Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dyanstic politics and Democracy do not gel

On this day 135years ago a true patriot was born. His contributions during the freedom struggle are too well known. It is his service to Independent India which is of far greater importance, the physical contour of India that we hold as our country is largely due to his efforts and bold initiatives. We are dumbfounded and watch in complete bewilderment as a scam a day unfolds before us. Is this our way of taking forward the legacy of our freedom fighter and patriots? Today we pay tribute to the greatest son of India Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel. 31st Oct 1875. Often referred to as the Iron Man of India!

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar the man who gave us our Constitution. The most vibrant, and dynamic document, for conducting our statecraft! All discourses on India would be incomplete without mentioning Dr.Ambedkars contribution. Yet the current situation begs a question has the constitution failed us or have we failed the constitution?

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru the first Prime Minister of India. Who had consciously decided and had taken a vow that in the case of any school, project, or programme started in memory of his father (Motilal Nehru) or his wife, he would not participate in its inauguration. This is noted by Mr. Ramchandra Guha in his article “That family feeling” “That family feeling”. How would he view all the programmes, institutions, streets, Airport and even bridges in this country are being named after his family?

Mrs. Indira Gandhi we remember today on her death anniversary assassinated on this day 31st Oct 1984. She is also referred to as the Iron Lady of that era. Enigmatic for many of us if there were her strengths to admire, equally were her acts which leave us wondering if it was the same person.

This back ground is necessary for all the readers to enable them reach their own conclusion on the topic that is going to be dealt with in this blog. That is the young politicians, ethics and their contribution to the nation and its people.“Young, but definitely not restless” “Young, but definitely not restless” . Democracy and it functioning in our country has been variously described by us for some it is dysfunctional, for others it is imperfect and yet some refer to it as a sham.

This would also highlight how far we have traversed, the extent to which we have digressed from our original path. Why is there so much of cynicism? Have we reduced our democracy to by the masses, of a few, for the privileged! Instead of the original concept! By the people, of the people and for the people!
In her article dated 29th Oct 2010 .“Young, but definitely not restless” Namita Bhandare, begins by saying” Of all the seductions of youth, perhaps the most enticing is its potential for change. We associate youth with transformation and an ability to shake the status quo.” Nothing could be further from truth than this assumption in context of the younger lot in politics.

Today we find a in our politics a system for prevalence of dynastic preponderance, rather than of mass participation of the ordinary Indians. Some of the names mentioned by the author of the article Omar Abdullah  Varun Gandhi, Aditya Thackeray,Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Agatha Sangma, Tejaswi, Milind Deora, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, Priya Dutt, Akhilesh Yadav, Naveen Jindal. Though there are notable omissions as well and that is rather surprising Mr. Scindhia and of course the scion of the Gandhi family Mr. Rahul Gandhi, now was this deliberate or is it accidental, since the newspaper and TV channels never fail to remind us of even the most trivial detail as an earth shattering event should the young Mr.Gandhi indulge in. The other day he undertook a train journey from Gorakhpur to Mumbai and it was a new item in all the national dailies.  “Rahul rides aam aadmi train” “Rahul rides aam aadmi train” . or another example  “Biharis shining, not Bihar, says Rahul”  “Biharis shining, not Bihar, says Rahul” . Now lets get down to each young individual mentioned above and the their lineage.

Omar Abdullah of National Conference party is the son of Farookh Abdullah grand son of Sheikh Abdullah a very prominent lineage and legacy, then why has he failed to administer effectively the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is their a serious mismatch between ability and expectations or we have ignored the fact that experience is also an important aspect lack of which could have very serious repercussions for the area entrusted. Yes this is a sign of dynastic rule. 
Varun Gandhi, gained notoriety overnight by his hate speech during the last general elections. Son of Sanjay Gandhi grand son of Indira Gandhi Bhartiya Janta Party not assured that he would reach the office of Prime Minister in near future even if his party was to form the Government at the center.
Aditya Thackeray the latest entrant to politics son of Udhhav Thackeray grandson of Bala Saheb Thackarey. Would in all probability head the party Shiv Sena at some point of time or the other as and when his father decides.
Agatha Sangma daughter of P.A Sangma. Tejaswi son of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav  son of Mulatyam Singh Yadav and Kanimozhi Karunanidhi daughter of M.Karunanidhi of DMK may play a part in their parties are not serious contenders for any high office at the center since the parties they represent are regional and not national.

Jitin Prasada, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Priya Dutt Naveen Jindal,Joytiraditya Scindhia and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. The last 7 names belong to Congress party and none other than Rahul Gandhi has been spoken as Prime Ministerial material not just by ordinary party members but also by Dr. Manmohan Singh.
The public at large has no clue what so ever as to their education qualification, institutions that they studied in, did any of them participate in the college and university level politics. What is the level of their engagement with the constituencies that they represent? How many years have they spent in the service of the nation and how well do they understand the requirements of the people of this country. How many years have they put in with the party before being given tickets to contest elections? These are some of the questions that need answers and we are not getting them.

There have been no statements made by any one of them on any of the burning issues, we have not seen them participate in any debate in the parliament. What is their vision? We are unaware, how will they implement incase they do have a vision for the country? Most of them are in the parliament because of lineage and not because of any other merit. If their mentors are their father or mother then the politics that they have learnt is nothing new but a case of ‘Old wines in new bottles’.
The role of media in all this is rather curious, they first create a halo around these individuals, convert it into a myth, believe it to be gospel and then sell that to us. This instead of informing the public at large about the merits of each of the above named individuals. The focus is on promoting them, this is not going to help the nation, consequences of inexperienced young men and women in position of authority could lead to real and long term damage.

The only thing common among all these young politicians is that they have been parachuted into the political arena due to their lineage and nothing more. They could help themselves in dispelling this perception by interacting and informing the people of this country about themselves, their ideas and vision that they have for their country. Until that happens they would not be able to win the respect of large section of the population. They may win election since they are contesting from well protected fiefdoms nurtured by their parents.
Media must introspect and perform a role that is befitting and not that of public Relations Company trying to promote a product. The more they report on inane items as event of some consequence just because Rahul Gandhi is involved, greater is the resistance from the people and this is borne out by the fact that the negative comment on the newspaper sites far exceed positive comments. Censorship by deleting unpalatable comments is also not going to help their cause. Since it is the same media which is reporting on these events claiming the fundamental right of Freedom of Speech and Expression, denying the very right to its readers.

Fortunately in all this there is the BJP and the Left parties who do not practice dynastic politics. Though media does pick up, selective cases of father and son or daughter from these parties to make its point that all are the same. That is not true because none from these parties are automatically selected as party Presidents or are projected as Prime Ministerial contenders. Which in the case of Congress party is a forgone conclusion, should there be a Gandhi available then there is no other option for the top jobs of the party or the Nation.

In conclusion we are a democracy, let us stay the course and strengthen it let us not deviate and practice Monarchy in the garb of dynastic politics. We owe this to our long gone patriots and all those unknown Indians who willingly sacrificed for this country, during the freedom struggle. 

Latest update on 07th Sept 2013
 As expected, the Indian National Congress, which is the single largest party, has the largest number of MPs—78 out of 208—with a politician as a family member. Surprisingly, the number of “family politicians” from the second largest party the Bharatiya Janata Party is comparatively low (about 20%).   {LINK}