There is a good bit of difference between politics and politicking. The latter is only weaved around the idea of self-promotion. It is – most experts would agree – akin to "advertising" and "promotion" where gaining votes or personal advantages is considered over all other aspects. When taken to its extremes, politicking turns sinister.
However, dictionary definition of politics is simply misleading. Webster puts it neatly in a nutshell. It is "the art or science of government," says the first entry. The second entry veers a little away from the sanguine picture, it defines politics as, "the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy." The third entry define politics almost in terms of politicking, it says that politics is "the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government."
So, schemes to win vote and control the political system is part and parcel of modern democratic politics. It is not as innocuous a process as some people would have us believe. Nor is it an idealistic enterprise where stances and tactics are meant to let everyone be party to the game, let alone give the opposition a chance to have their own way.
Still, there remains a difference between politics and politicking. What we have so far witnessed in the entire length and breadth of the subcontinent and beyond in 2019 can no way be dubbed as politics.
In both politics and politicking people are involved at least at some levels, in some ways. When politics follow its normal course, it is by participating in choosing their representatives and also by voicing their choices. This is hoe the idea of democracy remains afloat.
Politicking, on the other hand, is a form of manipulation of the public opinion, but not an annulment of dissent. Politicking is about "manufacturing consent", to borrow a Chomskyan phrase.
Therefore democracy is not only about abstract values, it is also about norms through which to ensure the participation of the people as assenters or dissenters, and even, if some people choose to remain passive, as bystanders. Whereas, politicking involves finding a means, even unfair ones, to win public consent. The later, as Arundhati Roy has revealed in her book "My Seditious Heart", is enjoying a heyday in India in particular and creating "a dangerous new public discourse of aggressive majoritarian nationalism – officially sanctioned now, by the government itself."
This is politics at its simmering point, when opinions are mobilised to eclipse dissent. Therefore all such hegemonies aspire towards dominance.
When an authority seeks to efface all dissenters and allow people loyal to it feel as if they have the right to physically uproot all dissenters, the result is absolute dominance.
Thus the attack on DUCSU VP Nur and his followers seems to present a similar case. On the chessboard of politics and power the democratic norms are being replaced with the strategies of effacement of the opposition, any form of opposition that is. Because, Nur doesn't represent any traditional political platform. So the continued saga of assault on him and his supporters can be dubbed an assault on an emerging new politics of the third force, be that a stable or an ephemeral one.
A political chessboard minus a fair chance for the dissenters to raise questions and organise rallies is neither politicking nor politics.
Last year was hardly been the decade of the people and politics. Rather the opposite was true – the excesses of the governments across South Asia went so far, they overshadowed the idea of the people as primary actors in politics. They have simply been banished from their rightful place.
If we look at India and Myanmar, as nations they seemed to have entered a collusion to inaugurate a kind of apartheid that involved expulsion of their minority Muslim population.
Perhaps the worst form of pogrom involves disfranchisement of a people a government see either as a scapegoat or as a real threat to its political existence. In India's case, the Muslims represent both.
New Year's Eve did not augur well for all in Bangladesh. In fact, the year ended in police brutality while on the 15 of December, the month of victory, a faulty Razakar list was published, which the government decided to pull out three days later. If the police excess was a demonstration of the incumbent's unwillingness to accept dissent, the latter incident made many clueless since it ruffled-up the emotions of the countrymen surrounding the most sacred of all the issues – the liberation war.
This was not the only misstep that irked the countrymen. There were many others. But the people's voice seemed to have disappeared over the years in Bangladesh. So, one cannot take lightly the police action against even the most smallest of agitating political activists. Left parties, on the other hand, once been in alignment with the current government. They too have been brutally handled on the last day of the year.
In India, where the government came up with a phony citizenship list and a citizen act seeking to marginalise the Muslims, people finally burst into the scene, protesting against the draconian law and police brutality. And they did so out of desperation. When democratic norms are trashed by the governments, protest is the only tool through which to counter the hegemony, demolish the dominant power.