…with today’s student leaders and people representatives being nearly unworthy from every angle, the current first and second line of leaders will be replaced in future by dynasts and professionals. As for balance of power between the two, the lever will tilt in favour of dynasts, for professionals will have weaker voice due to their non-connectivity with masses…
Of late, the grand old debate on dynasty, done to heights of passion, has once again heated up to its boiling point. There’re fears, renewed and restrengthened, that politics in the country might finish up being a monopolistic trade of some five hundred families. Little doubt about that, you’d convincingly say. What came to pass in parliamentary elections way back in May and recently in distribution of tickets for assembly elections is an enough pointer. Well, dynasty isn’t a topic I’m enthusiastic about discussing, but any debate on the grave political issue is incomprehensive unless there’s a mention, interpretation of non-dynasts, too, in the backdrop of democracy. In times of these political transformations when efforts of political reforms are getting identical media hype, it becomes more so riveting and relevant.
So are all ‘dynasty fears’ well placed or misplaced?
My take on the topic is quite plain. Country’s problem at the moment is bigger than democracy vs dynasty, or, dynast vs non-dynast debate. It’s about the brand of people who aspire to rule us and shape our destiny. The basic problem, though recognized much earlier, is extinction of leaders assudden and appearance of a herd of politicians, devoid of merit, vision, honesty and commitment.
I think ‘dynasty’ is not a hot political issue alone any longer, it has turned into a serious thing of observation, one wherein exists distinctions, discriminations and disparities as they do in the world of non-dynasts. There’re two apparent classes of dynasts. One, those who move into politics or corridors of power following demise of their fathers or other close relations.
Of course, the whole mess admissibly starts from the very dynasty, something that needs to be looked at afresh in the latest political context. I think ‘dynasty’ is not a hot political issue alone any longer, it has turned into a serious thing of observation, one wherein exists distinctions, discriminations and disparities as they do in the world of non-dynasts. There’re two apparent classes of dynasts. One, those who move into politics or corridors of power following demise of their fathers or other close relations. Instantly, likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot etc come to our mind, but they, for a simple reason of hailing from powerful political family, should not be confused with this class. Children of MLAs and MPs (with limited clout) man this category. They have an undue entry advantage, but need to toil as hard as non-dynasts for upward mobility.
The real concern – the most recent and very alarming trend, the biggest political challenge to our very democracy – is the broad emergence of the second class of dynasts. Our politicians are manifesting mounting aspirations of ensuring that their children are well, comfortably settled in corridors of power in their lifetime itself, that is to say, while they are physically active and politically strong. The very ambition, for they are responsible for democracy, connects them to the weaknesses of a crook rather than public at large having natural concerns for children. Worst still, it’s mockery of dynasty too, even that of monarchy, for dynasts and monarchs, when these systems were popular centuries ago, also had to authenticate on their own, without an outer aid, their worth to claim the throne in many well-governed states. Rajendra Sekhawat, Agatha Sangama, Omar Abdullah, Varun Gandhi, the list of this class wouldn’t end. Can we, the people, hope that politicians ambitious of seeing their wards take up significant positions in power will allow first category of dynasts – let alone non-dynasts – to move easily upward in power hierarchy or party structure?
Looking from this standpoint, the arrival of democracy in toto for which we’ve been relentlessly waiting for six long decades seems more remote than it was, say, some twenty years ago. And the organizational democracy – about which there’s much talk these days – that ideally ought to have been country’s achievement by now is farther removed than it was four decades ago. Indian democracy is a story of rebounding and reversal, moving backward to take country forward.
I believe I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say ‘dynasty’ is not just a thing of serious observation but an emerging discipline of academic study. Whatever research we have on ‘dynasty’ is from gone by eras, there’s no fresh research, no current study. It should be encouraged by government fund, I think. Also, ‘dynasty – the current study’ should be made a compulsory part of political science syllabus in schools and colleges so that future electorates have better understanding of the people they have to vote for or against. They should be able to distinguish between different sorts of dynasts, pick better ones and boot away the rest, for there’ll be hardly other choice in future. Going by the ongoing scenery, it seems dynasts are not born to rule, country is born to elect or reject them. That’s enough about dynasty.
Commentariat has unfortunately not analysed non-dynasts as passionately as it has dynasts. A non-dynast, our humble, last hope of democracy should be someone truly representative of people. When we study the taxonomy of non-dynasts in the way we’ve done in the case of dynasts, emerging picture is not one that matches country’s expectations in the face of dynasts boom. Political parties, no matter whichever it is, draw their second-fiddle ranks primarily from three spheres. One, profession like acting, diplomacy, administration, journalism etc (excepting left parties). Two, universities and colleges. Three, politically ambitious common folk, or rather say, contractors’ agents or small contractors, of towns and villages. The last two are what many parties would proudly claim to be their cadre, but they are actually not. Professionals directly become MPs, students fight students union elections, common folk go to fight civic body polls, municipal and panchayats.
The current first line of leaders in many parties at present is product of mass movements and college politics. So, ideally, and because there’re not powerful trade unions any more, the public expectations prop on those who have joined politics in college campus or are cadres working among people.Alas! It’s where problems of democracy are graver.
The current first line of leaders in many parties at present is product of mass movements and college politics. So, ideally, and because there’re not powerful trade unions any more, the public expectations prop on those who have joined politics in college campus or are cadres working among people and starting election careers from municipal or panchayat elections. For only these two are the categories that know the common man, their reality, their struggle, their expectations best. Alas! It’s where problems of democracy are graver. Goons, with no intellectual prowess and genuine commitment, synonymy university politics today, and local contractors and traders have dominated civic politics.
University students, as some recent student elections show, take the occasion to popularize them in city, taking their election campaign out of university campus to streets and roads and squares. Lyndoh Commission Recommendations have been made a joke. There’s no measure in place in any organization to ensure that good students join politics and mud is strictly kept out. Today’s student leaders, I can say without doubt, will be ministers with no mass contact, management skills, political ideology and vision. As for cadres, parties have membership drive and there’s system of nomination or elections for party posts. Sadly, membership is open to every Tom, Dick and Harry, nomination is biased and internal elections are affected by money power and lack of transparency. We cease to be a country where leaders were borne out of trade unions and mass movements. We cease to be a country where students have vital role in ensuring success of a revolution. And we were never a country where even a worthy Mayor or a Parliamentarian can directly rise to the rank of executive head of the country, the President or Prime Minister.
With today’s student leaders and people representatives being nearly unworthy from every angle, the current first and second line of leaders will be replaced in future by dynasts and professionals. Dynasts who insist on being called with a respectable ‘ji’ tagged to their name if being called by their first names by their senior party colleagues. And professionals who are experts, work in their air conditioned offices and undertake foreign tours to present India’s stand on various International forums. Their language class them apart as elite and separate them from common man. They might be witness to grass root problems but are not part of solving them. When it will be a matter of balance of power between dynasts and professionals, the lever will tilt in favour of dynasts, for professionals will have weaker voice due to their non-connectivity with masses. This is but end of democracy.
Yes, we don’t have even the faintest chances of seeing leaders in at least two or three decades to come. Leaders with vision. With courage. With enthusiasm. With reformist urge. With idealistic ideology.