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India’s dynasty politics needs to go

June 2, 2009

The number of sons, daughters, wives and other relatives that politicians come attached with reminds me of Bollywood. Talent takes a back seat, and nepotism rules. Whether it is the Gandhis, or the Scindias or the Karunanidhis, India is fast becoming a shining example of dynastic politics. But then political dynasties are perpetuated because voters vote them in, and then the party members elevate them to great heights.

Here are some reasons (might overlap) why voters vote for dynastic rulers:

  • There are voters who cannot/will not distinguish between the family name and the party. The family “brand” becomes synonymous with the party. Something similar to Coke being associated with colas or xerox being associated with copying. Or the Gandhis with the Congress.
  • Voters have a feudalistic mindset and feel comfortable with being “ruled” by families. In fact they start associating a powerful political family with royalty. Respect and awe mean the same thing. The family name is what inspires the awe, not individual merit.
  • Some voters actually believe that the individuals in the family are somehow better than the others standing for election.
  • There are voters so loyal to the party (ideology) that they don’t care which individual they are voting for.
  • Then there are those who vote for one of the two major parties without really caring for either the party or the individual. They want to do their bit to ensure that there isn’t a hung parliament!
  • Some voters go by “symbol”. Individuals don’t matter.
  • Some voters feel it is a practical choice to vote for someone from a political family as he/she has the right connections and the resources to get things done.
  • There are voters who vote according to caste/religion and then the relative of the previous MP is a great substitute.

Individual merit isn’t the important factor. Sure, people might vote for an individual because of the charisma, family name, clean image or whatever, but that’s not merit. Merit needs to be some work that the individual has done, his educational background, past achievements, political experience and so on.

I am not blaming the public. Detailed and objective analysis of candidate merit is not available in the media. Often the media demands money if the aspiring candidate wants press coverage. You can be sure that if he/she does get that press coverage he covets, only good things are said. Rosy pictures are painted.

Here are some of the things that I feel are necessary to help voters pick the right candidate. Some of the things seem impossible, but well, a start can be made:

  • Greater transparency from the government’s end. All information about government functioning needs to become freely available to the media,  including information on the status of various schemes, their funding and their execution, the people in-charge and so on. All this will make it easier for the voter to make the right decision about a candidate. As of now many citizens have to take recourse to the RTI Act and this takes time.
  • A vigilant press which makes a fuss about the wrongdoings of those in power. A press which does not  eulogise politicians or aspiring politicians, and/or deliberately conceal the seamy side of their characters. All facts need to be placed before the public, particularly those of family members who have got the ticket to contest because of their connections. And before an election, all candidates need to be able to find a voice through the media, not just those who pay or employ public relations agencies or those who intimidate the press or those whom the press is in awe of because of their family name.
  • More awareness campaigns on the importance of voting. Sure, there have been many such this year but most of them were meant to shame the voter into voting. We also need campaigns to make voters understand why their vote is so important. This needs to be taught in school.

Family members are surrounded by sycophants and to hell with democratic values
Once elected (and at times even before that), the dynastic ruler ensures that family members and loyalists hog the plum posts in the government. Inexperienced family members get to decide who will become a minister.

We all know that after the 2004 Lok Sabha election, Sonia Gandhi would have been made the Prime Minister if it had been constitutionally possible or if she had insisted on it. The sycophants of her party wanted her, no matter what her experience and educational background. She did become the party president, the kingmaker. A person without any political background or achievements.

Why should party members help perpetuate the dynasty?
The reason has to lie in self-interest, and not the country’s interest. Here are some reasons I have penned down:

  • Dynastic rulers often control a lot of the party money which is often stashed away in secret accounts
  • Besides resources, political families have the right connections, in politics, in business, in the judiciary and even the underworld
  • The MP’s who help bring in political dynasties are often themselves intellectually bankrupt and owe their positions to the “family”. They know that without the family they are nothing. They will do anything to keep the family in, either for their own survival or out of sheer gratitude.
  • Family members of politicians often manage to get a mass following amongst voters (reasons given above) and the chances of their winning is high and that is why they can be given tickets to contest. This is because the family is considered the brand or mascot of the party. And there is always less work that needs to be done to sell a well known brand instead of trying to launch a new brand. Launching a well known brand is also playing safe. This is why even senior members of the party go along with the family members, thinking that it will help their party win more seats
  • There is so much infighting and jealousy in the party that they prefer someone who is “above” them. They do not under any circumstances want to see one of their own succeed.
  • They are in awe of the “family” and see them as royalty.

Here are some things that can be done to prevent dynasties, again seems impossible in the present scenario:

  • Internal elections (within the party) need to be held. No one should be “nominated.”
  • All secret benami accounts need to be closed and all the money transferred to a common fund.
  • All party funding needs to become transparent and open.
  • Minimum qualifications and other criteria of merit should be adhered to for appointment of ministers
  • The dynastic ruler should insist that his relative start at the bottom rung. The country or state is not his private limited company.
  • Political parties need to make a concerted effort to develop a second and third rung of leaders and push them into the limelight, ensure they get exposure to the public. Long term planning is required for this. Anyone who tries to suppress talent has to be sidelined.

What’s wrong with a dynasty if the person has “merit?
This is an argument that some people put forward. That the heirs of political bigwigs have merit but what happens to those others out there, maybe with more merit, who have not got the opportunity at all?
People also say that lawyer kids become lawyers, doctor kids become doctors and army kids join the army so why don’t we accept political kids? For one thing, because those other guys and gals do some sort of course and pass an exam even if they pay money or use their influence to get into the course. In politics a family member of a politician gets a free pass! From criminality to licentiousness to stupidity, all is pardoned… as long as they have the family name.

If the family member earns the ticket because of previous party work it is another matter. This rarely happens and worse, once elected these family members become all-important in the party.

Some claim that there is no reason to make a big fuss about dynasties because “even America has political dynasties” (Clinton, Bush) and that “England has also had a tradition of dynasties” ( Harold Macmillan’s cabinet in the 1950s had 11 members who were related to each other). But this rings hollow. We all know that there is no culture of “nomination” in their political system. Nor is there a culture of sycophancy. Their democracy seems to work. For example Hillary Clinton lost to Obama in a fair race. In any case Clinton was a heavyweight lawyer before she joined politics, she wasn’t a nobody. And there is no dynasty now, after George Bush. It’s ended, if there ever was a dynasty. And although George W. Bush was born into a political family he earned his way up. I really do not think that there is any comparison between “dynasties” in the US and the UK and here. Perhaps we may compare ourselves with Pakistan which has relatives of politicians in all sorts of important positions.
I guess you and me know that politicians’ children and relatives in India don’t need to prove themselves.

