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For a change, I am not blaming any of the politicians for such actions. If we were in the same situation, perhaps we too would be left with no choice but to adopt similar measures. The problem is not with the politicians, who simply mirror and adapt to the environment. The issue is with the Indian electorate, or us.
The great Indian mind is filled with prejudice. Centuries of persecution and discriminationeven in the present dayon the one hand and a belief in the superiority of ones own kind on the other, have led to these prejudices. These in turn have led to a haphazard democracymore cacophony than consensus. The ruckus that we often see in Parliament is nothing but a visualization of the average Indian mind, of chaos and confusion about who we really are.
Even the most educated of us are prejudiced. One simple test of prejudice is this will you allow your siblings or children to marry outside your community or religion? If your answer is no, then no matter how much you cheer for the Indian team, stand at attention for the national anthem or cheer the Indian flag, you are prejudiced. And as long as most of us stay prejudiced, we will have the confused and mediocre leadership that we have right now. No matter how many fasts activists undertake or good policies economists suggest, if we dont get the concept of being Indian in our heads and treat that above anything else, we will remain a messed-up country.
Yes, Dalits were treated badly in the past, and some still suffer. Muslims were and some of them still arediscriminated against. However, things have improved. If you shed your prejudices, they will improve even faster.
If there were no prejudices, there would be no need for political parties to play the caste card or to announce quotas within quotas. If we dont change, however, we are moving towards disaster. There will be lack of decision-making, inefficiency and a stalling of progress and growth in our country.
The young generation will find it even more difficult to get a good education and wellpaid jobs. After all, if we choose our leader based only on the toffees he gives us, then we somewhat deserve our fate. However, not every Indian feels it is the number one priority. The question baffles the educated middle classes. Why is a reasonable, universal and noble demand for an honest society so difficult to achieve in a democracy? And why is it that corrupt parties win elections time and time again?
Frustrated, the educated middle class comes up with elitist theories like 90 per cent of Indians are stupid or most voters are dumb. None of this is true. The Indian voter is rational. However, he is rational within his own framework. It is important to grasp the demographics and social context of Indian voters.
Sure, at one level everybody wants to remove corruption. Every Indian would like a clean society. For a lot of Indians, corruption doesnt determine their voting behaviour. Removing corruption is important to them. However, it is not as important as, say, a ones identity; b their safety; and c obtaining some instant gratification from politicians during voting time.
Clever politicians understand this. They work to deliver on these priorities and, in return, are allowed to be corrupt by the voters. This often occurs amongst the section of voters that has historically been oppressed or sees itself as a subjugated minority.
Of course, this is an oversimplified generalization. The situation is changing. For there are Muslim voters or lower-caste voters or low-income voters who want corruption removed more than anything else. However, a lot of Muslims also vote to feel safe hence they may avoid voting for the BJP.
Many low-income voters would rather have bird-in-hand freebies at election time as later on the politician will forget them a completely rational view. Similarly, many lower-caste voters may feel happy to see their communitys candidate in power, as it makes life seem a little fairer after generations of oppression.
With such conflicting agendas, the issue of corruption gets clouded. Voting patterns do show corruption as a variable hence ministers step down. However, it is not the top influencer yet.
Thus, a corrupt party can enjoy power as long as it keeps the oppressed classes happy and can play Robin Hood to them.
Every party knows this; thus, every party is corrupt, though to varying degrees. In some ways, the stickiness of corruption is the revenge of the oppressed. It is we, the educated, usually upper-class, upper-caste Hindus, who are empowered enough to have higher-order needs of an honest and fair society. The oppressed wont let us have it just yet.
They do want to remove corruption, but they also want certain injustices fixed and other scores settled. For this, they send agents to power who might loot the nation, but protect them and even share the booty through the occasional handout. It isnt fair to todays youth, who want a corruption-free India to maximize opportunities above anything else.
However, there were centuries of unfairness that the oppressed had to bear too. Will it ever change? It has to change because plunder and redistribution is a highly inefficient model for societal fairness.
We are a poor country. There isnt much to plunder anyway. The solution lies in setting aside differences for a while. The uppercaste, upper-class Hindus have to let go of their bigotry and prejudice.
