07 May 2014

Rishad Bathiudeen shows political ‘maturity’*

I am a seasoned politician.  I can hunt with the horse and run with the hare.  I know that at the end of the day the most important thing for a politician is getting elected and re-elected.  I know that elections are about people.  I know everyone won’t vote for me, but I also know that a politician must have a good sense of his constituency.  I know who are likely to vote for me and I know what should be done so that I can pocket their votes. 
I am a man of the people.  Read that as ‘the people who are likely to vote for me’.  Needless to say they are mostly Muslims.  That’s something that has got to do with demographic reality and not commonality of faith.  I am as much a follower of Prophet Muhammad as is any other Muslim politician, which can mean anything, of course, since ‘much’ is subjective.
But I am a man of the people, no one will dispute this.  I can and do walk around the villages.  I don’t need any security escort to do this.  I am comfortable being among my people.  There’s a reason.  I am a good politician. I know about elections. I know that elections are about voters.  I know who to keep happy. I know how to make them happy. 
I am a man of the people and I am a man who knows my terrain, political and otherwise.  I know the district.  Very well.  I know the borders.  I know what lands are vested with which authority.  That’s the whole point that a lot of people missed.  Well, since I am being honest and humble here, let me say that I was doing what any politician would do: I brought a bunch of journalists to Wilpattu. I had a story to tell.  I told it.  It is not my fault that many of them swallowed whatever I told them. 
It’s simple, really.  I said I did not know if people lived on the border of Wilpattu.  I said I didn’t ask them to settle there.  No one really investigated the truth of that claim.  Not my fault. My role in creating/supporting the Jathika Bala Sena, similarly, went under the media radar. Is that my fault? No.  I am a good politician.  I know my vocation.  It is not my business to teach journalism to journalists.  If they don’t ask the right questions and if they have poor investigative skills, it’s their problem, not mine.  The fact remains that my supporters were kind of the Jathika Bala Sena.  I could say that it is not my fault that the Jathika Bala Sena bought my story uncritically, but that would be a tad dishonest on my fault.  Someone could have concluded that there’s no reason why Rishad’s creature should object to Rishard.  No one put two and two together and come up with four. Not my fault.
The most important thing is, I am a good politician. I know my terrain.  What the journalists didn’t pick up was how someone who claims to know his terrain can say in the same breath ‘I do not know if people lived on the border of Wilpattu’.  If I knew my terrain, then I would know that some of my people are squatting in the bugger zone of Wilpattu.  It’s not my fault, again, that the relevant questions were not asked.
I am a good politician.  A good politician is all about strategy.  In this case, I have a simple strategy.  I promote encroachment actively, subtly or by looking the other way.  I am smart enough to know that someone will raise questions down the line.  So I concoct fictions about history, traditional homelands and such.  Yes, I tore that page from Tamil chauvinists.  Anyway, I also play the religion card.  I can always accuse objectors of being religious fundamentalists determined to give Muslims a raw deal. I can call it ‘majoritarianism’, another word I picked from Tamil chauvinists.  When everything fails, I can plead ‘give them alternative land’. 
So what do we have?  We have landless voters getting land.  They are happy, I am happy. Indeed, the Wild Life Department is happy that they got squatters off their land.  The BBS can claim victory.  I can count on state authorities to come down hard on any Sinhalese or Buddhists who try the same encroachment-eviction-relocation trick.  After all, they won’t be accused of ‘majoritarianism’ or religious fundamentalism if and when they kick out Sinhalese and Buddhists. This I know. 
Guess what is most important?  I get re-elected! 
 *In a parallel universe, of course!



Shaik Ahamath said...

I think he is right when he said "people are squatting in the bugger zone of Wilpattu". I cannot understand this man's arrogance when there is a legitimate reasons for the squatters.

Anonymous said...

Buffer zone I guess.