Party Politics and Democracy
THE POLITICS WE EXPERIENCE AT PRESENT IS ALL ABOUT POWER, PEOPLE DON'T COUNT, COMMENTS MUHAMMAD MAROOF SHAH
Party politics is simply powerlatry or blind worship of the Mammon of power. It is ultimately Gunda raj. You can’t do it, especially nowadays in the third world, if you can’t afford to betray your soul, your conscience, your higher self and of course the people you claim to represent. Partition was a creation of party consciousness and unfinished partition that resulted in Kashmir dispute is a legacy of the same.
Wherever people are really educated and have understanding of real factors governing politics they will vote politicians (as we understand them presently) out of power if given the chance. Politician will disappear as a class in any truly democratic and enlightened society. If being a member of assembly or a minister doesn’t give you power for misusing it, for getting rich, for enjoying luxuries and demands very strict ethical qualification and highest integrity of character who will love to be a politician? In an ideal Islamic system politicians are required to deliver Friday sermon in the main Jamia, discuss policies there and face open criticism from the public. If anyone has died hungry or unattended for any other reason such as lack of money for treatment of say cardiac disease, he will be dismissed by the public. He can’t have higher standard of life than the masses. So the job of a politician or administrator has no attraction and is simply headache of huge responsibility. We can conceive of direct democracy and decentralization of power where people really feel that they count in running in routine affairs. There can be neither development (it is most often at the cost of environment and based on denial of the sacred), nor care for the people in real sense in party raj. I call democracy as practized here as party raj and dictatorship of ‘elected’ few. If we analyze who attend political gatherings at the time of elections and who run campaigns we see they are mostly uneducated ignorant folk and those deprived of jobs and suffering from other kinds of deprivations due to mismanagement and loot of the present and previous govts. Democracy “substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”
The fact that there are a few highly educated and sincere politicians also proves only the resilience of the corrupt system which co-opts and makes willing copartners from even those who see the foundational injustice and absurdity at the heart of it. Even if Vajpayi wanted resolution he couldn’t. A few can’t dictate terms to the herd of greedy members blinded by the lust for power and doing the will of big corporates or banks. Manmohan Singh is even too coy to wish a resolution.
A democracy that allows bandit queens and gotala professionals to occupy seats in the parliament and that allows herd of ‘parliamentarians’ to use every kind of unparliamentarian language and make parliament house a fish market. A democracy that allows 5 billionaires to amass and keep the wealth equivalent to that of 300 million people at the other end of spectrum, that allows its representatives to enjoy all kinds of luxuries while millions sleep hungry can’t be people’s govt. What right has a minister to ride a car – or simultaneously many cars as he can’t afford to move without fanfare, without security – or helicopter while condemning most of population he claims to minister and represent to travel in overloaded overheated or freezing buses? In India where millions of children serve as child labourers and humans as rickshaw drivers are used as draught animals, in the scorching heat and their leaders succeed in making them believe that they are living in democracy.
How crazy are we that we seek best doctors or professional in other fields for our services and allow most unscrupulous and nonprofessional people to rule us. Everyone is accountable from peon to professor but not the politician. Most politicians should have been hanged so far if there were any system of accountability applicable to them. Party politics serves imperial masters, Capitalists, Feudal lords and army rule practically and that is why it stays. Every one knows that people get elected for themselves or their kith and kith.
Parties corrupt or hire and control media overtly or covertly. Press council is appointed by politicians. Censoring authorities are appointed by politicians. Judges are appointed by politicians. Accounting commissions are appointed by them. I talked with one of the officials of State Accountability Commission about its activities and he admitted it is only sabibi rozgar. Politicians appointed police and vigilance and auditors. It finances national news channels. It controls govt. ads to newspapers. Politicians create problems that lead to terrorism.
India is not a democracy. It is not an independent State either. If it had been its 77% people would not be living on less than Rs. 20 daily. So here people don’t rule but international corporations, a few billionaires and its ruling elite. They need to give BPL people subsidized ration or kerosene in order to keep them alive so that their labour could be exploited as otherwise the whole system will collapse. There is “IPL India and BPL India” and not the India of aam aadmi and only the ignorant multitude believe it to be democracy. Party politics is incompatible with true spirit of democracy.
