coined the new slogan '' Garibi Hatao'' pinpointing the need to eradicate the excruciating poverty of the masses. She was,, however, humbled by no less than the Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan when he fought her ruthless authoritarianism and emergency excesses with the slogan '' Indira Hatao; Desh Bachao.''

True in 2004, the Congress coined a relevant slogan like '' Congress ka hath, Sab ka saath'' while the intrepid Modi appealed to the popular imagination with his slogan ''Sab ka saath, sab ka Vikas''. But, of late, sloganeering has lost its primary relevance.

Instead, slogans have been coined and hurled at political adversaries to defame , degrade and debunk one another beyond any rationale.. In short, they smack of character-assassinating calumnies bordering on self righteous megalomania and holier-than-thou hypocrisy.

One such slogan trending on social media is'' Main bhi Chowkidar''. The PM himself has styled himself as chowkidar to drive home the point that he is the sole sentinel of India guarding her destiny while the leaders of opposition parties are out to wreck and tear apart her social, political and cultural fabric.

His self-righteous slogan has however, boomeranged on him to such a nasty level that the Congress President Rahul Gandhi made the irreverent comment ''Chowkidar chor hai 'hinting at corrupt deals in Raphael deal.' The PM hit back saying that '' Naamdaar'' are habituated to spreading hate against those who are sincere and duty-bound.

Downgrading the job of chowkidars, CM Of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal made the offensive comment that only those who want their children to become chowkidars vote for Modi.

Even in the recent past. Mani Shankar Aiyar mocked at Modi by calling him a mere chaiwallah but the resourceful Modi cut him to size saying that '' he sold tea , not the nation.'' However, Modi-baiters are unrelenting with such biting comments ''How come Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya escaped the attention of the chowkidar of the nation? The chowkidar is obviously somnolent. Otherwise, fraudsters like Nirav Modi ilk would not have committed a massive fraud on Indian banks.

The Chowkidar has committed dereliction of duty and must be shown the door. Let the politicos of India realise that the poor, illiterate masses of India do not have even now a square meal a day while the burning issues such as access to health care, creation of employment opportunities, eradication of excruciating poverty , spread of literacy and education and above all rooting out corruption have remained unaddressed by our netas in all seriousness and sincerity. As such, It little matters to the poor whether the Indian politicians style themselves as Chowkidars of the nation or not.

SM Kompella, Kakinada

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