March 23, 2019

Parties without ideals

People get together for a purpose. Even a casual social group like coffee friends getting together has a purpose of keeping social connections of one sort or another. Families, the building blocks of society, each in their unique ways have their unique objectives. Thus overall, even society which is the confluence of human beings would have specific objectives if that community is worth its salt.

Now, this should be the case for our political parties too. While each in our case in Maldives has its defining name, none however has an ideal that is linked to it that separates one from the other. Without this I wonder what it is that draws people to these groupings. There is nothing of an existential, environmental, economic, social or spiritual ideal that it calls for. The only commonality in our cases is that each is headed by someone gung-ho on being president of the country. So what is it that rallies people around them? Surely not a social one because in the first instance the leader is flaunting a selfish ideal so those around such a leader can’t be with god fearing ideals. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that such relationships of party membership would be steeped in selfish gain. And it’s evident from the merry-go-round membership we see in the way members jump ship from one regime change to another. I guess we are doomed to dance to this tamasha as long as this type of leadership continues to be in public vogue.

Society can’t progress without guiding inspiration. Least of this is embodied in the economic. When it is, It is the groping for the world. Yearning to play the accumulation game which will never end in any sense of satisfaction. Our greed and avarice and resulting competition and resentment will only tear a society apart; most profess that it is just what is happening in our little country. While this is evident, also starkly evident is the total absence of the intellectual and voices of conscience in our nation. All we see and hear on the social and other media are malevolent exchanges of invective that do nothing for social harmony. 

Perhaps that is what the divide-and-rule paradigm that our colonial masters left for us and we lap it up with glee as we too begin a process of neo-colonization perpetrated by our own despots. Yes, the oppressed learn only the ways of the oppressor. So they work with what they know. The despot knows nothing of compassion. Perhaps this intellectual and moral social entity is not even allowed to surface; and they understandably are not ready for the fight; too sensible to risk the lives of their loved ones by allowing being taken away in the middle of the night for no reason at all. And they could well languish in shackles without trial and no one would care too hoots for their voice. Perhaps they would even receive blame for speaking out when they did. Why can’t you just stay quiet and do your own thing and let us do ours. You will also get the chance (if you join us) to milk the cow. This is the fear that engulfs this beautiful paradise of ours; just because some people want to inveigle the post of president or perhaps as we hear, the leadership in a future avatar of a political regime.

If we want a stable Maldives we need to first wake up to the tricks the Great Deceiver is playing with us to divide us and keep us bickering and hateful. No sensible discussion can take place in such a chaotic milieu. Look, there is enough for everyone's need; but sadly never enough for everyone’s greed.  So said the Mahatma.  Our beloved Islam also reminds us constantly to the foolishness of accumulation. Just glance through the short yet powerful Surah al-Thakathur. Yes before we know it we will be at the brink of our graves. What will all this wealth be worth? Can we take even a cent with us? Yes the Great Deceiver never lets us have time to think; he just keeps us busy thinking about the world and its glittering opportunities. Or to the endearment of heedless laze. And finally he will abandon us. And blame our misfortune squarely on us. There will be no place then to go.

I would conclude with a thought, while perhaps extremely polemic for now, but that which will show prescient wisdom when the doom is truly in sight. Our Islam says “don’t divide yourselves. Be whole and united; hold on to the rope of Allah”. These supreme words are to be trumped by our arrogance and hubris? As Muslims we can’t attest to the inverse.  Yes we don’t need these political parties! The identity politics this method of implementing democracy is killing our very soul. Let’s get back to being one! It is in this oneness that our success now and in the Hereafter resides.

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