Monday, December 1, 2008
WHAT AILS OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM: PART I: POLITICS - A DIRTY WORD???
The Mumbai carnage has angered most Indians, and rightly so. The events have so upset most citizens of the city of Mumbai, and elsewhere too, that a majority of them are expressing very negative thoughts and words about our political establishment ( I donot want to use the word leaders for some of them and thus find it appropriate to use the word establishment). The news media is now full of citizens expressing their anguish at the happenings in Mumbai, and utter contempt and scorn for the politicians and their dirty politics. This was expected as we the people of India have had enough of terrorism to last us a life time.
We have had organised and co-ordinated bomb blasts in various cities of India; we have had random shootings in Bangalore . Each time a large number of innocent people have been killed, beside other damage. The government promises action but nothing substantial happens thereafter, and the events are soon forgotten, so it seems, because there are other more pressing commitments that our elected representatives need to attend to. However this time, these were no ordinary bomb blasts. This was active warfare - guns, grenades, boats, knives and what have you. The city and the nation were held to ransom for an extended period without respite. Iconic buildings in the commercial capital of India were targetted in co-ordinated attacks, coming in from the sea. Pitched battles were fought between the terrorists and the security forces. The whole thing was watched live by a large number of people and the images and sounds of fires, gunfire, blood, helplessness, bravery, courage, and the utter ruthlessness of the terrorists are etched on the minds of most people. The mood of the nation has become very angry, and politics has become a dirty word. In the present scenario there is a need to think calmly about what should be our future course of action and to take some time to understand what is implied by politics and politicians, and who do we think should be an ideal politician in our opinion OR do we now surmise that we do not need politics and politicians. In our disgust for the present bunch of the majority of our politicians we should not shun the word politics completely before we have had time to analyse what is wrong with our system. Is politics really a dirty word??
Politics as defined in the Free Dictionary means 'The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs'. This being so, politics is not only necessary; it is important for the governance of any nation, including India. India is the largest democracy in the world and comprises of about 1.1 billion people. The only form of governance that can reconcile the differences between this large (one-sixth of the human race) and diverse peoples is a democracy. Democracy is commonly understood to be 'of the people, by the people, for the people'. In India we follow a parliamentary form of representative democracy in which the government is exercised by the Prime Minister and his cabinet, which is subject to ongoing review, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people. Representative implies existence of a definite representative mechanism; periodic elections; political parties competing for political authority; existence of interest and pressure groups; and practice of Universal Adult Franchise. It stands to reason that elections are an inevitable process of a Representative Democracy. Right of the people to elect their representative is the fundamental feature of this system. 'A person engaged in or concerned with politics, esp. as a practitioner' is defined as a politician. Politicians are the people who stand for elections and get elected if a majority of the people in their constituency vote for them. Our politicians are our elected representatives. We have the politicians and the government that we voted for. They have not occupied the parliament by force - they have been elected by we the people. ...................... TO BE CONTINUED IN PART II