Playing politics on identity has been the easiest tool for politicians to climb their political ladder. Identity politics makes individuals seem primarily as members of a larger group, it puts ‘us’ in groups of us and ‘them’ in groups of them, thereby, making an individual’s identity inconsequential. Fear mongering is another tool to instil energies in people by making them believe their identity is under threat.
These two tools are what seem to be playing at the forefront in the demand to reverse the ban on Jallikattu. Political parties are being opportunistic in wooing the Tamil populace, and the protestors are being the soldiers of the north-south rift which started to appear right from the beginning of the anti-Hindi agitations.
Tamilians are showing a kind of an energy like never seen before, with thousands coming out at Marina beach to demand the upliftment of the ban imposed on Jallikattu. The event has been magnified beyond imagination, and all this just for a rural sport? We never witnessed such huge agitations when the unfortunate mass molestation happened in Bangalore; we never witnessed such protests when farmers had to bear the brunt of the Cauvery water dispute. Identity politics makes these real issues seem unimportant before these fancy issues.
A large number of youths are taking part in this agitation, and it needs to be appreciated that youths are taking active participations in a non-violent way, upholding the essence of a democratic nation. But here the concern arises that a lot of youth energy is being wasted. The energy of the young is a powerful asset which needs to be channelized in a proper direction.