(Note:The link to the wall street journal article was courtesy Prerna)

Related Reading: Whom to vote for? The political party or the individual?
Reasons for the outcome of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections
Our elected representatives don’t really represent us
Sheila Dixit’s win in Delhi – a new voting era in India?
The middle-classes don’t vote…slum dwellers do!
Don’t want to vote? Then register your no-vote!
All posts on Politics

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92 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2009 8:28 am

    Your suggestions are apt…

    The govt. transparent? I don’t think it will happen in my life time!

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      June 2, 2009 9:23 am

      Nita,

      I agree with you in general. But shouldn’t this argument go far beyond politics (by which I assume you mean party politics)? I would particularly like to ask you about family-owned and family-controlled corporates, which borrow from shareholders (who are theoretically the ‘owners’) but in which all the critical decisions are made by the owning family. Considering the well-established nexus between corporates and political parties, the two must be controlled simultaneously, especially in an era in which unfettered capitalism is projected as being the saviour of democracy.

      • June 2, 2009 11:19 am

        vivek, uve hit the jackpot
        always follow the money trail …
        Well biwi beta bhai bhateejawad is goin nowhere and infact its getting stronger by the day
        i think primarily the rule of law does not have sanctity in India – the high and mighty always get away

  2. June 2, 2009 9:45 am

    Very well-rounded post Nita! You have put in a lot of thought into this and it shows.

    For a cynic like me, all this is too idealistic and looks quite impossible in today’s India. I wish some of your hope rubbed off on me! :-)

  3. June 2, 2009 9:47 am

    i have mixed feelings.. though i am not averse to the family members coming in to politics and to power per se, i definitely mind it when the person in question is not up to the mark.. but then, give me one good example of a person being good and coming to the power on merits. In India, I hope I see it one day, before I die! SIGH!!

    P.S. Dr. Manmohan Singh is a good person, but not elected (U know what I mean, hai na!)

  4. June 2, 2009 10:53 am

    Nita:

    There is a reason why such a huge proportion of India’s electorate is illiterate and likely to be kept that way. Symbols, names and personalities then become tools of control.

    As for ” The family “brand” becomes synonymous with the party”, since I have Gwalior links, I instantly think of the Scindias as the interesting exception. :-)

  5. nehru mantri permalink
    June 2, 2009 11:01 am

    Nita
    I guess it is like saying the dynasties are excluded from democracy just because of who they are. One has to think of alternatives rather than bring somebody down. Competition improves a democracy. What they say here in the west often is the same thing that you say about the Bushes and Clintons ie the Nehru’s and Gandhi’s got elected fair and square though they are a dynasty and the process was democratic. Though it may seem unfair it is in the nature of things that money and knowledge begets more of the same at the expense of those who run into cyclical wants. I wouldn’t mind anyone as long as the job gets done. Idealists who enter the field with zest also tend leave it on a whim. One has to persevere in what ultimately is a thankless job. I have heard a lot of politicians speak and discuss issues and I would be dishonest if I say that I could have done or felt any different. If you complain of sloth, it is not just politicians . I do object to the people in dynasties or otherwise fill up the high level administrative and cabinet support positions with family and friends sans elections. That is travesty and can be controlled by citizen watch groups or good press. Besides in some cases like say Priyanka I think it would be insulting to paint her with the dynasty brush. Common sense tells me that she can outdo most of her dynasty IF given a fair chance.

  6. June 2, 2009 11:01 am

    Ah ! You have touched a nerve here . You will be flooded by comments from all Gandhi clan lovers and Rahul baba fans . :D He is the next ray of hope , if I am not mistaken . :D

    • nehru mantri permalink
      June 2, 2009 11:20 am

      Nope, only talking about the lady. Dont know about the guy. He reminds me of his not too smart dad :). Can’t believe they let him fly planes (dynasty name got him in) and many boarded the plane knowing he was the pilot !

  7. June 2, 2009 11:40 am

    @ Nita : The only way you are going to achieve this at the moment is if you have revoke universal franchise and only allow educated middle class to vote and even then make it restrictive by invoking a clause that only people who pay a certain amount of tax are able to vote. I think that is the way to go, rule by middle class for the middle class and on the rest of the society. Not going to happen though. The vast majority of the voters seem to love the family drama and so they keep the show running, when they get tired of it they will change the show. Not a big deal.

  8. June 2, 2009 12:57 pm

    Nita

    I dont think we can compare nepotism in politics with bollywood as most of superstars (of current and yesteryears) and other successful people have not been connected to bollywood background.

    secondaly you have not mentioned England’s royal family, who by birth are head of state for not only britain but some other countries too.

    • Vinod permalink
      June 2, 2009 7:34 pm

      England’s royal family is as much relevant as the President is in India. In other words, they are pure symbols with little to no material functions.

  9. June 2, 2009 2:45 pm

    Who the heck is saying that family values are decreasing in India? Our political leaders are grooming their families and increasing their emotional and moneatory bond. There is no one more loyal to your own family members. Hence, the chance of treachery reduces very much. We could easily guess that children of Rahul Gandhi would be leading our India in coming years. Dynasties rule in bolllywood, politics and even in business in India. Feudal thinking is embeded in our DNA, it will take time, education and awareness to counter its effect. This land of Kings, Nawabs, Nobles and Zamindaars have yet seen only 62 years of freedom and democracy with a single party rule for continuos 40 years. Long road ahead for us. Overall, Very well written post Nita.

  10. Nitin Mahajan permalink
    June 2, 2009 3:03 pm

    Nita,
    It would be undemocratic to prevent someone from running from office just because of his family.The people that vote them in to power do not seem to mind.
    Both my parents are doctors and there was enormous pressure on me to opt for medicine after my HSC.Considering any other career option was considered sacrilege.On the flip – side though, all our dinner table talks revolved around medicine and I picked up quite a bit before I finished 10th grade. Most of the younger generation politicians probably did not have a choice to opt for anything else and a wealth of information was passed down to make them seasoned politicians before they hit puberty.
    The problem I think,lies with the power structures in political parties where fair competition is not encouraged.

  11. June 2, 2009 3:31 pm

    sraboneyghose, one can hope. If it is happening elsewhere in the world it can happen here too. We need to create the right climate for it.

    Vivek Khadpekar, I am against nepotism of any sort, and ofcourse in corporate life too. I shall do a post on that one of these days.

    Mahendra, thanks. But like I said to sraboneyghose, if other countries can do it, so can we!!

    Sakhi, I think there are many people who have come up on their own merit in the government and you mentioned one of them – Manmohan Singh. You know his background. Advani too came up the hard way, and so did Renuka C. In fact if I start digging up the names I am sure I will be able to come up with a fairly long list. However, as much as I admire Manmohan Singh, he was made the PM because he was the least threatening to the family. Someone like Pranab Mukherjee would also have done a good job I think…but I am not saying that I prefer Mukherjee to Singh. All I am saying is that let there be fair competition.

