Friday, April 3, 2009


I read the views of some of the glamorous representatives of the GenNext of India this morning in the Times of India, Bangalore edition, 03 Apr 09. It made an interesting read. Let us sample their views on their idea of a PM.

"Somebody who sticks to his or her word and doesn't crumble under pressure." - Freida Pinto

"A young educated and responsible leader who loves the country wholeheartedly" - Sonam Kapoor

"A person we can depend on and trust." .... "a visionary, but also someone who will implement his vision" - Parvathy Omanakuttan

"A young healthy leader to lead India" - Vijender Singh

"A leader who has the vision of a great and young India". - Deepika Padukone

"A person who stands by his word against all odds". - Prateik Babbar

"A leader who can look after all classes and give young India a path to follow". - Prachi Desai

So what does one make of this? The representatives of GenNext are generally asking for a YOUNG, VISIONARY, DEPENDABLE, and TRUSTWORTHY PERSON to become the PM of India, so that he can lead us to our rightful place in the comity of nations. These are very noble thoughts and feelings in today's context. We are already approaching a general election and the parties have already announced their PM candidates. The two major national parties have announced that - the Congress wants to go with Manmohan Singh, and the BJP with L K Advani as PM. The other blatantly hopeful's for the chair are Pawar, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati and the silently hopefuls are Deve Gowda and son, and some others like them. None of these Prime Ministerial candidates meet the stringent requirements of the GenNext's wishlist. So what option do we have for this general election. One thing is for certain that the GenNext wishlist is not going to be met in this general election. Thus their wishlist is just plain wishful thinking as far as this national election is concerned.

So what is the next best option? for the long term as well as the short term? Let's take the easier question first, the long term. Well, to get a young visionary PM, we need to start grooming many young potential PM candidates. What does this imply? - nearly all of us will have to change our perceptions of politics and take an oath to work for the common good in public life - are MANY of the GenNext students willing to take up a career in politics as a national calling? If the answer is Yes, we are lucky; but if the answer is NO then we can do nothing to our political system, as it exists.

I only see some young people in politics and they all belong to political families - even they are very few in number - there are no fresh young faces who are joining politics and have the calibre to lead India in the future. What does all this mean - politics is a dirty game or it is too risky a business?

............To be continued


Anonymous said...

"nearly all of us will have to change our perceptions of politics and take an oath to work for the common good in public life"

You miss the point entirely - altruism can never be the basis for genuine democratic politics anymore than it is the basis for excellence in any other field.

Renu said...

That is the bane of India, everybody say s that politics is dirty but nobody wants to come forward to clean it and least of all the celebrities:(

J P Joshi said...

Anonymous: Firstly, why hide behind anonymity?

However, you have raised an important issue and I would respond to the issue. I realised many years ago that altruism cannot be the basis for any service to the motherland and have thus never objected to the raise in pay, perks and privileges of our elected representatives. They now have very competitive pay, perks and privileges, and that is why I have said, "are MANY of the GenNext students willing to take up a career in politics as a national calling?"

A career in politics for common good, while enjoying the pay, perks and privileges of the elected office, and an uninterrupted pension for life, after one term. What more can one ask for to help bring about an improvement in our governance, that we all complain about, and yet are not willing to come forward and help out.

Politics today is a good career too. However, one has to seek a mandate every fifth year, if lucky, and this mandate is largely given by the lowest members of the hierarchy in the country, unlike every other sphere of commercial activity, and that is probably why politics doesn't seem to be for everyone.....except the one's who want to profit from it in some way or the few who wish to help fulfill the dream of an India living upto its potential.

Renu: Yes that is our failing as a nation. Not only celebrities; the common man also does not want to join politics, BUT we all complain about poor governance. Will somebody else from outside come and clean our political system for us??? while we complain and let status quo prevail. TOI is bringing out some neat ads of "Pappu Raj" in the daily newspaper that sums up our national political scene today.

Indyeah said...

politics is still atabboo for 'good ' families in India...that is the main perception I see almost everyday...

How do we change it?

I have hope but also doubts...unless a whole new generation comes out and starts working for change will be possible..

Indian Home Maker said...

