Cynicism is the natural culmination of anyone who attempts to study and analyse India’s problems. Unlike Japan and China, India’s problems are overwhelmingly man-made. It is utter lack of patriotism, national pride and discipline that is churning out most of India’s problems. Our practice of democracy is not an ideal one and it has been hijacked by a select few families. Its current trend will only lead to India’s decay and decadence sooner or later. The incumbent democratic structure is corrupt inside out and the very few Gandhians (Mahatma Gandhi variety) left in our midst can do very little to set things right. The newly advocated Lok Pal will be at best an unsuccessful David against the Goliath of corruption. And what is the guarantee that another Balakrishnan or Kalmadi or Raja will not incarnate as the next Lok Pal? In a society that looks upon money and power as the quintessence of virtue, no amount of whistle-blowing, watch-dogging and judicial-remands can bring about improvement.
There are many Indians, especially the youth, who got excited about the ‘victory’ of Anna Hazare. But their excitement can be short lived. Some clippings from the drama are indicative enough. Anna Hazare has spent his entire life for others and he has been completely apolitical so far. Imagine the plight of such a hard core Indian pleading to ‘Indian’ leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh to set things right in India. What is the urgency for them to end corruption in India? It may be the inherent thirst for a virtuous environment that drives true Gandhians like Anna Hazare. But what is the basic motivation factor for people like Pranab, Chidambaram, Sibal etc., to put an end to corruption? It is foolish for any Indian to expect a committee of such people to draft any sensible legislation for ending all scopes for corruption. It would be like expecting Vatican or Saudi setting in motion an exercise to end religious conversion in the entire world.
Politicians of the worthless variety are the cause of all problems in India. We usually hear about the four pillars (and the extended pillar of media) of democracy. But the most important supports for any democracy are the politicians and political culture in the country. No democracy can function without politicians and in India too we need them. The world’s largest democracy of more than one billion people will require at least one hundred political parties and one million politicians to make it function. We have the numbers but what we lack is the political culture that will attract talented people and develop them to seek power to rule over us. Pre-1947 era had produced so many talented and worthy leaders in India. But in post-1947 we are coming across mainly those who have taken up politics because they are not good for anything else. Career politicians are the biggest threat to any democracy and India is a victim of this.
The other main problem that is in many ways unique to India is growth of political clans or family politicians. There need be no better reason to get worthless and unwanted elements into politics than this. Anyone who does not study well or jobless or idiotic in a political family is automatically inducted into politics during the lifetime of the ruling patriarch. Even if the patriarch is unwilling, scores of his or her sycophants will urge and edge such candidates into the political arena. Their idea is to ensure lifelong gratitude of such empty politicians on those who brought them into politics, but the damage to the political culture of the country is unlimited. Many of them learn the nuisances of governance at the cost of our misery and just one such leader in power is enough to retard the entire nation by years if not decades. Imagine the combined damage to the nation if a dozen of such worthless politicians from political families come to power throughout the country. This is exactly what is happening in India today.
It is the nature of politics in India that is making most of its politicians worthless. Things will definitely change if the rules of political game change. Many of the current worthless politicians are innately good and they can become assets rather than liabilities to the nation. India’s post-1947 power elite were living in euphoria in a make-believe world of their own. Having achieved independence quite unexpectedly, some of the most significant leaders wanted to become world leaders in the short span left for them. It would be ungrateful to ridicule their contributions but they should have done much more for setting a better framework for the future politicians. As an example, if state funding and modest campaigns for elections were introduced in 1947 itself, India would have been literally a welfare state by now. Instead, our dirty competitive electoral politics have forced our politicians to become corrupt to earn a livelihood and amaze wealth for the next elections.
It is too late now to think of quick solutions to cleanse Indian politics of worthless politicians. Speedy trial and severe punishments are the only signals that can bring about quick results now. If a dozen of the confirmed corrupt can be thrown into the jail the spin-off results will be tremendous. Assured retribution is the best key to instill the most wanted fear in the minds of those who err knowingly. Investigations must start as soon as there are first reports in the media about corruption and such investigations must be automatic without any sanction. It will be very much in the national interest even if 75% of such investigations result in acquittals. If such a determined action is initiated now, it can be safely concluded that Indian politicians 25 years from now will be a worthy lot. And only a worthy lot of politicians can deliver as rulers in a vast democracy.
An exaggerated version of secularism in India has also undermined our traditions and traditional values. Concepts like dharma and karma have no religious connotations, and it should have been part and parcel of our primary school education. If our children are brought up knowing the correct meaning of their dharma in each phase of their life, profession and karma, the picture would have been entirely different. Despite few aberrations in our history, India still remains one of the few nations in the world where people enjoy true freedom. There is equality in front of the state, at least on paper. This has been possible only because of the accumulated wisdom of our civilizations and the eternal values of our Sanatana Dharma. Rekindling the true dharmic spirit enunciated in our scriptures is the only way to usher in a just and fair society. Only such a dharmic Indian as Lok Pal can help us in building a Dharmic Republic of India.