These words are enough to bring forth a whole gamut of adjectives, none of which are particularly flattering. To be fair, politics and politicians all around the world have a certain aura of grubbiness attached to them. Yet in India, this image of intense greed and abuse of power seems to have been enhanced and in actual fact may not be far away from the truth. It cannot be denied that there have been a few entities that have done positive work for their society. Names like S. Radhakrishnan and Jyoti Basu come to mind. However, a major chunk of the people who govern our country absolutely ignore their duties to the populace once they have been elected.
The irony in the whole situation is that we call ourselves the largest democracy in the world. It is we who have elected these individuals to lead the country and run it for us. So if they turn out to be unworthy of the position they occupy, shouldn’t it be we who are to blame? This brings me to the point of a lack of education in the people in the country as far as politician’s propaganda and workings are concerned.
In India, politicians are not chosen because of their character and their views on important issues. Rather, it’s a case of politicians winning on the basis of, “That last guy was a complete disaster. Choose me and I will make it all better.” An ideal example of this situation is the Tamil Nadu State Government. It is an alternating tussle between Dr. Jayalalitha’s AIADMK and Dr. Karunanidhi’s DMK. Every term, the two leaders swap the state ‘gaddi’ because the public has become disillusioned with the ruling Government. But the same leaders keep getting elected every other term. This has been happening for the past 20 years and it would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragically frustrating.
And then there is the fact that India is home to the maximum number of political parties in the world. Even Mumbai’s Central Railway Employees Union has their own political party. The sheer ethnic and cultural variety of India has been the major driving force on political parties being set up to champion the cause of these numerous subsets. In such a situation, clashes and tugs-of-war are bound to occur as can be seen in the current UPA Government. When the Left was still a part of the Government, almost every issue and decision would come to a standstill due to the differences in opinion. The Left was unwilling to budge from their strand, but they would neither provide a feasible alternative solution. To say that the type of progress that was expected to occur in terms of laws did not is a gross understatement.
Another anomaly that seems to plague India’s political scene is that of dynastic politics. Leaving the rather obvious example of the Gandhi family aside, if we look at the young politicians that are in power, most of them come from a political background. From Sachin Pilot to Jyotiraditya Scindia; from Omar Abdullah to Milind Deora; the Gen Y of politics hardly has any prominent ‘common youth’ as a representative.
We, of course, have all the power in our hands to make a change in our stagnating political set-up. As the educated and broad minded youth of India, it is our responsibility to make sure that the governing and future of this country is done in a stricter fashion. In the short term, there are many ways in which we can help out. For starters, we can make sure that the citizens study the propagandas of the contestants of their constituencies and vote for the ones which suit their needs and ideas best. Then we can educate the populace about how to make sure that these needs our met. In a fit of madness, the Government passed an Act that has given a very powerful weapon to the common man- the Right to Information of the RTI Act. Educating the masses on the way in which this Act can be used to garner information about the workings of the Government and Municipalities is another area that needs to be concentrated upon.
In the end, it all comes down to how ‘we’ can take this country further. As the future of India, it is our responsibility to look at the big picture and not the one divided sector wise. We have to work towards establishing a progressive Government which ensures a change in the country’s archaic rules and regulations. The change must begin with us.