POLITICS is defined as the science of government; that part of ethics which has to do with the regulation and governance of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defence of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals. Sadly Indian politics stands for none of this. What began as an introduction to a new chapter in Indian history, a ray of hope to millions of Indians after decades of struggle against the imperialists; a ray of light at the end of the darkest period in Indian history; has now turned into a virtual monster eating into the lives of the very people who made it.
It was a different era when India fought for independence from British colonial rule. The giants of the freedom movement were those who were successful in their own professions or calling. What mattered then were education, integrity, talent and capacity to serve the nation. You first earned an honest living before people accepted you as a leader.
The scenario changed almost overnight as India became free. Before he could lay moral standards for an independent India, we killed Gandhiji. Jawaharlal Nehru soon found that politics in free India was becoming dependent on donations from large industrial houses. Perhaps he closed his eyes to the manner in which the Congress party’s financial managers collected money. Alarm bells were ringing even then. An early defence scam, the jeep scandal emerged as did the Mundhra affair.
But that era has passed. A new leadership emerged and with it came strange shady characters, which seemed to have a remarkable influence on matters of State and on the State’s leaders. Extra-constitutional power centres flourished. A “kitchen cabinet” was said to surround Indira Gandhi. Established political norms faded, and following the break-up of the Indian National Congress, the politics of big money moved in to prop up the new Congress.
Now, before I go any further let’s first understand the present political structure:
As like any other democracy, political parties represent different sections among the Indian society and regions, and their core values play a major role in the politics of India. Both the executive and legislative branch of the government is run by the representatives of the political parties who have been elected through the elections. Since India has a multiparty system there are a number of national and regional parties. Some regional parties are deeply aligned to the ideologies of the region unlike the national parties and thus the relationship between the central government and the state government in various states has not always been free of rancor. Disparity between the ideologies of the political parties ruling the centre and the state leads to severely skewed allocation of resources between the states.
And herein lies the main problem. The narrow focus and vote bank politics of most parties even in the central government, sidelines national issues such as economic welfare and national security. Moreover, internal security is also threatened as incidences of political parties instigating and leading violence between two opposing groups of people is a frequent occurrence.
In a country of over a billion people, some whose existence is not even accounted for, where more than 37% of the population lives below the poverty line; where more than 10000 children die of hunger and thirst everyday; where almost 65 farmers commit suicide each day due to inability to till their land and repay their debt ;where corruption is extremely rampant; where nearly a fourth of the Indian parliament members face criminal charges , “including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder” and where terrorism, naxalism , inflation are major problems there is an urgent need for an extremely strong and clean political structure where all parties work together in tandem; fractional fighting is stopped and all leaders with criminal cases against them removed.
I agree it may seem unfair that an 23 year old who has himself done nothing to improve the condition of his country sit in the cozy cocoon of her house and criticise the people who are claiming to do so but I also feel that the time has come when we can no longer leave our fate in somebody else’s hands. Surfing the news channels and reading the newspapers everyday has absolutely convinced me that if anybody can clean the political system and arouse our leaders from their deep slumber is us-the youth. We need to exercise our right to vote, implement and use tools like the RTI effectively, we need to be aware about what is happening around us, we need to raise our voices against what we feel and know is wrong and most importantly we need to start thinking of joining this system because if there is any way we can think of doing a cleaning up act it is only from the inside. I agree that the youth alone cannot uproot the decades old, system of dirty Indian politics but it is also true that we are the future and we do have the power to change things, if we so desire.
So let’s at least make an attempt in that direction by starting to speak our hearts and minds and hopefully one day we will be able to make the India of our dreams.