By Pooja Malhotra:
The political season has arrived and political parties in our country are gearing up to adorn the ‘janta ka neta’ cap again. Soon party manifestos aimed at impressing the aam adami will be announced and election campaigns will begin, when party candidates (with a ‘clean’ public image) will finally pay a visit to their respective constituencies.
Some of us define politics as ‘active engagement with government and the policy making process of the country’. Others call it ‘the ability to influence the decision of a group or organization’ with words like ‘tactful’, ‘shrewd’ or ‘manipulative’ thrown in for good measure! As silent spectators, we try to decipher the relevance of all the various platforms and so-called ‘promises’ of our netas in our lives, but how many of us have ever considered ourselves to be “politicians”?
Unless most of us have been living in seclusion during our lifetime, we have consciously or unconsciously been actively involved in politics in our everyday lives. In my opinion, we are all politicians actively playing our ‘little mind games’ at our work place, with our friends and even within the confines of our own homes.
Here are some reasons that validate my opinion that ‘I am a Politician’:
1. If I’ve ever managed my relationships (at home/workplace/college) well by speaking or behaving in a manner that helps to strengthen the bond and create a better understanding or win-win dynamics, I am a politician.
2. If my sister has been denied permission to go for a vacation/ a late night party with friends, while I’ve been allowed to do the same and I choose to voice my concern & try to convince my parents to allow her as well, I am a politician.
3. If I’ve been instrumental in defusing tension or resolving conflicts that inevitably emerge in a group of people, coming from different backgrounds, different temperaments and agenda, I am a politician.
4. If I’ve underplayed my friend’s academic achievements/career developments in front of my parents and tried to save my skin, I am a politician.
5. If I work towards motivating and inspiring my colleagues with the intention of enhancing everyone’s productivity & creativity, I am a politician.
6. If I work ethically to enhance my reputation or that of my team/company/family by balancing co-operation and competition, I am a politician.
7. If my colleague is instigating my boss against me by highlighting my weaker traits and I get involved to protect my turf, I am a politician.
8. If a friend seeks my advice/opinion on a matter, and I choose to be “tactful” & not tell him/her the “real truth” because I do not wish to offend them, I am a politician.
9. If a friend asks for help and claims to be in ‘genuine trouble’, but I ‘manipulate’ the situation and give ‘genuine reasons’ for not being able to help him/ her, I am a politician.
10. If I’ve been involved in youth activities or a noble cause and tried to convince other people to support my efforts, I am a politician.
During the next few months, the media will be filled with political points made by the various candidates and the political environment of our country will be all charged up. One might consider, viewing ‘our netas’ only as “fellow politicians” who are merely announced candidates of political parties… viewing ourselves as “politicians”, whether or not we consider ourselves to be “one of them”.
And now that I can admit and acknowledge that I am a politician, I wonder why I can’t consider being more actively involved in the electoral process, to be an active ‘politician’ and help create a win-win dynamics in our country?
As Letty Cottin, rightly puts it in Family and Politics, “If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles”. Well, I pledge to paddle!