    Shefaly, yeah, I too think that the politicians are of today are not interested in educating people. About Scindia, you did associate them with Gwalior didn’t you! :)

    Nehru, I too wouldn’t mind anyone who has merit, whether of a poltical family or not, but a fair chance needs to be given to everyone. That’s all I am saying. About Priyanka, she seems like a romantic figure doesn’t she. But I would prefer a grassroots worker to her anyday.

    Kislay,. if Rahul Gandhi is the next ray of hope for India it just shows what we lack!

    Odzer, middle class running the show eh. :) No harm dreaming! :)

    Vivek Mittal, this post isn’t really about bollywood but it’s not just actors I am talking about but technicians, producers, directors, stunt coordinators etc. It’s a well known fact that nepotism thrives in Bollywood, and I am not saying anything new or revolutionary. Chill. Also, the queen of england doesn’t have political power.

    yayaver, Rahul and Priyanka both I do not mind if they know their place. Work at the bottom and get treated like everybody else. Let them prove their worth. Somehow Rahul seems dumb to me, although he does seem a very decent and sweet type of guy.

    Nitin, it’s not them entering politics which is objectionable, but the way they are treated when they are in. As if they have right of way. And it’s sickening the way the media goes on and on about them. Absolutely sick! A lot of people have fallen for the images created by the media.
    The country does not belong to any family or any party. The country belongs to all Indians and we are a democracy and dynasties are against the rule of democracy. I have read an article which said that the Gandhis are encouraging the sons and daughters of politicians to enter politics and making them ministers…it’s all to pave the way for their own son/daughter. What can be worse than this!!

    • June 2, 2009 7:07 pm

      Nita:

      I did indeed but my point was this. Rajmata Scindia was an RSS/ BJP politician as are her daughters Yashodhara Raje and Vasundhara Raje whereas Madhavrao (her son) and Jyotiraditya, her grandson, are Congress through and through. Dynasties can span ideologically different spaces and as such they can promote diversity. What is needed is an iota of intelligence and some principles not just choice by rejection as Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi seem to have made.

  12. Nitin Mahajan permalink
    June 2, 2009 4:34 pm

    Nita,It is truly sickening.
    A democracy of dynasties ,for dynasties and by dynasties

  13. June 2, 2009 5:42 pm

    Indian Democracy is like a snake and ladder game.Politician’s son,daughter and all relatives get easy access to the ladder to reach the top. Those in merit get trapped by the snake. For dynasty politicians, politics is their full time profession for their living.
    As you rightly pointed out, dynasty politics can be discouraged by creating awareness to the teenagers in the school.

  14. June 2, 2009 5:48 pm

    Nita,I do not see the dynesty”system” of politics coming to an end in India.Politics is business now..it is one business which assures maximum returns on minimum investment.There has to be a people’s movement,qhich also I do not see happening.What is amazing is the fact that the most senior editors/editorials have justified the current status.May be,some of them are waiting foe RS seat?

  15. openlight permalink
    June 2, 2009 6:38 pm

    Any use in discussing this topic ?

    We all know what politics / films show is what society is and wants.

    Illiterates and muslims are the ones who vote en block and this also shows in country’s mandate, until and unless education is >90% of population, such issues can not be changed or acted upon as they are similar other issues like muslim appeasements, reservations in India.

    Even after undergoing 26/11, candle walkers and their entourage were absent from election, shoddy franchise lets opportunistic to play its tune and I am very much confident of more bomb blasts and attacks in India in future as even Maharashtra state report on itself showed.

  16. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    June 2, 2009 7:02 pm

    Some one in Berlin asked me why India was more like a monarchy despite the prime minster. He assumed Indira Gandhi to be the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi and assumed MG to have been the first prime minister after independence.

    • June 2, 2009 7:11 pm

      There is no remedy for ignorance and presumption :-) I wonder what this person thinks of Sweden and Denmark where 4 or 5 surnames make up nearly 90% of the telephone directory. Does he presume all are related to one another?

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        June 2, 2009 7:41 pm

        I was under the impression that the phenomenon of a small number of surnames making up an overwhelming majority of the population was a Korean prerogative. Am surprised to know aout Sweden and Denmark being in the same league.

        With a major part of the “surnames” meaning “so-and-so’s son”, I would have expected a fair amount of variety, exceeded possibly only by Iceland, where “so-and-so’s daughter” also prevails.

        • Vinod permalink
          June 2, 2009 9:17 pm

          I wonder what he would say to the Chans, Tans, Wongs, Teos and the Chins of China.

      • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
        June 3, 2009 4:32 am

        I disagree Shefaly. Wickström, Sjöden, Hilton, Göteberg are not in the following list:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Swedish_surnames
        Many inherited family names were originally patronymics consisting of the father’s personal name with the ending ‘-sson’. Place names are also quite common (endings include -berg, -strom, -stedt). In Iceland the daughters have father’s name+dottir as surnames. In general I think they had fewer first names…so many girls are Gudrun in Scandinavian countries. I realised it when I had to wait in Reykyavik for four hours in transit. Tho’ I may be wrong.
        Indeed many Swedish men seem to have “Gustav Adolf” as their middle name if not first (coming from their king). This is very common. Danish surnames end with “sen” unlike teh Swedish “son”. Check
        http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dnkcen/FAQ/1000surnames.html
        For Iceland check:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_name

        • June 3, 2009 10:16 am

          And which bit of what I said are your disagreeing with?

          There are, of course, rare surnames. As examples, you could take just the ABBA names. But the distribution is highly skewed to a very small number of names.

          Anyway that comment was an irrelevant aside on my part. (Note to self: resist next time.)

          • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
            June 3, 2009 6:06 pm

            The distribution curve of the Scandinavian nomenclature and the percentage of the telephone directory. But as I added, I may be wrong and you right! But from my observation here, most Scandis I know of, have the same first names but the last names are all different. It’s like the Koknastha Brahmins and Desheth Brahmins – I see lots of repetitions…so many Deshpandes, Sapres, Kelkars, Sardesais from my friend circle. Also the UP Brahmin friends I have…all either Tripathis or Misras and Guptas. But if I look at the set of Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins, I see more variation in the names altho’ the CSB is also a tiny group – don’t know if it is much tinier than the other Brahmin groups I mentioned. Probably you know more on that or Vivek is probably the genius again in this field.

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              June 3, 2009 10:39 pm

              BWE:

              Contrary to what you so flatteringly suggest, I am no genius in this field, but I do suspect that the Guptas of UP are not Brahmins but Baniyas. A more knowledgeable visitor here could endorse or refute my statement. Misra, a.f.a.i.k., is not specific to any particular caste group.

  17. Vinod permalink
    June 2, 2009 7:36 pm

    Isn’t the “Kennedy phenomenon” or the “Clinton phenomenon” also somewhat present in the US?

