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It”s Not Politics That Is Dirty, Its The Corruption: Here”s Why We Need Political Education In Primary Schools

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By Neha Raman:

A very common notion heard anywhere and everywhere in India when one talks about getting involved in politics is that “politics is dirty”. We all must have come across teenagers or our fellow students who do not read or rather do not like reading political news and when asked, they would also use the same phrase. Ever wonder why this is so and where this notion arrived from?

On deeper study of the matter I came across a word called “political socialization”. As heavy as it may sound to be, the meaning of it is rather very simple. In a layman’s language it means nothing but the process of acquiring the knowledge of our polity. If we look deeper into this notion we will realize that it did not just come into our minds from nowhere. Now the reason we have a notion as robust as “politics is dirty” is just that our means and sources of political socialization or the knowledge of politics is our environment, which in particular is the mindset of our parents, the society, our peers, the social media and importantly our education system. Of course, no education system in India promotes this notion; it is generally from the other sources. But it is also true that no education system in our country promotes active participation of its citizens too.

education

Of course we all know what role education and literacy plays in every person’s life but we fail to understand its role in our nation. Being actively involved in politics doesn’t mean one has to forego his work for subsistence.

It is hence very essential to have an education system wherein from childhood itself we impart valuable knowledge about politics along with the feeling of national pride and patriotism. The reason some states have very low voter turnout is because the citizens do not know the value of their participation and the reason why the knowledge of our polity from primary schools is essential is that till the age of 8-9 years whatever the child learns is retained in his mind forever, like 2 ones are 2!

Now it may seem that this is getting very idealistic. But it isn’t really so. It is undeniable that there have been many educational reforms in our country to impart better quality education in a practically applicable manner but the knowledge of the working of Indian polity, Indian legislature, the judiciary, and our political framework etc. are only restricted to textbook knowledge starting from grade 8 onwards and meant only to enable the children to pass their political science or social science examination. Isn’t it so?

A better way to enlighten children about politics is organizing model parliaments for them, or even moot courts etc., just like the concept of Model United Nations that happen all across India nowadays with a mind-boggling participation of youngsters in it. MUNs have enabled better understanding of the working of the UN, something that could not be taught to us by our social science textbooks. And not only in private schools, but government and government aided schools must also take up such activities for the children. However, it is also agreeable that such a reform may be very challenging for the government. But the result will surely benefit the nation.

India presently has 49% women votes in total and I wish if only it could be 51% women votes instead! And it is possible with a little change of mindset. And a first step towards that change could be “It’s Not the Politics That Is Dirty; It Is the Corruption which is”.

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  1. Raj

    Your article does bring up an important point about educating people about the political system, but I didn’t get your last paragraph. What do you mean you want change 49% women votes to 51% ? In what sense? I personally am against any population engineering methods by the Govt. or by any agency.
    Beyond that I doubt that educating people about the political system will make it any cleaner. The filth is systemic and until we loosen the grip that bureaucracy has on our country, we will always be impeded. Our IAS, IPS officers are among the most educated people in the country, who clear very difficult exams and interviews. Yet they are largely corrupt and inefficient.In fact we applaud the few that aren’t. A local uneducated tea stall owner does a far better job managing his little tea stall than those bureaucrats when it comes to managing their departments.

    1. Krishna Prasanth

      Raj, while i agree with you that bureaucrats are corrupt,I believe you are speaking out of context when you express your apprehensions regarding education’s impact on the probity of people in the political system as the article isn’t really about education’s impact on the quality of politicians as much as it is about the impact of education on people’s engagement with the political system.

    2. Raj

      I don’t think that would happen either. In the Soviet Union you had rampant corruption despite the fact that USSR near-universal literacy and a majority urbanized population. Despite being so well-educated in the principles of Communism (which were drilled into young kids), despite everyone being associated with the Govt. iin one way or the other (remember there were no private companies or institutes, all Govt. organizations only), still things were far from perfect.
      It has more to do with incentives and freedoms rather than education.

    3. Sarnat123

      Iam very well disappointed with your comment that most well educated IAS, IPS officers are largely corrupt and inefficient. Yes, they are corrupt but not like politicians like MLAs, M.P etc. Even if they want to reform or administer efficiently, they will get transferred to some location where his ideas can’t be implemented. And finally they will get to lose their hope in reforming activities and intrigued in corruption, misusing power etc. Iam not saying that they are right, but the politicians influencing them a lot. So only thing that we need is to change the government or make the India’s most educated persons like IAS, IPS officers in top most position in government. So that they wouldn’t be influenced by corrupt politicians and they can work freely.

  2. Krishna Prasanth

    If people were actually to perceive the political system in better light, they actually need to able to see the benefits of their engagement with the system to be materializing into benefits. On a second level, this engagement can only come through practice and not just preaching. Why should any pragmatic person vote once or twice in 5 years, votes that don’t actually get them any benefits. This issue of low voter turnout isn’t really about poor education and even if it were, education can’t just offset social and familial influence on people’s thoughts which are again determined by experience. This problem of low political engagement and participation exists because of our administrative structure which is top heavy or centralized, and hence gives very less scope for political engagement for people at the local level. By virtue of this minimal engagement, people don’t regularly engage with politics and policy as it just is not in their hands, and hence fail to see the benefits of any political engagement and participation whatsoever and loose faith in the ideas of democracy. It makes this participation an activity of the rich, who obviously perceive politics and use it for investment and returns in terms of power and money which is where politics looses it’s essence. The solution is a decentralized administrative structure, not education.

