Today’s political culture of hate, divisiveness, money and muscle power will lead our country to doom sooner than later, writes former IAS officer V.S.Pandey
From time immemorial, wisest voices of civilisation and its most enlightened sages had emphasised the salutary truth that mutual respect and tolerance of differences is the key to peaceful coexistence and ensures prosperity of mankind. Every religion, in its essence,- teaches compassion and selfless living ,purged of all forms of avarice . In our case, whether it is Non dualistic or Dualistic, Buddhism or Jainism, Sankhya or Nyaya philosophy , or Abrahamic religions like Islam and Christianity , all teach selfless service to society and complete apathy towards worldly possessions and pursuits. Our native wisdom also always propagated Service before Self and on treating all living creatures and nature with empathy. Universal brotherhood has been the corner stone of our civilisation and must define us even more today.
This planet has seen innumerable rulers reigning ad infinitum but their longevity on the throne alone could never ensure a revered place in history. Only those are remembered who served people with sincerity, compassion, respect and integrity. Those rulers who were just and treated people so are remembered with respect and will never be forgotten. Although kings and their kingdoms belong to a bygone eras , currently in democracies too, sometimes those occupying positions of power start behaving as omnipotent Kings – totally forgetting that they are only servants of the people and have been elected to promote their welfare unstintingly. Nowadays, most of the elected executives-irrespective of their political ideology, behave exactly like kings and treat people like dirt . They have mastered the art of winning elections by applying all the dirty tricks available in cunning human ingenuity. Since money has started playing a major role in electoral politics , votes have been converted into a tradable commodity. For the past nearly five decades or so , netas no longer bother about people in their constituency but remain singularly and obsessively focused on accumulating crores -through brazen looting. All the rest is all purchasable. The so called leaders of various political outfits, some religious and caste leaders are all freely available in the market place to be purchased or traded with cash, party tickets, ministerial berths -as was witnessed during the recent Uttar Pradesh and other state elections. All the defections take place just before ticket distribution on the eve of elections. The “Atma “ of these god fearing netas awakens and in the name of the call of conscience , they ditch the tainted party where they had enjoyed the loot of public money and join the bandwagon of another party, equally corrupt if not more. The rottenness in our country’s political theatre is so humungous that the people have resigned themselves to it believing that politics will be the refuge of scoundrels/freebooters only. It is horrifying to think of the future prospects of our great civilisation if this is allowed to continue.
Almost all countries have gone through this kind of political nadir ,but ,with grit and sustained efforts, they could clear the mess and move on. If problems are there so are solutions .This is the lesson learned since the inception of human civilisation. We are fortunate to have a democracy where people have the power of the vote to change those whom they do not like. A revolution takes place every five years at the national stage and in the states. A sincere radical effort at cleansing the political system needs to be undertaken by the people.
Unfortunately, for decades, no sincere effort by any government at the centre or state was made to educate the people- which is the corner stone of any successful democracy. People have to be made aware and realise that they are the masters and the politicians are only there to serve them and then only should they draw their substantial salaries and perks from public coffers. People also need to realise what is in their best interest and which netas have the calibre, integrity, understanding and vision to carry on the onerous task of nation building. The people need to be made literate and conscious of the value of their vote which they are at present selling for a few freebies and currency notes.
Neither blaming the political class inside close doors of elite drawing rooms , nor chai/whisky par charcha nor armchair debates will help to
change the situation. A concerted selfless effort to change the basic paradigm of current day politics is the answer . Today’s political culture of hate , divisiveness , money and muscle power will lead our country to doom sooner than later.
Clean principled politics is the solution. Sincere and honest efforts to approach voters with a clear agenda of governance and explaining to them about the present culture of deceit and falsehood . This has been perpetuated by these corrupt lot of politicians only to grab power. A simple question that needs to be asked is-how have all these wily leaders ,who come from very humble backgrounds, become today’s billionaires? They have no answer. All the ill gotten wealth they possess is the out come of their unethical practices and the consequence of looting of public funds . The Law of the land must prevail and they should serve jail terms. Instead, these amoral freebooters are proclaimed as our sole alternative. Sadly, they are still the ones determining the fate of a hundred and thirty billion Indians who are wretchedly struggling for everything that law had guaranteed. Hobbes had stated that the life of man in a state of nature is solitary ,poor, nasty ,brutish and short .This nasty miserable life of the teeming billions must be changed permanently in our huge democracy by promoting ethical politics.
(Vijay Shankar Pandey is former Secretary Government of India)