Democracy is, for those who understand the political and economic calculus that undegrids it, a rule by the few for the few. It breeds and sponsors corrupt bureaucracy. The whole banking system is based on concealed principles of exploitation or corruption. The State is a firm minting profit for the few rather than some governing or welfare institution. I see semblance of true democracy only for a brief period in history when people could challenge the Caliph in mosques who was accountable to everybody anytime and there was nobody in need of zakat and rulers felt no need of security, wore torn cloths, didn’t keep as much a salary for themselves as to afford a sweat dish such as halwa and for years worked as domestic servants during night to help a widow. No system has been perfect or that fully ensured zero exploitation. But the rule for the people’s welfare by the best qualified persons amongst them (morally and administratively) has been practiced in many parts of the world in the past in many civilizations but is largely absent in modern democracies, especially the third world democracies.
However I find politicians more pitiable than condemnable as they too are mostly products of a corrupt system, faulty education and under the dominion of avidya or ignorance. When some one does not know that one has a self made in the image of God, eternally content, that one injures soul by lusting for power, that it is not in one’s real interest to trade the treasures of Spirit for the illusions of egoistic attachments, he is to be pitied. He suffers from spiritual myopia or blindness and needs to be given eyes to see. No man is willfully bad, as Socrates echoing teachers of all religions, said. We have no academies for training politicians as Plato envisaged. Those who can’t govern well themselves – their desires – can’t govern society. We need an academy for educating politicians as Plato and many others have envisaged. Or we shall perish at their hands as we are presently suffering on many accounts because of their misdeeds.
We have great love and respect for the India of the past that enshrined the values of tolerance, pluralism and cultivated philosophical wisdom of the highest order. But the present rogue regime is, in almost every sense, a betrayal of this glorious tradition. It is Ravanna’s and not Ram’s India. Rama chose loyalty to truth over power. Nehru and is successors trampled truth for power in Kashmir. Kashmiris are neither Pakistanis nor Indians; their only demand is let the truth prevail, the truth which Gandhi, the founder of Indian nation, equated with God. I wonder if there is any devotee of Ram in the BJP or of Gandhi in the Congress in Indian Parliament as no body raises Kashmir issue in the Parliament and asks for official acknowledgment of historical truths – the truth of fake accession document, the truth in Indian promises regarding resolution of Kashmir issue, the truth in toppling and establishing puppet regimes in Kashmir, the truth in the statement that the it is people fighting for their rights rather than Pakistan who is doing and managing everything from stone pelting to street protests.
Politicians can’t afford to think for themselves; they are made to think. When some politician says “I think” don’t trust. If they were more honest, they would say “I am made to think, or supposed to think” or “my party has decided to think.” Jaswant Singh dared to think for himself on one issue – not to think but only to admit too obvious an historical facts – and that costed him party membership. Politicians have special ears that are designed to catch certain frequencies only; they don’t listen to the shouts of masses in streets and ask what are Kashmiris wanting. They can’t afford to see either and need special lens filters that let in only light from selected objects.
It is not that all politicians are villains but that in the game of the survival of the fittest more sincere ones are often either killed or jailed or made irrelevant. Gandhi was murdered and didn’t count in Independence Day celebrations. He couldn’t accept political posts. He could only lament the death of the poor man, the labourer and the death of Spirit as the path of secular industrial development that made India a part of global corrupt economy. I find only Gandhi and a few names in the Indian politics that India could be proud of. However as Kashmiris we feel he didn’t play the role he should have played in preventing Kashmir tragedy. His campaign for truth and politics based on moral principles seems to have been ineffective or forgotten when India was using violence at various fronts to suppress people’s voice in 1947 after independence.
I think there are more honourable ways of begging than fighting elections and begging for votes for thrusting one’s leadership and which don’t involve false promises to people, betrayal of soul and conscience in the name of national or party interest, sacrifice of principles of justice and truth which transcend both party and nationalist ideologies and murder or silencing of political opponents. God made man and the devil made a party worker and politician out of him.
Politics is a dirty game as Bhutto once admitted. But what civil society needs to ask is should it be allowed to remain dirty. A few saint-politicians are here and there who should seek to revamp the system, attempt to introduce direct democracy and decentralization and make parties irrelevant so that people decide and not parties. If around 70 crore budget allotted to different districts this year were given to village/colony committees to spend under their supervision and as per their will we can see a hell of difference as no funds will be allowed to lapse, and there will be little scope for corruption. I don’t mean Panchayt raj as usually understood as it is after all not immune to political manipulations.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 13 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 14 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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