Sunday, April 3, 2011

“Pathetic” Politics: The Need Of The Hour

“Politics is like sewage. Those who enter it will themselves get soaked in it”. One word to describe the current state of politics. ‘Pathetic’.  Corruption, Money laundering, Family politics, Struggle for power, Lawlessness, Bad mouthing, you name it we have it in the current politics scenario. Be it national politics or regional politics, things are same everywhere. Except a few who are still upholding the true values of what the politics was supposed to do, the current level of politics has become irreparable beyond repair. Just to quote one blatant mockery of us, with the elections just round the corner, freebies are being promised to the people as if the politicians are spending their own money. Blasphemy to its max. I can rant on and on about the current condition of our politics. But instead what I want to discuss about is regarding redemption of politics and why I feel it is hard to redeem. I have added some thoughts on the kinds of leaders who are required for the political redemption. My fellow friends who might read this article can contribute a few more which they can think of.

It is said that one way to elect good leaders is to elect educated people. My belief goes on a tangential note in this case, because I feel educated people won’t be much different than the current group of politicians. It is said that to cure a disease it is necessary to identify the root cause rather than cure the superficial symptoms. The politics isn’t much different. The root cause according to me is the value system of the individual rather than his credentials. The current acts of the politicians who ensure that their power is passed on to their bloodline is nothing but a simple act of a human trying to ensure that his future generations enjoy the same comfort which they had. While I don’t say it is wrong thing, I believe that a person having such a value system isn’t the right candidate for being a leader of the people. But unfortunately, many among us have such inclinations. More so ever, the educated tend to exhibit such acts in an increasing manner than the uneducated ones.  I have seen instances in which people of the highest qualifications tend to pass on their power or elect those who are close to them with no regards to their ability.  While it is easy for us to dismiss it as a just a minor flaw, our casualness tends to be taken for granted by the politicians who do the same with the power which vest in them. And no one questions it. the reasons why we don’t question it, is a different matter to be debated on, but more importantly what matters is that many of us don’t have the right to question it because we end up exhibiting the same characteristics when we are vested with power.

I have thought of the characteristics of a person whose presence is required if we want to cleanse the politics of today. There are leaders of yesteryear's whose life had inspired us, inspire us now and will continue to inspire us in the future too. Few leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Periyar, Kamaraj, , Vallabhbhai Patel, APJ Abdul Kalam, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King etc. have had the following characteristics which have made them a legacy. Iam not saying that the leaders who I have quoted have been perfect in every way. They might have had their own imperfections still what I have considered here is that fact that when they had the authority of power in their hands, they displayed the below characteristics which made them belong to a unique league of great personalities. The characteristics of the politician should be:
  • Having a Vision
All these leaders were motivated by a common vision; of living to the full potential, of living a better life. The best example that comes to mind is Martin Luther King. When the blacks were widely in-discriminated in the society, Mr.King didn’t ask the people to revolt against it. Nor did he blame the whites for their current predicament. His famous words that continues to inspire people all over the world and which effectively mobilized the blacks were ‘I have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ All great leaders have a vision which they share with the people and make them believe in it too. Not only that, they inspire people to achieve it. Our own Mr.APJ Abdul Kalam also exhibited this when he was the President of India. He inspired India to become a Super power by the year 2020. The fact that many of us have forgotten that now is a sad reflection of today current state of affairs. Yet, during his tenure, all of us were aware of India’s potential and truly believed in it. That is a true case of inspiring & visionary leadership.
  • Being Responsible
The great leaders knew that the position they had made them responsible to the people. Instead of looking at their positional power as their moral right, these leaders were conscious of the fact that apart from a positional responsibility they also had a moral responsibility towards the people. All the leaders had a sense of ownership about the work they did. They took it upon themselves to finish a work they started. Be it be a great manager or a leader, this sense of ownership is what makes one complete a work which they start rather than look for laurels. Take Mr.Sardar Vallabhai patel for instance. He used his authority to single handedly unite the entire India.  He acted not because his actions would have earned him something but because he knew that he was carrying the aspirations of the entire nation with him.
  • Selflessness
Almost all the leaders were self less in nature. They always placed the well being of the common man before their own good. These leaders had the greater good as their main priority before taking any action which also ensured that the masses liked them. Periyar, a great leader of South India has lived a simple life and always placed the greater good of the people ahead of his own interest. The great leaders empathized with the common folks and brought about lot many changes for their common good. Kamaraj is still remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Mid-day Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister.
  • Leaving Legacy
The leaders had a motive of leaving a legacy behind. One doesn’t go about saying that he wants to create legacy and then create it. One is driven by the passion to make a difference   and in the process they end up creating a legacy of their own. Take Che Guevara or Bhagat Singh for instance. Both of them were driven by a passion to proof something. Bhagat Singh inspite of his young age displayed the highest form of courage and was defiant in his attitude against the British domination. Che has been a symbol of rebellion and has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements. Each in his own way created legacy’s which continues to inspire people of all ages.
  • Being a Role model
Promises are nothing but a shadow unless one acts upon it. These leaders not only espoused things but they also ‘walked their talk’.  There are many people who have been inspired by the lives of these great leaders and whose life is still an example to be followed. Gandhi ji considered the father of the country was a perfect role model for non violence. I understand that Gandhiji had his own imperfections. Yet, I believe that in case of teaching the lessons of non-violence to the world, he did mankind a great good. Not only he talked about it, he walked about it and exhibited it in his every actions. People looked up to him and felt that yes, non-violence is not for cowards, rather it requires more courage for a person to be non-violent than show violence.

Reading the above makes one think that all these things are possible, only in utopia. Yet, I sincerely believe that people exhibiting such characteristics truly exist. And that a day of redemption for politics isn’t far behind. A day will come, when true leaders emerge who will care for the common good putting aside their indulgences. Many have spent their life looking for the true elixir of life.  The elixir which makes them immortal. The leaders who will live their life in a way living for others will have truly found the elixir of life: their chronicles scripted in the pages of the history and more importantly, in the hearts of the people who he had served, thus making them the true IMMORTALS.

P.S: Having done my specialization in Human resource too, I have tended to use many of the examples from the subject of ‘Leadership Discovery’. I hope that my colleagues will forgive me for this indulgence.


Destination Infinity said...

I think that a nation will just get the leaders it deserves. Especially in Democracy. Its more important for us, as a people, to change our attitude - so that we can become mature enough to choose the right leader. You have used nice examples and illustrations in your essay.

Destination Infinity

Aragorn said...

Nicely said... Iam not able to recall where i have listened to the saying ' A nation gets the leaders it deserves' which i had listened to very recently.

Yes, Attitude has to change and more importantly,the authorities who have the power to regulate these 'Election Commission and the Supreme Court' has to act to bring some regulation in the politics field...

Thanks for your comment, DI...