February 1, 2009

Looking Within

Filed under: Politics — Bottom's Up @ 2:08 pm

Democracy may be a lot of things, but at a basic level, it is the will of the majority. A discussion on how to avoid it’s pitfalls and to give everyone a say is a tricky topic in itself and for another day. However, democratic nations elect leaders who reflect their values. Granted, nations and peoples can be fooled from time to time, but this state of ignorance can only persist for so long.

Thus, when George Bush got elected the first time,  it was not such a big deal. Within a short time, it started becoming obvious that the administration was one of mismanagement and in many cases surreptition. Still, in 2004 the President was re-elected by the American people. Again, many reasons are given for this – the lack of viable alternatives, the belief that he was good in the things that mattered, etc. However, the bottom line was that many people were pro a hawkish non negotiable foreign policy. People were pro life and pro the economics of his day. Bush was a reflection of what the American people wanted – and it was reflective in 2004 as it was in 2000. Only by 2008, when people started seeing the error of the things they wanted their leader to do did things change. Thus the state of ignorance ended, a time of reflection and redemption arrived and people voted for a change in policies. Whether Obama is anything new or an exemplification of redemption, only time will tell. The important thing to note is that people realized the problems with their ways or priorities and voted to change their leader.

Now, let’s look at India. In India, in terms of leader we do not have a viable option. The Congress is a model of nepotism, corruption and an attitude of inaction and lethargy when it comes to Governance. The BJP on the other hand is hawkish but like a little child – immature and obstinate. It’s just as corrupt and exemplifies intolerance. Both share methods of division along various lines to stay in power. After the Mumbai attacks, people raised their voices in anger against the Government and it’s ineptitude. Pakistan was not on the people’s radar, though the policy of terrorism from across the border was not new. This writer had hoped at that time that it was our moment of reflection and maybe redemption. Alas, that was not to happen. In time, we are back to blaming Pakistan more and more and reducing our demands from the Government. We have again slipped into our comfortable chalta hai zone. While Pakistan has been less than helpful in it’s cooperation, the Indian Government has been very ineffectual in it’s handling of the diplomacy and issues. It has looked weak, more like a mock Government.  At the same time, the problem is as much of our internal systems being a mess when it comes to national security. The Congress Government has been and continues to be a bunch of blundering buffoons.

Why is this so? Why do, when we look at the upcoming elections, we see only jokers and incompetent leaders as options? Why is it that all our leaders are so bad? The take of this writer  is that they are a reflection of our value system and unless those values do not change, we will continue to come back to this. A few moments of anger would not change anything. We as a nation routinely indulge in corruption and nepotism. We have no qualms about bribing a Government officer. It’s one thing to bribe an officer when there is no other option – say you need to get your legally obtained, VAT paid raw material in your business cleared but you just cannot unless you pay a bribe. But what about the TC who we give a bribe to for a better seat on the train. Or paying bribes to customs officials at airports to bring in goods without duties. Or the atrociously large number of people who do not pay taxes or steal electricity. If we are corrupt, we would care less if our leaders are corrupt. Thus we have Jayalalitha and Laloo and Mayawati as our leaders. Or take accountability. When we as a nation consider nepotism as a fact of life, why would we object when a Shivraj Patil,one of the worst home ministers ever, continues to stay in power only because of nepotism. Only when disaster struck was he removed. Our leaders do not pay a price for such behavior since we do the same things and thus do not care enough to punish them for those detrimental traits.

Only if we as a nation first change our own attitudes towards our role in building a comunity, when we espouse values of righteousness and society, will we expect the same from our leders. And only when that happnes will come our time for redemption. Till then, Pakistan will have to do as our favorite topic of criticism. After all its easier to blame the other than to blame the mirror.


1 Comment »

  1. […] had become more and more cynical with the direction the people (and hence leaders) of India were taking her, this writer is truly […]

    Pingback by Bring out the Champagne with a dash of Sedative « Bewajeh — May 16, 2009 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

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