Hi, guys! this is my entry for an essay writing competition, so its not a blog in the true sense..but still,I hope my friends who are interested in politics shall enjoy this...
FUTURE OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY UNDER CONTROL OF FAMILIES
One of the most remarkable features of the great Indian democratic scenario of today is the dominance of political dynasties in the political arena. This is a characteristic which unlike many other features of the Indian democracy can be seen at all levels of the political system. Right from the local self government to the national level, political dynasties are everywhere, enjoying the fruits of power and prestige. This is one feature of our democratic system that has transcended all boundaries of time and space. Be it Assam or Jammu and Kashmir or Tamil Nadu or Rajasthan, political families are at the centre stage everywhere. If we zoom out a little we shall find that this trend is as widespread in the world as it is in India. The United States (the Bush family), Poland( the Zamyosky family) and Srilanka (The Rajpakshe family), Bangladesh(the sheikh Mujibur Rehman family, Pakistan(the Bhutto family), Indonesia(the Sukarno family) etc in Asia have all got their share of political families. Before beginning a critical analysis of this phenomenon and its effect on the future of our democratic system it is worthwhile to ponder a little over this question: What is that provides this phenomenon such universality? First of all, Like medicine is generally a preferred choice of profession for a doctor’s son , politics is not an unusual choice of career for a politician’ son. Secondly, with a relative playing the role of a mentor, guide, protector and a Guru, chances of one’s succeeding in the political arena are increased manifold. Thirdly, many of the new members of the family become successful riding on the goodwill, prestige or wave of sympathy towards a senior member of the family. Lastly and most commonly, the immense power and influence the politicians enjoy is often misused to ward off any other genuine contender.
When a common man votes for a candidate, he expects that the candidate has a genuine interest in the development of his/her region and welfare of the society. If a candidate fulfils this criteria than it’s immaterial whether he belongs to a family with political background or not. A political background may in fact be an added advantage because the candidate has a readily available and reliable source of guidance and help. Also being brought up in a politically active atmosphere, he is expected to understand the do’s and don’ts of politics better and hence is expected to falter less. And, Keeping in mind that political families are/have been at the centre stage of politics in almost every democratic nation, this does not seem to be something to really worry about. But, looking closely at the Indian scenario it turns out that this phenomenon in reality has been undermining the basic philosophy on which our constitution was framed!!!
The founding fathers of our nation chose democracy as a tool to empower the lowest of the lowest strata of the society. This was also supposed to be the tool to ensure that fruits of development are shared equally by all sections of the society and by all regions of the nation. The emergence and continuance of political dynasties in India has effectively ensured that the power remains concentrated in the hands of a privileged few. Even after sixty years of independence, three fourth of India continues to live in villages that are deprived of even most basic of civic amenities. This is probably due to the fact that for about four decades India was ruled by foreign educated aristocrats. How can a person who has never travelled in the general compartment of the Indian railways expected to do something about improving the conditions of the Indian railways?
This tendency has deprived the Indian democracy of many deserving and capable leaders who perhaps did not have any political link. This has virtually made the emergence of grass root level leaders impossible. It is often the case that a relative of a political leader is chosen as the party candidate over a sincere, hardworking candidate. With all the important posts reserved for the kith and kin of politicians, a common party worker is left baffled with a feeling of dismay. They are the people who work night and day to consolidate the party’s foundation and in the end they end up being frustrated. The desire of quick personal gains by some political activists gets manifested into pleasing the party supremos, often leaves the honest and earnest ones hopeless. This tendency has even brought unwilling kin of leaders (as was the case with Mr. Rajeev Gandhi) on the political centre stage. The continuance of political dynasties (with many of them belonging to erstwhile royal families) is often supposed to indicate that Indian society has not yet become free of feudal mind set. Rather, it points at the misuse of money and muscle power by such political families. There is no denying the fact that both muscle and money power plays a crucial role in Indian elections. This has had such a deep impact on the Indian political system that today a common man cannot even think of getting into the political arena. This is evident from the scarcity of professionals and highly educated persons active in politics.
With the sole purpose of retaining power within the family, the principles and ethos of the party are often compromised with. The democratic practises within the political party which are soul of democracy are replaced with whims and fancies of the family patriarch. With the party itself being governed in authoritarian ways, how can it be expected to uphold the democratic credentials of the Indian political system? The family ideology soon becomes the party ideology. There is virtually no scope left for the opposite view point even if it is held by a majority of the party members. This stunts the growth of a party’s philosophy and system of beliefs. Such political parties continue to hum the same old political song, even if it is an erred one.
The influence of a person’s/family’s charisma is limited; that’s why such political parties tend to be regional in nature (Indian National Congress can be considered as a big exception).This has perhaps hampered the blossoming of these political parties into national level political parties. The future of Indian democracy seems to be full of such small, regional, pseudo-democratic parties, if this trend is not checked. This has also led to the practise of over glorification of the political contributions of the senior family members by their successors. This is often alleged that the Nehru-Gandhi family is being projected as the sole champion of the Indian national freedom struggle. The more visible effects of political families on the life of general public are epitomised by the riots in Mysore over the succession row of DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kashagam) supremo Karunanidi. The clashes between Shivsaina and Maharashtra Navnirmaan Sena are also a case in point.
The above discussion makes it crystal clear that the future of Indian democracy under the control of political dynasties is gloomy. This menace is comparable to that of termites eating into the roots of a huge tree (symbolizing true democracy) and rendering it unable to take in nutrients (symbolizing fresh political thoughts).This results in a government that may be for the people, by the people but definitely is not of the people. The aim of democracy is to empower the masses by giving them a say in the government and not empowerment of a selected few sections of the society. Concentration of power in few strata of the society is the root cause of problems like naxalism.
As with the other problems faced by democracy, the solution again lies with the people!!! Einstein’s son was not Einstein, so it is our responsibility to judge a candidate by his calibre rather than by the goodwill of his/her senior family members. The voters only can make sure that the candidate does not win simply riding on a sympathy wave but rather on the basis of his character, calibre and desire to serve the society. Measures to ensure strict implementation of the model code of conduct during elections and to check the misuse of money and muscle power by unscrupulous politicians will go a long a way in curbing this phenomenon. It also becomes an ethical duty of our present leaders to ensure that their kin also have a genuine interest in the welfare of the society if they intend to join politics. The citizens should understand that a person who has suffered the same problems as they face is more likely to lend a sensitive ear to their problems. Nothing else, but a greater level of political consciousness among the people can check this tradition.
I would like to end this essay by making a sincere appeal to my fellow countrymen to exercise their right of franchise judiciously and thus help in reaping the benefits of a truly democratic system.