With money and muscle power Indian democracy is in shamble


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)

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