The Political Musings

Posted on June 6, 2010 in Specials

Saurabh Dewan:

I want to discuss some facts about Indian politics which really baffle me. I mean sometimes I just can’t help but laugh. Do we really need to change our political system? Or these points which are pretty much out of the outré make our political system so unique and amusing?!

Ok first of all, I am really confused about the so called coalition between the political parties. Some days back we all heard of a rift between Mamata Banarjee and Congress and now after the results of West Bengal Civic Polls everything’s supposedly fine between the two parties. Was the feud planned out? I mean circumstances completely change the political equations be it at the municipal or the national level. Some people might say that Hillary Clinton and Obama also decided to forget their bitter fight and reach upon a mutual agreement. If you go by my word, that’s still acceptable since it’s happening within a political party. Nothing can beat our political system when it comes to making up and breaking up! It happens only in India!

Political education is really a part of Indian life through cultural organisations, educational institutions, reform movements, caste and communal associations and, above all, the plurality of parties, their ideologies, and media. It’s absolutely true to say that today “politics is in our genes”. Political parties keep educating people or a better word would be ‘us’, about their ideologies and this happens not only when the election fever is on but even at other times. In India there will be an election every year at one or another place, state or local level, if not a by-election to the Parliament. Each general election is a near social revolution in its magnitude and sweep. The discussions and de-bates are not confined to local issues; they are analysed in public meetings, from a national and international perspective. People know that their collective future is determined by the political process and that they have a stake in it. This in a way translates to active participation by the masses in elections.

Mixing religion and caste with politics has also been one of the unique and to some extent a bad point about Indian politics. All this is done to protect a majority in the upcoming elections. Initially religious names were given to some parties to describe their origin but over a period of time, it has developed into an easy way to secure vote banks. This trend can pose a serious threat to the secular image of India. I really hope to see an ablation of this trend.
Let me conclude this article by discussing another important issue. Fifty-seven per cent voters exercised their franchise in the 2009 general elections (even lower for the metro cities). Higher levels of people’s participation have been a hallmark of Indian elections but sadly this trend has showed a decline. Even though the next general elections are not that near, but let’s pledge that we’ll always exercise our right to vote (even for the municipal polls!). All this reminds me of a very famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” or I would say, at least be a part of that change.