For years we were nowhere is the international beauty pageants, we were not in award winning movies nad books internationally etc, then once we got the idea that this was a lucrative, and more than that, that this was possible - our whole attitude changed! I hope we will be like this in Politics, successful group of educated people with no criminal allegations against them, if they start winning - it can become a trend. Like if Mallika Sarabhai, Arun Bhatia and a few other clean faces that are fighting as independents win, maybe then more people will find courage to join Politics.
I know some brilliant minds who do show interest but they feel there it is not just dirty but also a dangerous field, so if it starts looking even a little cleaner, we will definitely see good people joining politics.

About the post title, I am just not sure, amongst the young we also have Varun Gandhi and Raj Thakre. The one politician I like amongst the young is Omar Abdullah.

Very relevant and insightful post, as usual, I am looking forward to the next one.

Usha Pisharody said...

You've said this before too; and I remember sharing this with a class, about making politics clean again. Not many takers there yet. Yet. I hope that things will change, and it needs to, if we need to make real progress :)

Thought provoking post as always :)

Smitha said...

@JPJ, A very relevant post for today. Until all of us take an active interest in polictics, things cannot change.

There are some people, common people who are entering into politics. Apparently there is a Professional Party of India, Lok Satta, which are groups of aware indivuals who are coming out to make a difference. One of the problems that I see is tht the media is also not doing enough to showcase these parties.. So we donot even come to know.. Maybe we should all blog about these political parties...As of now, we just know the high profile people in politics..

J P Joshi said...

Indyeah: Agree with you, and have also been asking the same question, "How do we change it?" Well, change will happen if we all decide and donot feel that our political system has failed us. It has not. We have not done the best that we could but we have not done very badly too. Yes, we could have done much better if.........Like you, I hope too BUT I also believe that "hum honge kamyaab ek din, man mein hai vishwas.......".

IHM: Agree with your comment - what happened to us in the beauty paegent, literary circles, cricket and cinema will surely happen in politics too. It may take time but it will happen, I have great belief that it will. I do hope that it happens during my lifetime. I was reading Capt Gopinath's interview this morning. He is going totally against the dictum of "divide" and seeking votes on how to "unite" his constituency, like Gandhiji did the whole nation. I am sure there are many more like him, and I am praying that they all win, so that a critical mass is created and the right kind of youth see "politics as a viable career", beyond college and university elections.

Yes, I too love his forthrightness and his passion and commitment. I am waiting to see his performance as CM though.

J P Joshi said...

Usha: Cleaning of politics - it is a process and will take time. I am just waiting to see a critical mass develop that will take it forward faster. It will happen, it has to, and each one of us has to do our part and believe that it will. Youth and Middle class are the catalysts for change in any society, and we are very well endowed with these two for the future. Only we have to believe and work towards the goal. I do.

Smitha: Things are changing, it is slowly but surely taking place, however we need to accelerate the pace and that can happen with the active involvement of every citizen, including the GenNext.

I read the Times of India and the Deccan Herald and both the newspapers are giving good coverage to the educated people entering politics, with an aim to bring about change. So, the print media is doing its part but of course the electronic media spends more time on sensationalism, to get their TRPs. Yes, any way that we can help bring about awareness and change is good - blogging, talking with the actual voters, or any other possible way.

Anrosh said...

i saw a book of the young faces of indian politics (where -- in the smithsonian). i was alarmed. they might be educated in london -- but they truly are the chip of the old block.

if india has to change -- we need some other "acy" -- i don't know what. but i sure like to find out.

breaking free of the dark umblical cord that indians have associated themselves to nehruvian cronies -- even that means the 5the generation nehru blood means that indians have accepted the fact that we can always settle for less-

-they young polticians (chip of the old block are parasites on the indian population and live like leeches on the tax payers blood.

ask the real indians -- the real people who 'scratch the land' every day to just eke the basic existence of life -- first as a human being -- and then as indians they want a leader who will themselves grow as individuals - poverty is wraped in the neurons of the brains ( or something like that ... i think i read it on some blog who quoted it from the economist )

the real indians want somebody who will just provide them the basic sustenance of living -- young or old does not matter - grey hair or red hair is not their concern --

poverty is the oldest problem of the land.can we solve this first -- i ask the young politicians" -- they will not even know what I am talking about !

J P Joshi said...

Agree with you on the present breed of the young politicians who are the offsprings of the old politicians. We definitely need youth because only youth has the capacity and idealism to affect change, if properly motivated and concerned. However, this is hard to find in modern India, as the educated urban youth is not interested in politics, or governance issues. Our urban voting pattern in Bangalore was a good pointer in this direction. Same goes for Mumbai too.