Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton prove
Race and Gender don’t matter in American democracy!
In India? Modi and Mayawati win: Religion and Caste still wins elections here!
In America the election of the President is clear from day one. Only one wins and he or she wins through a process of open election. The election process is very open there.
Here? There is much open process here too. But the winner as Chief Minister or Prime Minister remains unclear or kept unclear till the names are announced on the final day of ‘selection’! That is the big difference in India and in America.
There are so many aspirants for the Prime Minister’s post. As there are too many aspirants for the Bharat Ratna!
The trouble is that our politics has become tainted, with tainted ministers at the helm.
New viruses, as they are, have entered the body politics and all morals and legitimacy are thrown to the winds. Sycophancy, chicanery, cowardice, stooping too low, sheer aggrandizement for raw power and domination, power to accumulate unaccounted wealth and shameless stooping to salaam, to cling to power and enjoy perks.
Shamelessness in politics has reached alarming heights! I
The list of ills that have caught our politicians seem only growing. Men of stature have become pigmies. Women of substance have turn to the level of ayahs!
Cabinet Ministers refuse to submit their list of assets to the Prime Minister as required under the law! This is a plain proclamation of their current moral fall.
Honour or honour, everyone wants to grab a slice of power and flaunt it. None has any shame about legitimacy or morality.
Modi wins, Mayawati wins. DMK, ADMK win alternatively. In Karnataka, three way split. And there is any number of CM aspirants!
Indian politics is tainted by many viruses. Sycophancy, chicanery, cowardice, stooping to low levels of hero or heroine-worshipping have reduced even men of some caliber to zeros!
Today’s average politicians are supposed to be better educated. Than what they were a generation ago. But today’s average politician is supposed to be prone to more criminal politics. Is this the right perception? Yes, it looks like that. See the number of criminals in politics, the number caught and convicted. The Bihar government brought out a pamphlet listing its achievements. It reads like the number of crimes in politics, abductions for ansom etc and the decreased under Nitish Kumar regime! Likewise, in each state we can list such criminals in politics. And if you add the number involved in blatant political corruption, also the sort of misdemeanors engaged in by our MPs and MLAs, then you have to apply a stiff test about who is educated.
A degree or diploma, or formal schooling for a number of years is of course a mark of the educated. But the best way to distinguish an educated person is whether he or she is endowed with some educated values. Whether there is a mark of independent behaviour, he or she talks of some sense, articulates his or his views, then by this test the number of educated persons would suddenly plunge!
The point is that there is too much sycophancy, too much cowardice and too much selfishness that drive otherwise men and women of honorable disposition to surrender and maintain silence in the face of so much wrong-doing in our public life.
Mr.Narendra Modi wins elections for third time. But the enlightened public opinion thinks of Modi otherwise. Mayawati says she is a better leader than Sonia Gandhi. May be she is right. Or, boastful. It is difficult to judge. Then, if we take our women political leaders, Jayalalitha, Mamata Banerji and Uma Bharati are in a class in themselves. Of course, the ADMK leader is steeped in corruption cases. But she, along with her peers, is known for her temperamental tantrums. It is difficult in politics, if we have leaders like J and Mayawati who can’t account for their sudden acquisition of disproportionate wealth in public life.
Of course, our men brotheren in politics are no paragond of virtue either. Everyone caught or suspect to be corrupt we have to leave out from our educated list.
Leaving out these persons, then, we have to also leave out the very ruthless men and women, who change parties, alliances and any deal is worth, provided you make enough noise and indulge in mind-boggling publicity stunts and keep the public from even forming an unbiased opinion, then, I would call such characters Hitlerites! And even Stalinists!
These expressions are no more the monopoly of this or that party. Even in W.Bengal, there is a rift among the Left partners, the Forward block; RSP and the CPI are cut up with the CPI (M) which as the big brother has to cope up with the economic development issues!
So, I am leaving out from the Right and the Left a great many politicians who can’t be taken seriously as reliable and committed. The Communists might look like committed politicians but they are not. For they have taken the people backward, they tend to take the country too backward and also in a misconceived ideological direction. That is why they still seem to have some glamour for the not so sophisticated audience.
Anybody likes rhetoric and more so the political rhetoric goes down well with a tired and bored audience. Even the current middle class white collar workers or “officers” fall in this category. The Left and the Right thrive on this segment.
What I am worried is that even when the men and women who have enjoyed power in the past and who are also aspiring for power now, are the worst offenders.
There are many of these types aplenty in the Congress, in the BJP and also in the regional parties.
It is these over-ambitious types of politicians who are contributing to the current fall in political standards.
Take for instance, Karnataka. There are over 11 senior Congress leaders who are aspiring to become the Chief Ministers! There are not enough workers to bring the party to power! So too in the BJP and also in the JD(S) and also the split JD(S) under the leadership pf Mr.P.Prakash!
Even in other parties there are these opportunists and time servers who are contributing to make politics a field of intrigue and confusion.
The choice for voters is made difficult as to which party top vote and which candidate to vote for.
As one noted political analyst(Ramesh Thakur),a professor of political science and one who had worked in the UN for long, that the American democratic primaries, as they are on now, are a testimony to the vibrancy of the American democratic system as it is nowhere else including in India.
He says:” I am a profound admirer of America but this time I am dismayed by the fall of the moral authority if US reputation all over the world. Ironically India is one of the major exceptions alongside Israel”, he says. Why? India is able to cultivate George Bush? I am not sure.
What is unique about the American democratic system and this is not so in the case of India is that in the US the truly genuine candidates win the primaries and then go on to face the final outcome and then comes the real winner. It is the visions and competencies of the candidates that bring victory finally. But in the UK and even in India, there is the flawed democracy. You win the elections with a manifesto and a leader, Tony Blair won and yet he had to go because the party decided and Gordon Brown takes over and he is not yet endorsed by the voters. In India, the Congress party won and yet finally it is Manmohan Singh who was “rewarded” the prize. The actual ones who slogged never lay claims to the prize. This also happened in the selection of the candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. This leaves a bitter taste and to that extent there is the question of legitimacy and moral authority.
America is the more open democracy, says this political analyst. India is of course an open society but a closed party system; all parties are closed systems, only the families and the coterie indulge in trigues and the outcome, often totally unsatisfactory.
So, we in India need at least some basic standards where the educated and the more selfless and the upright, the seniors who don’t expect any rewards and offices must learn to stand up and speak for certain minimum values and visions and competencies.
We can put up with inefficiencies, as of now, but we can’t tolerate for lack of legitimate political authority in those who choose, rather shamelessly, to come forward to occupy gladly the seats of highest offices under our Constitution.
The subject needs more wide-ranging debate.