  18. June 2, 2009 8:31 pm

    Talking of sycophancy, the Congressmen have the tendency of attributing all their successes to the wisdom and leadership of Sonia’ji’ and Rahul ‘baba’ (Dr.Manmohan Singh hardly finds a mention) while finding scapegoats within the party cadre whenever things go wrong. Sadly, such a sycophancy and dynastic politics is not just limited to this party but is deep rooted in the Indian political landscape across the parties of all hues and colours(DMK presenting the best or rather, the worst example of the same in the present context).

    It was not surprising when one of the blogger praised the junta’s mandate for electing the youngsters like Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora and Jyotiraditiya Scindia in addition to the ‘prince’ Rahul Gandhi. In this mandate, they find the victory of youngistan. However, such people fail to understand, as rightly said by you and commented by me on that blogger’s post, “..These princes may be good at their work, however there are many others who might be better but don’t get a chance because they are ‘lesser born’. True victory of ‘Youngistan’ will take place when just any youngster can dream of making it big in politics without the backing of their family names.”

  19. mom permalink
    June 2, 2009 8:59 pm

    nita…u have left out another very significant aspect that sways the mind of the voters..doling out money for their votes. The established political family can afford to ‘buy’ the votes and that’s the major deciding factor.

  20. vasudev permalink
    June 2, 2009 9:22 pm

    who else was there?

  21. Naveen permalink
    June 2, 2009 9:54 pm

    People have to be given their due, even if they come through family connections. Yes, families get undue advantage. But merit in politics, I believe, is overrated.

    Chandra Babu Naidu came so far in politics only because of NTR family connections. But he is the best that Andhra ever knew. NTR on the other hand, came to power by himself, but for his acting skills. The only merit that brought Renuka Chowdhury into the political limelight was her powerful vocal cords and the controversial habit of beating-up policemen in duty. Not sure about Priyanka’s romantic figure but she is a Red Cross volunteer in Delhi slums from more than a decade.

    Dynastic politics are not limited to India, though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_families

    Now, if we compare two leaders that left a mark in US politics. Bob Kennedy was John F. Kennedy’s brother, an incredible leader loved by many; while Richard Nixon, who got to the highest post all by himself, was the filthiest and foul-mouthed president, America ever knew. You decide.

  22. vasudev permalink
    June 2, 2009 10:53 pm

    beautiful picture. reminds me of the movie’ close encounters of the third kind’

  23. vasudev permalink
    June 2, 2009 10:58 pm

    india was always dynasty led. the mughals and britishers merely integrated some few hundred odd minor chieftains/kings and their clan and created india. democracy did nothing to get the dynasty habit out of the minds of the people.

  24. June 3, 2009 12:48 am

    The amazing part is that even the most educated people are biased towards parties and dynasty rules.

  25. June 3, 2009 11:33 am

    Brilliant post Nita. And practical suggestions. I feel even if they cannot be implemented at one go, an aware voter (you mention transparency as one of your suggestions) will be able to make much better decisions.

    There is also this fear amongst voters that they have very little to choose from, so a wider array of candidates need a much wider coverage, not as a favour to the candidate but for the sake of the voter.

  26. June 3, 2009 12:43 pm

    Nita,
    Actually as per today’s political scenario in India we see the “individuals” in a few of the political dynasties are quite capable than many others, otherwise what explains Election’09 results (mind you its a countrywide result which includes “educated” urban areas as well)where “democratic” parties like the Left and BJP fared so badly…Its just that they could not provide a better alternative…Left has been ruling Bengal for more than 3 decades yet there’s no political dysnasty there but they are getting ousted becuase of “bad” governance ….and talking specifically of Congress history has proved Congress was always “strong” under the Gandhis(remember Sitaram Kesri, PV Narishma Rao era). So ultimately if “individuals” in a dynasty led party seem to fare better than “individuals” in a non-dynasty party, what does the Indian voter do…they sing “Jai Ho” :D….
    Hope the “non-dynasty” parties look into this post & comments :) and provide us a ‘better’ option in 5 yrs ….

  27. June 3, 2009 1:18 pm

    sad development for a healthy democracy…this dynasty politics.
    No way out as per now if there is no complete system change..

  28. June 3, 2009 5:09 pm

    Nita, exellent!
    When i read your “political” posts I often ask myself why don’t you go into politics? It is a dirty business, but with people like you it might improve. The way you have now written all these ideas how to change the system, it is so good!..

  29. June 3, 2009 6:11 pm

    OldSailor, as you said it’s a profession, a calling and often a good profession to make money!

    B K Chowla, when you say that “it is one business which assures maximum returns on minimum investment” you have hit the nail on the head! Just yesterday I read about how Maharashtra politicians distributed the largesse given by the government to farmers to their own relatives!

    openlight, there is no proof that it was the candle watchers were absent. That is what some say, because of the low turnout. There is also another belief, that a lot of Muslims did not vote this time because they were fed up with the present congress govt and there were no other good candidates. There was also news that fewer people from the slums in Mumbai came out to vote this time…all this is speculation ofcourse. No one knows exactly why the mumbai turnout was low. Whoever I talked to across Mumbai said that there were more well to do people voting this time round.

    Bombay wadapav eater, a lot of foreigners think that Indira Gandhi is related to Mahatma Gandhi. One would wonder, isn’t this a coincidence. Actually it isn’t. Indira Gandhi married Feroze Khan whose father was a Muslim and mother a Parsee, but to avoid the inter religious problems, Mahatma Gandhi suggested to Nehru to get his name changed. Some say Feroze Khan’s grandmother was a Gandhi but this is considered to be a lie, a cover-up. The Gandhis have always been ashamed of their Muslim heritage.

    Shefaly, true when you say that “Dynasties can span ideologically different spaces” and I think that is better than then being in the same party. I believe the son of Karunanidhis first wife (she is dead now) has joined the AIDMK . About Varun Gandhi the BJP is promoting him precisely because he is from the Gandhi family, as a kind of opposition to the Gandhis of the Congress. I think it’s a big mistake because Varun Gandhi is not suitable, for any party. Rahul seems like an angel compared to Varun!

    Vinod, the Kennedys are not in control of the party now and I think it was so temporarily. And no, Clintons certainly have not founded any dynasty. Hillary is someone even without the politics.

    Vipul Grover, I almost mentioned that in my post, about how the media goes on and on narrating the so-called achievements of the Gandhis, which are usually the achievements of some other senior party member. And when something goes wrong, find a scapegoat. An example of that is Rahul Gandhi taking credit for deciding to go it alone in UP (it was not his decision alone) and Sonia getting Bhardwaj sacked for the Quattrochi affair.

    mom, yes you are right. I should have mentioned that. There are loads of people who vote for money. Thanks for mentioning it.

  30. June 3, 2009 6:31 pm

    Vasudev, but the time has to come when the dynasty evil is cut out and thrown away! One has to first start with wanting it to go away and only then it will start to! And about the picture, thanks. :)

    Naveen, if someone is so sure that they are good, they can wait their turn in the line of merit!

