Corruption among politicians is a harsh reality in India. At such times, only inner values such as self-contentment and trust can deliver peace in the country.
In today’s democracies, we, the citizens, elect some individuals to represent us, to talk on our behalf. In this way, political leaders embody the beliefs, wishes, and will of populations and act as citizen’s representatives.
However, nowadays we see a crisis of confidence between citizens and politicians, as a result of which there is mass discontent and a lack of trust in many countries. Undoubtedly, the role of politicians in conducting the affairs of the state, for running the government and for ministering the polity is crucial. In fact, there is no alternative to it in a democracy. Democracy in India, as Pandit Nehru said, in early 1950s, while addressing college students and the intelligentsia, is not the best form of government but the best available form of government. Here, the representatives of the people have to do so many things — make laws, run the internal affairs of a state according to the will of the people, devise and enact the state policy for education, human resource development, social welfare, commerce, trade & industry, environment, rural and urban development, transportation, communications, health, multi-media, arts and culture, science and technology, agriculture, natural resources, national economy or finance, accounts, excise and taxation and so on. They also plan and assure defence of the country against external aggression and security against internal criminal elements and insurgency, safeguard the interests of the country, vis- a-vis other countries, regulate the relationships of the state with other states, maintain law and order, national solidarity and public peace. They have to resolve the conflicts between diverse or antagonistic interest of different communities and sectional demands of various groups and classes, provide relief in the case of natural calamities and govern all the internal and external affairs of the state. All of these show the importance of the work of politicians and their responsibilities.
All these are inter-connected and require coordination, mutual consultation and teamwork. If there is mutual bickering and there is lack of team spirit, then the affairs of the state and the people are bound to suffer. If the ministerial seats are constantly shaking and the game of musical chairs is always on the nation, it will certainly lag behind other countries on all indexes. These are precisely the reasons why even after seven decades of independence, India has been left far behind by nations like Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea and even Japan which had to rebuild its shattered economy after the Second World War. Now it has become one among a dozen affluent nations whereas India still remains way behind. It is because of disunity, dishonesty, lack of sense of responsibility, poor management of our resources, utter selfishness and lack of a spirit of service for the nation that has led our country to its present plight.
There are two kinds of politicians. One — genuine, patriotic, self-sacrificing or a saintly politician, who has an inner drive to plunge into politics because he is tired with a vision. He wants to work for the poor, the exploited and the neglected. He may work for noble causes such as freedom, human rights, justice and dignity of women. Two — there may be politicians who stealthily enter the portals of politics or gate-crash into it for power, position, prestige, privileges or for amassing wealth without any moral scruples. The latter are over-ambitious and make all attempts to capture levers of power for selfish goals or for narrow interests of a class, community, party or coterie.
Many reports have been published about the links of some politicians with the mafia, the underworld, criminals and musclemen. One finds that charge-sheets have been filed alleging not only economic offences by front-rank politicians but legal proceedings for such heinous crimes like mass killings are also going on in courts. Also, there have been reports of booth-capturing, abductions and even killings during the elections to State Assemblies or Parliament. Thus, there has been an all round degeneration of moral standards and the wrongdoings of some have done a great damage to the whole party and nation as a whole.
Since politicians hold prominent positions and are in the eye of the general public, the scandals and scams in which they are involved and the strictures passed against them set a bad trend among the people. Common people then also begin to think of making money by shortcuts. As film stars set trends for new fashions in dress and sportspersons set in vogue new styles in their game, politicians, because of their power and position, sway the minds of the masses either the right or the wrong way. So, if politicians are persons of upright conduct, they can do a lot of good to the people and can help mobilise public opinion in the right direction but, to-day, we find that people are demoralised and disappointed and feel that they have been let down by their leaders.
Today we see that so many trees are cut so as to produce paper and so much is spent on the electronic media and the politicians get lot of publicity. But what is this publicity about? Much of the publicity is about the in-party squabbles, intra-party defections, manipulations for capturing seats of power, pandemoniums in parliament, cases in courts, constant in-fights and instability. So, very little time and energy are left with the politicians to do solid and constructive work and to fulfil the promises made in their respective manifestos. Much of their time is lost in party conflicts rather than doing good for the public and the country.
There are also leaders who are not in active politics but have remote-controls over their parties. There are some power-brokers also who remain in the background but work through their agents. Just as a guided nuclear missiles in the hands of misguided people can spell doom so also powers in the hands of those politicians (however few) who don’t observe certain essential principles, can wreck a nation. It is time for politicians, as for anyone else, to have a change in their outlook, lifestyle and work-culture. This is possible only through India’s powerful system of values and yoga meditation, its unique contribution to the world-culture. Remember, there is no other method of cleansing the public life except through values and meditation.
Writer: Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj Ji
Courtesy: The Pioneer