Dr TH Chowdary
ONE cannot but notice the progressive deterioration in the political life especially among political leaders in our country. The noble ideals of true public service, personal integrity and inspiring common people to aspire higher, to patriotism and to self-help for self-advancement are all unfortunately extinct among the political class.
Over the time, politics has become a profession for many otherwise unqualified people. It has become a very highly paying business with least investment and minimum risk. Once elected as legislator or MP, they are able to quit poverty, accumulate wealth and become overlords and owners of the parties.
By now, except the communist parties and BJP, all other parties have become nearly private; in fact proprietary. The Congress, RJD, BSP, SP, RLD, BJD, DMK, AIADMK, TDP, Trinamool Congress, Akali Dal, etc, have all become more or less properties of a family. The trend was set by the first family, the Nehru-Indira-Rajiv-Sonia-Rahul family. Rahul is sixth MP of the family. Membership of legislative and parliament and even cabinets is increasingly becoming hereditary. The so-called high-commands have degenerated into I-Commands. Any person reading newspapers can easily identify who the proprietors of these parties are.
We have abolished the system of Maharajas, Nawabs and the Zamindars. In their palaces, we have got a New Class of hereditary political feudal lords. There is an excellent study of this development of inherited political positions by the British journalist-author, Patric French. In his book, India: An Intimate Biography of 1.2 bln People, in the chapter Family Politics, information is presented about the New Class of Members of Parliament. These are called Hereditary Members of Parliament (HMPs). The tables 1, 2 and 3 give the detailed information in this regard.
Taking cue from the current power-wielding proprietors of the feudalised political parties, many castes are also moving to found their own centres of power. New persons are emerging as leaders of castes. For example in Andhra Pradesh, R Krishnaiah has emerged as leader of the backward castes (BCs). His movement, agitations and demands have become so strong that threatened by this move, Chandrababu Naidu, the I-Command of Telugu Desam Party, is obliged to call his party a party of BCs. He has promised that not less than 100 BCs would be put up by his party in the elections to the State Assembly in 2014. An SC sub caste, Madigas, has thrown up its own leader Sri Krishna Madiga. He has been demanding that since Madigas constitute 60-70 per cent of the SCs in Andhra; that per cent of the 15 per cent reservations for SCs should be set apart for the Madiga caste. He is moving to launch a party of his own with himself as leader. He will emerge as one more proprietary feudal party.
During the sun set period of the rule of the Mughals, emerged Nawabs and Rajas owing nominal allegiance to Delhi–with so many regional proprietary parties, do we not seem to be heading towards a disintegrated India, to be once again ruled by foreign elements settled in India? This indeed was the fear (and warning given) expressed by Dr Ambedkar in his speech to the concluding session of India’s Constituent Assembly in November 1949.
(The writer is director of Centre for Telecom Management & Studies)