Politicizing politics

This might not be perfect but this is essence of politics



When we enter into a discussion about Indian politics, we end up with the epithets like corrupt, evil, self-serving, and ugly. But the popular view of politics elsewhere is not different. When we go through the commentary on American politics we find it broken by fiscal cliff. Similarly European politics is blamed for the mess due to economic difficulties. Middle East countries, experiencing a hangover after the high of Arab Spring last year, are also laying the blame at the door of politics. North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia don’t blame politics for their wrongs, but that isn’t true even it is done behind closed doors. Still it is politics which determines who will go in to the Chinese Communist Party’s politburo or who will become China’s next president. Politics happens to begin whenever people live together and still it is something that we love to hate. Why? What exactly is politics?
It is a process by which a group of people, whose opinions or interests might be divergent, reach a consensus that are generally regarded as binding on the group and enforced as common policy. It is by politics that people seek power to take decisions about vital matters. They learn to manage their government. They master the art of distribution of resources, allocation of benefits and burdens as well as management of conflict – and that's the ideal politics! But the current practice of Indian politics is of course different, and leaves a lot to be desired. The tree of democracy was planted with great care and expectations but the same tree has now grown with rotten fruits and if these rotten fruits are not shaken down, how the fresh fruits will come from. If vote bank politic and corruption are surfed out of political system, many problems would be sorted out.
If a big tree like democratic system is laden with rotten fruits, they subsequently lose the relevance. Apart from that, generating job-opportunities for youths, they will also have to be provided with the quality education on priority basis to help them grow as the responsible citizens of the country. Though the politicians usually talk about implementation of such programmes, but they fail to make them realize leading to growing discontent among the masses. Despite their failures on this front, the political leaders claim that the situation is improving and they are making all possible efforts for it. But in fact, such claims of the politicians are viewed as just nothing but only lip services. Owing to such behavior of the politicians, especially those who are in power, the people are fed up and are left with no option to throw them out of power.  After all when will they begin to realize that they have failed to come up to the expectations of the people the country? Why do they overlook the fact that a bigger section of the society is under the grip of the evils like illiteracy, poverty and diseases.
Undemocratic political parties which have led to a weak parliament are at the core of what is wrong with our politics. Take the case of the recent parliamentary vote on FDI in multi-brand retail. It is not our MPs who voted but their parties. Once the party has decided and issued a parliamentary whip—and these decisions in a party are taken not by deliberations and voting but unilaterally by the High Command-- individual MPs have little role to play in the process. You could just have the leaders of the parties voting in the parliament and it would make no difference. India has a parliamentary democracy, where people elect their representatives, both as individual and for the parties they represent. It does not have the List System where people vote for a party, and the party decides on the members who will sit in the parliament. Anti-defection law means there is no way in which the electorate can judge individual MPs on their political position in legislation formulations...since the 8th Lok Sabha, which passed anti-defection law, no Lok Sabha has seen a single political party getting the majority of its own. We are in 15th Lok Sabha and imagine if with the anti-defection law in practice, a single party were to get majority, it would then render the parliament a virtual ‘Rubber Stamp’ of that party’s High Command. Coalition politics means that the parliament cannot be taken for granted. Parties have to convince, cajole and negotiate with other parties. They make compromises. This might not be perfect but this is essence of politics. Yes, there are times when ruling parties employ sordid means to win over MPs. One may agree with David Brooks that “the challenge of politics lies precisely in the marriage of high vision and low cunning”
However, the sapling of democracy planted on January 26, 1950 adopting the constitution has now turned into a tree with strong foundation, but the climate has changed. This change has been caused owing to globalization, spread of education and IT revolution. The rotten fruits will definitely fall down sooner or later, but it is better to remove them as earlier as possible. It will be better for the political class to get aware of their responsibilities. Instead of making honest efforts to remove corruption from the system, they are adhering to political agenda which is no less than hypocrisy that was realized during the debate over Lokpall Bill in the Parliament. Therefore, according to Max Weber we must have serious and sustained political management, “which needs both passion and perspective”, after all “politics is a strong and slow boring of hardboards.”

(Dr Akhtar Hussain Mir is professor of Political Science)

Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST

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