    Amit, amazing isn’t it. I have heard people rant and rave about reservations in educational institutions because it affects them directly in some way but they are okay with something worse, family reservations in politics for the best and most powerful jobs!! In a democracy which is supposed to a fair representation of the people!

    Indian Homemaker, thanks.As you said, the public needs a choice. We have to start with awareness which is that dynasties are the opposite of a meritocracy.

    Dhiman, there is no denying that people from political families get the votes. More and better candidates from the wide diversity of the Indian population need to be brought up and encouraged. It’s a slow process but it happens in other thriving democracies and I don’t see why it cannot happen here.

    noni, we can hope!

    Axinia, thanks. :) If my dad was a politician I had a chance! :lol:

  31. June 3, 2009 11:58 pm

    I like the idea of internal elections. It will be similar to the one in US where they select their presidential nominations. But then they can come to an understanding and select the leader unanimously. The whole thing can be staged as an eye wash. In India, it is very tough to make it work. I think People should start looking at voting qualified people, but that begs a lot of questions too. If the dynastic descendant is qualified he/she can very well contest fairly, but not otherwise.

    Dinesh Babu, it is in our Indian constitution, internal elections. For example all chief ministers of states have to be elected by the state legislature but this rarely happens. What is happening today, this culture of nominations is illegal and unconstitutional. – Nita.

  32. June 4, 2009 9:11 am

    A very well thought of and organised post Nita !

  33. June 4, 2009 3:35 pm

    Here’s a question: How do we search ?

  34. June 4, 2009 7:30 pm

    The root cause of probelm is inside the parties. All party are structured in more feudal arrangement than a ladder type democratic way. The decisions are in the hand of few and you need upper hands to reach a crucial position.You save my ass and i will save yours is the mantra of the political good will among party members untill a deep rivalry is brought between them. The success of congress is originated through lot of fusion of new blood through party elections at grass root level.

  35. Joss permalink
    June 5, 2009 4:54 pm

    Great post, Nita. Yes, these Indian dynasties are mind-boggling, and I can’t understand how they maintain themselves for so long. They all have exceptional people starting them off though, whose inspiration and creativity have surged through the generations. Their own families wanted to follow in their footsteps, but actually that is a small thing compared to the effect they had on millions of other families. Gandhi and Kapoor inspired the entire nation.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      June 5, 2009 5:59 pm

      @ Joss:

      //Gandhi and Kapoor inspired the entire nation.//

      What Kapoor?

      • June 6, 2009 4:38 am

        @vivek, i think he is talking about raj kapoor family…

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          June 6, 2009 6:05 am

          @yayaver,

          No comments (Nita will banish me for using foul language).

          I suppose, then, that the Gandhi in reference is the one that was killed doing rash aerobatics over Safdarjung airport, or the new people’s representative from Pilibhit?

          God save India!

          • June 6, 2009 7:57 am

            Vivek, God is busy saving the Queen and has no time for India. ;)

    • June 6, 2009 9:43 am

      Joss, thanks. But I need to say that even if you are talking cinematically Raj Kapoor had many contemporaries who were as legendary as him, like Dilip Kumar and Ashok Kumar, not to mention women like Madhubala and Nargis. However, if you talking of dynasties, then no one except perhaps shammi and shashi kapoor (can’t count them as dynasties as they were brothers of RK) are any match for RK. Yes they inspired his progeny, but they have not achieved the greatness.
      About Gandhi, I presume you are talking about Mahatma Gandhi who is not related in any way to the present Gandhi family. In fact even Nehru was not a Gandhi. As for the actual Gandhis, Indira Gandhi downwards, I have little respect for them and some of them like sanjay and varun I positively loath.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        June 10, 2009 6:21 am

        Nita,

        //…even if you are talking cinematically Raj Kapoor had many contemporaries who were as legendary as him, like Dilip Kumar and Ashok Kumar, not to mention women like Madhubala and Nargis.//

        You are making this statement in the context of Joss’s assertion that “Gandhi and Kapoor inspired the entire nation”, yet you cannot think of names beyond bollywood.

        I think anyone who has a serious, holistic historical perspective on Indian cinema (not just cheap, popular, third-rate Hindi cinema) and its role in shaping an Indian identity (which I would definitely consider as an inspirational quality), would certainly think beyond the names you mention — of directors such as Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, of studios such as New Theatres and Prabhat.

        And of the seven names that you mention, five were mere ‘stars’ — the least relevant and the most dispensable part of the setup if you are thinking of film as anything more than bum-shaking and boy-chasing-girl-around-tree (at age 40-plus) entertainment. The actions I have last mentioned are not (I hope) the stuff that inspires nations!

    • June 6, 2009 9:48 am

      @ Joss

      \\Gandhi and Kapoor inspired the entire nation.\\

      I’m against dynasty kind of things,and as said by many commentators here, Gandhis didn’t need to prove themselves before becoming heads of india’s biggest political party, and even after some failures their leadership was not questioned….. though i would not say that Gandhis have been that bad, afterall Congress under Sonia Gandhi has reinvented itself, from the dismal state of affairs of the 1990’s where it was under the likes of sitaram keshris..

      The Kapoors however have been instrumental in building a great film industry and the show man Raj Kapoor had taken Indian films to the international level..he was as popular in USSR as in India, and his succeeding generations have taken his legacy forward..(thouh the most recent of their clan doesn’t seem that good)

      I am not opposed to any kind of “nepotism” in film industries.. as any individual HAS to prove himself/herself to succeed, and no one can sustain without talent.. Though these people get breaks very easily, but it’s the same as sons of lawyers becoming lawyers etc..One always gets advantage of one’s background, that’s obvious..

  36. June 5, 2009 5:59 pm

    In 1984 (if I’m not wrong) I was in India, soon after the sweeping victory of Rajiv Gandhi. I was writing for a small Roman newspaper about international politics at that time, and I wrote about a sort of ‘feudal obsession’ that ruled Indian hearts. I took that phrase from Indian newspapers. I meant dynasties, of course. I had great respect for the Gandhi dynasty, but I agree that dynasties mean unjust exclusion of worthy people. I would add that these dynasties are everywhere. Italy is ruled by them in all fields.

  37. June 6, 2009 9:28 am

    Nita, I have given this a bit of thought and find this post a bit problematic. The central problem is that you seem to assume from the start that ‘dynastic politics’ is a very bad thing and must be avoided at all costs. But does experience and actual data bear this assumption out ?

    Well, lets check. Bihar and UP have not had dynastic politics for the last two decades, but are the most backward states in social and economic development. States like AP , Orissa and TN have had/are having dynasties and have done much better. This is not a completely telling example as there were plenty of other factors affecting things, but it does show that dynasty need not affect development directly.

    In fact this NYT article might be the best counter-example one can come up with to your assumption,
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/world/asia/15japan.html

    Here’s a quote from that article,
    “Of the past seven prime ministers here [in Japan], all but one were the sons or grandsons of former lawmakers.”