    1. Raj

      I believe that people should not be made to vote directly or indirectly(through Govt.) on each and every issues. There is no need to give the Govt. powers to legislate things. People should be free to voluntarily associate and work with each other and achieve their objectives.

    2. Krishna Prasanth

      Did you just support a stateless society? That is never gonna happen. Lets be realistic. The presence of a government in a globalized world is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, it would result in anarchy!!

    3. Raj

      No, the proper function of the Govt. should be to have a monopoly of force i.e. only the Govt. through its bodies (the military, police, courts of law etc.) should impose the rule of law, enforce voluntarily entered contracts and protect its citizens from the use of force, threats and coercion by other parties .
      The Govt. should concentrate on this primarily. Things like running an airline or a steel plant or even schools and colleges are largely unnecessary for the Govt. to do since the Pvt. sector(and private individuals) takes care of these things easily. But the thing that Pvt. sector must never be allowed to do is to use force or the threat of force. That privilege must belong to just the Govt. Every Govt. whether USA or China is based roughly on this principle.

  3. sg02

    we are demanding a party like Lok Satta Party.. and constantly bickering about Modi vs India’s Royal Family..
    so many people in the north are not aware about Lok Satta Party.. try finding out about it.. it is really what we need..
    its main motto is: the answer to bad politics is good poiltics, not no politics! the party chief is an ex-IAS officer and the party is a non-corrupt, transparent and efficient one of its kind party! i am thrilled to come across it.. will show my support!

    1. Raj

      Good intentions don’t mean good results. Do you really think the millions of Govt. employees will suddenly change overnight just like that?

    2. sg02

      nothing happens overnight. that’s why we are debating from one year before elections. we have to be consistent. not like anna hazare movement… just give up and fizzle out. Gandhi didn’t get the whole of India to follow him overnight. the Indian independence wasn’t won overnight. similarly war against 66yr old corruption will need consistency.

    3. Raj

      Can the war against 66yr old corruption be won (not necessarily overnight) by adopting the same methods that allow them to be corrupt? Don’t you think the corruption is becuase of the system rather than the people?

    4. sg02

      i strongly believe corruption is because of greed in people when they hold certain power and they decide to exploit it.
      they hinder the smooth running of the system.
      i have a national thermal power plant and a thermal power plant run by the U.P state govt.. and believe you me, its people who are blotted, not the system.

    5. Raj

      What is greed? Is there anyone who is not greedy? Don’t we all desire a better life for ourselves and the ones we care? And even so which system is best suited to check people’s greed? A socialist system with it’s use of force to gain resources or the free-market capitalist system which emphasizes voluntary co-operation ?

      Let us assume there is a greedy person who has his own private company. Whom will he cheat? Who’s money will he embezzle? He may cheat his suppliers and customers once or twice but since he can’t force them to buy his goods. ,they will never do any business with him again, not to mention set the police after him. So he is forced to take reasonable care of his customers and suppliers, whether he likes it or not. In a public company like Air India, he can abuse his customers and suppliers and not care. He can waste tax-payers money and demand more of it. Can you do much about it?

      What if some of the company’s employees are bad? If it was a public company/organization, the tax-payer can’t coming running and stop him. His managers are supposed to stop him and some might. But what do they gain in return?More paper work? Why should they stick their neck out when their salaries are not affected?
      But in a private company the owner(s) will be furious since it is their money those employees are stealing. They will not only kick the person out but also try and recover the money. They will not ignore those employees and pass the extra burden due to the embezzlement to their customers and suppliers. Why? Because they will become less competitive and lose business due to higher costs.

      Now coming to the NTPC: NTPC is also 15.5% private company and is traded as a component of BSE SENSEX. , Sure there are definitely some good state-owned companies. Some companies and Govt. organizations do in fact the benefit of autonomy and lower political interference etc. Aren’t they the exceptions rather than the norm?

    6. sg02

      (sorry for the typo)
      * i have seen/been to a national thermal power plant………not the system.

  4. arp

    I think that most of youth today believe ‘politics is dirty’ just to use it as an excuse for not having enough knowledge or awareness regarding the current political scenarios and going-on’s in the country. While it may be due to the fact that such awareness requires keeping up to date and regular study most of the youth don’t find time , nor the interest required to make that effort. I think instead of blaming the political system the youth should try and keep up with what’s happening and make efforts towards a change. Things can change if people having awareness will care to vote. But majority of the people actually going to vote is limited to the poor and knowledgeable people. This can be solved by introducing better and more efficient methods of vote casting. And by making people/youth aware or giving them some incentives to go out and vote.

  5. Ridhi Murari

    I agree with the main point of the article.

  6. Deepak Roach

    Blaming someone is not a solution and not helping us in any type of improvement . First we have to understand that in democratic country common people is government .People in the parliment is only our representative .Every things is in our hand.I AM totally agree with neha’s point and i want to add my point that every evil in the society belongs to education .We are lacking our morality day by day .Because parents who give us moral values are busy in making our future secure another side we have n moral lesson in our education system .We stand alone only with degree without knowledge of life

  7. PSJournalist

    Your blog is all worth. You can also check out my blog to know why corrupt people win elections. Here’s the link –
    https://blogaaj.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/whycorruption/

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