Politically speaking, the word “straight” bears too many implications to be ignored.
Believe it or not, drawing a straight line, even with the help of a geometrical scale, is not always an easy task. Fingers can tremble, the scale may shake, the pencil-point can break, the paper may crumble, something may be wrong with the table/pad on which the paper is placed and so forth. One can come out with endless explanations on why a particular line is not straight. And the same may be said regarding spherical, curved and similar lines, except about crooked lines. Yes, just as being straight faced, going straight, being straight and so forth is not an easy task, rather virtually impossible, drawing a straight line can well assumed to be an extremely difficult task for quite a few trying their hand at it.
At present, quite a few politicians of the preceding government are fairly visible except one. Yes and he is, former premier Dr Manmohan Singh. Of course, if he were still being targeted for his economic policies, the situation would have been totally different. At present, economic circumstances are such that even some of his once-harsh critics are forced to credit him (or just keep quiet) for his handling the situation well when in power. And they are trying their best to do this by remaining straight-faced. We remember him as having maintained an extremely quiet and also humble demeanour, whose face almost never ever displayed any strong, aggressive emotions, whether of sarcasm, tragic or even laughter. If at present, one put oneself for a second in his shoes, most likely the person is not going to cease laughing for quite a while. Well, it is not going to be an easy task probably even for the former premier to remain straight-faced in these circumstances. Perhaps he is trying and probably has chosen to remain off-stage lest even his beard and moustache fail to hide the small smile, he apparently cannot take off his face at present.
Politically speaking, the word “straight” bears too many implications to be ignored. Paradoxically, the present socio-political and also economic circumstances can boast of all kinds of “authorities” with few who can really be considered “straight,” that is, hardly crooked. Now, of course, deliberating on who is to be blamed for “straight talk” on so many issues and yet be viewed as still a long way from having reached the stage that has been claimed may be regarded as an endless exercise. This may lead to a futile debate without anybody able to get across his/her point straight. Straight-headed persons may also start deliberating on what is straight and what is not. As mentioned, just as drawing a straight line is not as simple as it seems, the same can be said talking “straight”, walking, looking, working, behaving and doing a lot more, projecting the notion of the activity being “straight”, when it isn’t so.
The issue is not the intention of whoever is trying to talk straight and get his/her points straight in the targeted direction. Complications are created when at times this business leads to looking straight ahead, looking through issues that need immediate attention. Herein is the catch. At times, looking straight can cause problems not just to the person doing so but also to those around him/her. Looking straight by making noise about certain plans and focusing on goals a distance away, without looking around, cannot always be viewed as a wise move. Some attention needs to be paid to whether the immediate factors can really make it easy to reach the goal projected as a grand accomplishment in the coming years. It is as good/bad as taking chance of crossing the road without paying attention to the traffic around, walking ahead paying little attention to it being a slippery path and so forth. Stumbling, slipping and/or falling by doing so may well be expected to create problems not for just the person looking just straight but also for all around him/her.
Not too long ago, such a crisis did take place at a much larger scale, with sudden implementation of the so-called demonetisation drive. And since then, it has not been easy for all to easily “take it all straight”, that is, instantly accept whatever is communicated to them by power-holders. Oh, it is easy to smile, shake hands and be accepted as really “straight”, when any kind of political communication is manipulated. But, recent political twists and turns in Jammu and Kashmir are just a mild indicator of what looking “straight” can spell for those who choose to shake hands, that is align, without giving appropriate importance to implications of such moves. After all, at times looking “straight” is equivalent to looking through immediate surroundings and also the possible aftermath. Setting straight complicated impact of such moves can hardly be viewed as a straight and easy task. And so it seems at present, of which inflation and other upheavals, including J&K’s political crisis are a few indicators. Irrespective of whether appropriate claims are made or not to set these problems “straight”, simple, common people are left with no option but to try remaining straight-faced and deliberate on what lies ahead. Nothing seems straight or fine and straight from the heart to most!
The writer is a senior journalist. She has come out with two books Ayodhya Without the Communal Stamp and Image and Substance: Modi’s First Year in Office