Vishal Shrivastava

active 10 months ago
active 10 months ago

PoliTricks: 5 Tweaks That Should Be Included in Indian Political Discourse


Ah! Indian Politics...The Sweet Mother of all debates in this country… People just love to ramble on about the endless controversies that come with the term itself. From “Nukkad ki chai” to the “rich ambience of intellectual interests”, politics in India has always been a sizzling topic for tittle-tattles.

However, these gossips aren't a complete prattle. You see, India is (so called!) the largest democratic country in the world (Over-Population helps sometimes, I guess!!…). Still, if you have lived in India for nearly as much time as it takes to know a country to its core, you will agree that the term “Politics” has more-or-less become synonymous to delinquency. It’s hard to say what exactly led us to this undesired thoroughfare; moreover, reasons are not of as much importance as the consequences at this point.

Politics was never supposed to be abhorred; instead it was a beautiful concept to implement the idea of good governance, and I think that there’s still some hope at the end of this tunnel.

As Margaret Thatcher used to say, “I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.”

Holding on to this positive side of statecraft, I am suggesting these 5 changes that could possibly be proven a stepping stone in the process of significant refinement.

Redefining Political-Accreditation:

The thing that bothers me the most in Indian politics is the criterion of eligibility for electoral contests, or rather the lack of it. There’s no absolute qualification needed in order to participate in assembly elections aside from the age and residential constraints.As Henry Cate puts it, “The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.” 

Ironically, in the same country, you have to take THE most sophisticated examination, if you want to work under these under qualified, yet elected governments.

Maybe, it’s time to reflect on the value of political elements and re-define the eligibility criteria for running the biggest democracy of the world.

Concept of Negative Voting:

Now, what happens if even a highly-qualified person fails to deliver his/her job after being elected? Well, in current scenario, we usually start cursing the entire system and eventually make our peace with the common conclusion that every politician is alike. But, it’s not an ideal way to deal with this.

Election Commission of India should contemplate the idea of negative voting, instead. Wherein, if an elected government or any of its member behaves inappropriately or if local citizens of respective constituency vote against them in more numbers than they did before in their support, they should be abdicated from their posts and a re-election should be conducted in that constituency.

Classroom-Discipline in Assemblies:

If you have ever seen political debates going on inside the parliament, you can easily relate to my point here. It’s more like watching a fish argue with an eagle on how to run a Marathon. There’s no credibility in such debates and they often end-up without any significant outcome. The role of in-house speakers also becomes questionable during these inconsequential ruckuses.

Indian Legislative Bodies represent the culture of the country. How can you expect common people to live in harmony, when our representatives seem to fail in making a consensus?Justice dies every time the discourse of political debates changes from “what” to “who” and objections are made only because the proposal (no matter how brilliant) was drafted by the opposite party.

Our Political System needs to establish some common principles for participating in a parliamentary debate; so that the profundity of discussion can be maintained (They are more than welcome to visit our academic institutions for that matter, hopefully they will learn some discipline from the 10 year olds attending their Mathematics classes).

Credibility of Political Parties:

On the one hand, our Government claims to fight against corruption and black-money, but on the other hand, it seems to be reluctant to bring the political parties under RTI. Everything from political fund to the process of selection of a candidate for election is under the hood and there’s no possibility for probing into the matter.

Transparency is one of the foundations of democracy, without which you can’t even dream of a populist system of governance. It is expected from a republic country like India, to insure the integrity of its political parties, especially when we are having as many as 1841 of them (7 National, 49 State, and 1785 unrecognized; according to the latest reports of ECI).

Proper Interfaces Between Government and Citizens:

As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  Government often thinks that making policies, implementing them correctly and finally advertising them is enough to make positive changes; whereas, common people expect the Government to understand all their problems without saying them aloud. None of them is concerned about establishing effective communication channels through which they can actually talk with one another.

We need to create standard social infrastructures throughout the nation in order to maintain the bi-directional communication between the two ends of Indian Politics – “the voter” and “the voted”.  It can be in the form of small gatherings of people along with their elected representatives or an occasional two-way radio/television program to discuss various agendas of the government.

It’s a common practice in India to say that politics is not for good men/women. People in our country preferably shun the very idea of being involved in politics (by the way, voting is only a part of politics, not the politics itself!). But, we can’t deny its significance in our lives. We are all affected by the decisions made by our elected Governments, thus it’s our responsibility towards ourselves to make sure that we are being governed by the right people.

As Plato puts it, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”