    Again I am not saying dynastic politics is a good thing, but I am saying that too simply assume it is a bad thing is incorrect.

    • June 6, 2009 9:38 am

      Vikram, I was wondering why no one has contradicted me so far! :) I guess I do think dynasties are bad. I am talking only in the context of India and the way the dynasty system works here. As the nyt article pointed out the dynasty politics in Japan is being criticized but I really don’t want to compare ourselves to Japan because the politics here is completely different. I have not studied the Japanese system but I am sure that meritocracy is more important there than in India. And yes, I am against dynasty politics for the simple reason is because it assumes that a person whose father is doing an x job, his son or daughter is equally capable. Everything in me just rebels against this idea. Frankly I find it revolting! Merit has to be the mantra if we have to have a fair society and if a politician’s son is far better at politics than a doctor’s son, so be it. He has to prove himself before he/she can take on an important position in the government or lead a party. And as for your example of Bihar, frankly I do not think that just because we don’t have dynasties there means why the state is dong badly! Sorry, I don’t see the logic of it.

      • Naveen permalink
        June 6, 2009 10:36 am

        Nita,

        I agree with you about the merit part, only if it meant social work or political experience. But how can education or experience in an academic field be a political ‘merit’? There are many people in India like Subramanian Swamy, who are academically brilliant but in politics -clowns.

        • June 6, 2009 10:47 am

          Naveen it depends on the job but I agree that political experience is important and in fact critical in most of the posts. However one should ideally have both. For example a sports minister could have had some sports experience as well as political experience and a finance minister needs to be very very sound in economics. Usually the latter does happen and a clown cannot survive in the finance ministery! :) However even for other portfolios I think some background is necessary in that field but one needs to balance it with the political experience. I am totally against a political newbie being treated like a “prince.” Also, I also think a minimum qualification of high school graduate should be made compulsory for all political posts at the central level at least. This rule can be broken only in exceptional circumstances. Anyway these are my views.

        • June 7, 2009 10:23 pm

          Excellent article and and excellent comment Nita. Actually, I am not for or against nepotism. I feel that in a democratic system, the country can get only a leader who is the average of all the people put together. Invariantly, that’s how democracy works. Did you notice how many people applauded the congress victory because it was the lesser evil, comparatively? If we have come to such a situation, we rather accept that people in the top are actually doing nothing, and whatever India has become and is going to become is because of the work that people in the middle and the bottom have done. At the best, people in the top have the power to interfere in the processes and interfere in things, to achieve their own ends. (What else could we expect from a minister of communications for example, who knew nothing about communications).

          I think India will do very well if the political class stopped interfering. (This applies to certain bureaucrats too, in the public sector where accountability is totally absent). They need not do anything spectacular.

          Destination Infinity

          • Naveen permalink
            June 8, 2009 1:56 am

            DI, so what kind of knowledge of a train engine or railway logistics would qualify one to be a ‘worthy’ Railways minister? A labor union lawyer would do fine as a Home Minister, as much as a finance minister -if he is willing to learn (and importantly still not old enough to learn). Microsoft India hired someone from an automobile engine company to lead its software business, 4 years back. He is doing just fine. I think that a politician, like a business manager, need not always be very familiar with the domain, atleast to get into it. The rest will obviously depend on him.

      • June 6, 2009 10:49 pm

        Nita, the core problem of Indian politics is the lack of good, competent and inspiring leaders. This paucity is very much the result of the fact that the last generation of Indians who were good lawyers, teachers and businessmen avoided politics like the plague (for a comparison see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States_Congress#Occupational_background)

        And now after the Mumbai attacks, the response of many in the middle class was to arrogantly contest Lok Sabha seats rather than plan and stand in the local elections and build up power and reputation (see http://www.indiatogether.org/2009/may/ksh-womenpol.htm).

        And so in the absence of capable leaders, I dont see why having a son or daughter brought up in politics standing for elections is a bad thing, it just might be that Priyanka Gandhi at this point of time understands Indian society and politics than most ‘professionals’ of this country.

        Overall, I think the demonization of ‘dynastic politics’ stems more from the frustration of the middle classes to affect the state inspite of its self-perception of its centrality in Indian life (reinforced by the media and pop culture).

        India’s middle classes will have to do a lot of work over the next generation to have a legitimate say in the actions of the state or we might just resort to backing authoritarianism and disenfranchising the poor like the case is in China.

        Initiatives like Jaya Prakash Narayan’s Lok Satta party give me the most hope. They are slowly building a base and just won their first Vidhan Sabha seat in Andhra.

    • rags permalink
      June 6, 2009 5:16 pm

      There is no relationship between T.N., Orissa and A.P. doing well and their dynasty politics. A.P. and T.N. have had a head start as far as development was concerned compared to U.P. and Bihar. Other factors like literacy rate, industrialization play a more important role in a state’s development than dynasty politics. All that dynasties ensure is some sort of a stability when power passes from dad to son instead of having multiple power centres.

      • June 6, 2009 10:52 pm

        Rags my point was that dynasty need not negatively affect development, and thats why people keep voting for them. Once people feel that the development is lagging behind other states (esp. in states with high number of local language newspapers like Andhra and TN) they will kick whoever is in power out.

  38. June 6, 2009 4:01 pm

    ya! really nita ji, many times i also think same. But what we can do!
    In this the media play a big roll. Because any one is leader than the media coverage his all family and announce his son/daughter not only his follower and also next leader of the state and country. It’s really a big fault by media. Because they all do with knowing his activities…but they only bring his children in front of public as there next leader.

  39. ajith permalink
    June 6, 2009 6:52 pm

    nita
    v well written post. but the suggestions u’ve written wont be implemented by any party in india let alone by congress any time in near future.

    i did vote for congress this time though i hate dynasties bcoz of two reasons – one – a hung parliment is beneficial for none but the politicians. crores of rupees will be exchanged on horse trading n we end up with a weak inefficient govt whose priority will be always appeasement of every supporting segment. they will have hardly time intention or space to do some real governence. this we’ve seen many times in past. when they r all fed up with internal politics the hung govt will be suddenly pulled down n our hard earned money goes down the drain again with a mid term general election.
    secondly i hate to see a party whose existence is only based on challenging the secular thread of India in power at central. i heard varun’s speech. his own mother shld’ve hit him with a broom afterwards n thrown him out of the house but in this NDTV interview Advani came out looking so hypocritical supporting varun without openly saying so. he was trying v hard to please the fundamentalists but had no guts to say he supports varun’s views. well to me dynasty politics or not Rahul and Manmohan Singh any day looked like better options.
    am sure many first time voters would’ve thought the same.
    i would love to see a democratically elected more capable candidate leading congress than the Gandhi bachoos but tht’s a distant dream.

    But as of now when i vote i look at the options n choose the lesser devil – a secular party (psyudo may be as intellectuals say but still they dont shout at anyone’s face based on the religion you r born into u’ve a say or not in this country!) a steady govt who is more right wing n development oriented (not parties which look upto China for guidance n whose loyalty to this country is doubtful) and a prime minister who is literate intelligent matured n represent the new generation Indians (not some one as crass as mayawathi or dev gowda or jayalalitha)
    ofcourse congress comes with its own set of dyansty rules sycophants corruption n minority appeasement but what are our options here?

    • vasudev permalink
      June 6, 2009 8:44 pm

      ajith

      you heard varun’s speech (very good…i did not) but i read the newspaper report on why varun ‘spake thus’.

      the immediate co-relation to my own well being got transferred thus in my mind:

      ” i am a ‘timid’ son of my parents and my younger brother bullies me. not just that…he brings in his friends also to bully me and he threatens me of ‘annihilation positive’ unless i tow his line. totally concerned about my personal welfare i go to a friend and tell him the bad news (’cause, my parents dote on my muscular, younger bully brother). since my friend cares for my health and is concerned but powerful, he issues boxes the ear of my brother and my clever bro cries ‘murder’ and my parents wake up and create havoc for me and my friend by telling the ‘unthinking’ all and sundry to kick my ass!

      now do i have to tell ‘you’ who all ‘kicked my ass’?

    • June 6, 2009 9:53 pm

      ajith, two points:

      1. Why this obsession with avoiding a hung parliament? Is a bad government better than a hung parliament and re-election? Sure, it may cost money, but that’s how a democracy works.

      2. What secularism are you talking about? Do your research and there are plenty of incidents that clearly show Congress and left’s appeasement of minority religions and nurturing them as vote-banks. That’s not secularism, that’s anti-secularism. Let’s not pervert the definitions here in an Orwellian fashion, shall we? Otherwise it’s difficult to have an honest discussion.

    • openlight permalink
      June 9, 2009 1:19 pm

      For more than 40 years this country had been ‘ruled’ by congress and it was not ‘hung’ but due to its appeasement (both caste and religion based), smaller factions have nestled to front.

      What you see today is result of divisive policies of congress being followed from nehru times.

      What nehru, a womaniser did —
      – Told soldiers to be farmers as, reduced forces on border for the lust of peace prize, and had an ‘HUMILIATING’ defeat from china in 1962 whose, details are still not public due to severe public backlash to congress.

      – Introduced reservation and mandal commission for divisive caste based politics instead of strengthening education and health

      – Introduced huj subsidy, which is akin to jaziya that we all hindus pay to muslims to go to haj

      – And now congrees with sachar committee is trying to do the same with muslims.

      Congress has been the root of corruption whhich started in the ‘jeep scandal’ of 1948, Nehru gave more power to administration and made the armed forces and police its slave and result is there to see, only corruption and yes sir to ministers.

      In any case, more such activities are being followed by granting cbse equivalence to mosques study, and I am very sure that bulk of social upliftment funds will be sucked in by muslims.

      Even in our constituency, congress candidate paid in crores to a muslim candidate of BSP to garner muslim community votes and that what people like you ant, tomorrow you will be taxed to pay for muslims and their welfare.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        June 9, 2009 9:01 pm

        openlight,

        You are entitled to your own views and to express them, but please get your facts right:

        The Mandal Commission was set up about 15 years after Nehru’s death, by a Janata Party government.

        The Haj subsidy began in the early 1970s (more than six years after Nehru’s death), when the oil crisis caused recurring losses to the Moghul Line, a subsidiary of the Shipping Corporation of India, which operated a Haj service.

        And I don’t think Nehru’s personal life, real or imagined, has any bearing on the other points you make. To bring it into the discussion reflects poor taste.

        • vasudev permalink
          June 9, 2009 9:26 pm

          vivek…

          your point is relevant and clinical, openlight’s is truthful and said with feeling.

          both of your views are thoroughly thought provoking.

          amen!

          • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
            June 10, 2009 5:35 am

            vasudev,

            ‘Truth’ is often, I know, subjective, judgmental and value-based. Openlight’s specific points which I have singled out for comment do not, I am afraid, fall in that category of truth. They are about plain events and their dates. And I maintain that his sweeping statement about Nehru’s private life is irrelevant to the context, uncalled for and in poor taste.

  40. June 6, 2009 7:32 pm

    “All facts need to be placed before the public, particularly those of family members who have got the ticket to contest because of their connections. ”

    Yes facts and not news :)

  41. ajith permalink
    June 7, 2009 12:57 pm

    vasudev
    i dont think on whatever grounds u can justify someone who shouts ‘all muslims go to pakistan n leave india for hindus’ – India is not a hindu country it’s a democratic secular country n am one of those indians who would not like to see that status changed in my life time. varun is an immature arrogant undemocratic fundamentalist politician who’s gone after his (dead but not bemoaned) father too much for his own good.
    And standing by a monster like him did not work well for BJP in this election.
    Amit i dont think a hung parliment will bring any great democratic values to the forefront except more power centres n black money exchanges n uncertainity which all can affect india’s development in a global scenario. i’d personally prefer a single majority party to govern peacefully for 5 yrs instead of a dog eats dog scene playing out in Delhi everyday.
    about your point no -2 , am no advocate of the kind of secularism played out by congress or left parties but i will still choose it over the religious card played out by BJP or Muslim league.
    Again it’s all my personal views.
    Thks for the space Nita.
    Am a regular reader n luv ur blog.

    • vasudev permalink
      June 8, 2009 12:02 am

      ajith…

      not to argue but does secularism and democracy mean:

      1) minorities can bash majority and usurp their space but majority cannot protest?
      2) how much of conversions are going on into christianity but are hindus converting christians/muslims as part of a conceived agenda?
      3) what will happen if india becomes hindu minority/muslim majority? would you still enjoy your democratic secularism?
      4) what happened at pilbhit before varun made that speech? pilbhit is muslim majority and muslims were reported (cannot vouch for but my info comes from the TOI)…were reported to be harrasing and bullying the minority hindus. now india is still 60% hindus (fast depleting) but is there any minority bashing and bullying happening here?

      please ponder awhile.
      thanks

      • June 8, 2009 5:45 am

        Also, why is Congress pandering to minorities based on religion not a “religious card” but BJP pandering to Hindus is one? Either both are “religious cards” or neither is.

      • June 8, 2009 5:46 am

        The above comment was for vasudev.

        • June 8, 2009 7:50 am

          Correction: that should read: “the above comment was for ajith” and not for vasudev. :)

    • June 8, 2009 5:43 am

      “Amit i dont think a hung parliment will bring any great democratic values to the forefront except more power centres n black money exchanges n uncertainity which all can affect india’s development in a global scenario. i’d personally prefer a single majority party to govern peacefully for 5 yrs instead of a dog eats dog scene playing out in Delhi everyday.”

      Ajith, you mean the kind of scenario that happened when Congress wanted to confirm the US-nuclear deal and money exchanged hands? :)
      But I guess we will always have apologists for Congress and their dirty tactics, and people willing to turn a blind eye to Congress wading in the gutter, yet hold others to very high standards.

      “about your point no -2 , am no advocate of the kind of secularism played out by congress or left parties but i will still choose it over the religious card played out by BJP or Muslim league.”

      False dilemma. There’s always a third option of demanding true secularism.

  42. Sudhir Jatar permalink
    June 7, 2009 9:24 pm

    Dynasties are important in crafts because these are generally traditionally by the sons and daughters. It is said that Shah Jahan not only cut off the fingers of all the craftsmen of Taj Mahal but also ‘ordered’ that they will not have any proginy!!
    Politics does not fall in the category of crafts unless one labels politics as a refuge for the corrupt and thieves. These qualities are inherited to a large extent. The adages, “politics is the last refuge of a scoundrel” and ‘politics is the last refuge of a vote bank secularist/communalist’ come to mind.
    Is bravery dynastic? The answer is perhaps ‘Yes’. That is because one has to live up to the courage shown by our ancestors if one is in the profession of arms.

  43. ajith permalink
    June 8, 2009 5:28 pm

    vasudev
    you are sounding v much a like a blind supporter of BJP n i cant argue this point any further than say majority victimisation is not the real or serious threat India faces right now. and when i go to voting booth rectifying the majority victimisation, if there is any, is probably the last thing in my mind.
    anyway each to his own.
    amit
    i didnt understand what u meant by “False dilemma. There’s always a third option of demanding true secularism.”
    who is giving us this option? or where do we demand this? am just this middle class guy who goes to vote once in 5 yrs n when i do tht i can only weigh the options available in a voting booth and choose the lesser of the devils!!
    if there is a set of secularists who are true to the spirit of constitution of India, am sure to give them votes and money. but atleast in my constituency i only found a set of opportunists politicians who will do anything to win n enjoy the fruits of power. but i believe in voting – it’s the only tool to keep a democracy alive so i prioritise according to my understanding n my ideologies………

    • June 8, 2009 9:09 pm

      “who is giving us this option? or where do we demand this? “

      ajith, while I agree that the options are limited, that does not stop someone from stating their views – that’s how more options come into play. I also don’t think of the democratic process as a one-way road where voters are passive and cannot make a demand – sure the process is not easy, and success is not always guaranteed, and it does involve citizens spending some time (about the same time/week they spend watching a movie) researching issues and getting involved in the democratic process.

      As to who will give that option – the same people who gave the option to those who were opposed to Shah Bano getting equal rights. Start with yourself – there was no Lok Satta party five years ago.

    • vasudev permalink
      June 8, 2009 10:17 pm

      by saying which you have argued that only bjp supporters can think rationally (based on cause and effect) whereas all others (supporters of cong/commi etc) are no-brainers and act blindly.

      thank you. but i do not support bjp. bjp is not a hindu party unlike the muslim league is a muslim party. you find muslims and christians ranking high in bjp whereas you don’t even find a lower grade soldier (party worker of hindu/christian origin) in muslim league. so how can i expect bjp to achieve anything hindutva?

      i, to the best of my belief, am only interested in the long term well-being of myself. since i like the freedom offered by the hindu majority india i am concerned about keeping it that way. i know a muslim majority india will never be democratic or secular because a muslim majority india with an overwhelming muslim mandated muslim party in power would throw the constitutional laws into fire and declare islamic law or martial law. that…is my concern.

      • openlight permalink
        June 9, 2009 1:26 pm

        an correction –
        Even hindu majority state has an different set of laws for the ‘victimised’ muslim community which has been acepted by all ‘secular’ parties especially congress which ceeded to their demands in shah bano case.

        further, india is no different than taliban (for muslims) both follow shariat and take jaziya (inIndia it is called huj subsidy) from non-muslims so for indian muslims they are enjoying all benefits by their ‘secular’ political parties for decades.

      • openlight permalink
        June 9, 2009 1:31 pm

        and the majority is left to fend for himself, and the best retreat is to leave the country as most of the present youth are blinded by media who enjoy discs/pubs/only tv news/candlelight walk but are totally cut off from the reality.

        These youths show their secular mindset by harping for muslim victims of gujrat riots but are unaware of marad/mau riots or even that hindus were also killed/raped/looted or are victims of gujrat riots not to miss burnt alive

  44. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    June 10, 2009 8:32 am

    openlight:

    //…most of the present youth are blinded by media who enjoy discs/pubs/only tv news/candlelight walk but are totally cut off from the reality.//

    “candlelight walk”??? I assume you mean candlelight wake. If you do, my dear friend, your overall statement could not be farther from the truth. All the things you condemn are reality. The wakes in particular, staged against the spectacular backdrop of British Raj monuments, mean so much business — especially in Delhi and Mumbai — for ‘brands’ such as Fab India. They push up the sales of gleaming white kurtas (and probably pyjamas too, but the TV cameras don’t dwell on those) and white candles (we gauche, up-country types wear any damn colours and bring red, green and purple candles in uncoordinated sizes, so even the flames don’t look as nice and choreographed as they are expected to). And not to forget delicate, gold-framed spectacles. Their sales too hit a high when there is a wake, especially if the late lamented happens to be one of the beautiful people.

  45. August 28, 2010 3:57 pm

    The malady of the Dynasty Rule is, their parent rulers’ crimes were buried conveniently. If not Indra Gandhi become the ruler, Nehru`s blunder of his External Ministry (China/Tibet/Pak) would have been revealed and may be corrected/amended the policy a long time back. If Rajiv not became the P.M, Her Nagarwala scandal, Emergency crime and the Sikh tragedy might have been exposed to the public and come to the books. If Sonia remained the indoor, Rajiv`s Bofors gun might have blown on the Congress party and Quttarochchi might be in the Indian jail or at least in the CBI net. May be our P.M. Manmohan Singh might have taken some positive steps to bring back our 75, 00, 00 Crores of black money lying in the Foreign Bank as he had promised in the election time.

    • Tulshidas Singha permalink
      August 31, 2010 2:24 am

      @Nita
      Not only I,previous commentators nd even the blockheaded sycophant self-centric INC leaders but also a vast majority of voters would agree with you.But we are left helpless without any suitable option.It was shameful to the INC veteran leaders more than that of us.It was the dynasty that brought back them into power and anyhow gave us a stable govt.
      I’ve little doubt about prince to be enthroned in the next turn and this time Manmohan Singh is only there to pave the way for baba.Mukherjee was not a cardiac patient and not so much dependable in this respect.
      People really don’t want Mayaboti,Mulayam ,Devgoura and communal leaders as Prime Minister.Then what’s the substitute except accepting dynasty? Only remains the left coalition with the least possibility.
      Next time,I request you,shed your sweat for a better cause,e.g.-what was the ancestral source behind the huge accumulation of property of the Gandhi family?Thank you so much.

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