The oppressed have to let go of their justified but expensive urge for revenge and retribution. All over the world, the oppressed have only risen through self-empowermentlook at the Jews and the Parsis. Oppressed community voters are realizing that many of their current representatives have harmed the nation, filled their own pockets and done little for them.
We are not a nation of stupid voters. We are simply a nation where people want different things, and thats okay. However, removing corruption will require it to be made the number one priority for all Indians. It is a secular issue, and removing it will be beneficial to all.
When the roof of the house is leaky, you need to fix the roof first rather than fight family feuds. We do become one during cricket matches, and we did win the World Cup in If we can become one on this issue of fighting corruption, we will be able to win against it as well. Game for it?
Its time to stop blaming just our politicians for corruption and look within. Their first standard excuse is nothing malafide is proven yet. The second classic excuse is look at what other parties have done. Therefore, a murderer can be spared, as long as he can find another murderer. It is important to understand why all political parties back their corrupt members, despite massive allegations and enough circumstantial evidence against such people. The answer lies in the way Indians think.
While it is easy to blame politicians, the fact remains that our politicians are not ethical because we arent ethical. A large number of politicians have lost track of the idea that every profession in this world has ethicsit may not be illegal to break them but still is definitely wrong.
A doctor must treat his patient as soon as possible, it is assumed, under ethical medical practice. But if he delays treatment, it would be hard to prove it illegal. A teacher must try to teach her students well, though if she doesnt, it wont be illegal. Society needs ethics as much as laws to function well. The simple, bitter truth is that the electorate just doesnt care much about financial impropriety. Sure, we bicker, moan and fuss about politicians looting us.
However, it is not that high up in the hierarchy of wrongs a politician could commit. A moderate amount of corruption is almost expected and accepted. It is only when graft is done in an obvious large-scale and arrogant manner that Indians get somewhat upsetand that too for a short period of time.
Do it, but dont be so blatant and rub it in our faces, is what we seem to be telling them. Tax evasion, dubious accounting and shady friendships are almost seen as natural behaviour for an Indian businessman. We dont see them as crimes. We treat them on a par with, say, eating four plates of desserta bit greedy, but understandable. Until we, as a society, really feel that graft, unethical behaviour and nepotism are huge problems, and start to truly care about all of them, politicians will not change.
Take, for instance, a hypothetical situation. Say, a prominent politician went into a temple with his shoes on, with a bottle of alcohol and kicked the idols. What would happen? Of course, there would be huge societal outrage.
In our value system, we hold our religious shrines extremely dear. Such a person would never be allowed to remain party president. In all probability, the persons political career would end overnight. But this value system does not apply when we see shady businesses being conducted, state coffers being looted or politicians placing self-interest above national interest. Even abuse of power is something we only talk about in public. Deep down, we are complicit.
We may want political leaders to not abuse power, but do so ourselves. Just take one example, the status of domestic help in India. How do Indians treat their domestic help? Why dont we ever talk about a minimum wage for them? Or perhaps a compulsory day off every week? When we ourselves have no qualms abusing our power, it is difficult to attack others for doing so. We, the Indian society, need to reflect on who we have become. Organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS , which claim to care for Indias glory, should be fixing this by propagating good values in society.
And parties which claim removal of corruption as their topmost agenda, like the Aam Aadmi Party AAP , should also send out the message that it is a lack of values within us, and not just a few bad guys at the top, that has turned India corrupt. More than anything, we ourselves must change, and see the sense in doing so.
A society without values cannot survive or function, let alone progress. When this realization dawns on a larger section of society, politicians will change. Right now, they dont, because they think you, the voter, doesnt care.
That you will see Gadkaris punishment as a slight to the RSS, or to the community or caste he belongs to.
Similarly, no Congressman will stand up for what is right in Vadras case, as the Congress voter cares for the Gandhi family more than for right or wrong. We live in shameless times. When long-overdue self-reflection and shame strike us, India will be ready for change. We have seen many exposs on corrupt leaders in the past few years; it is time we did an expos on ourselves. The Kings in Our Minds Kings and colonizers left our country nearly seven decades ago. It is time they left our minds.
This vital suburban highway connects various important points of the city, including the airport. I, like several others on the road, had a flight to catch. On a normal day, it would have taken ten minutes to the terminal. However, that day, the traffic had not moved for over half an hour. The jam wasnt due to road construction or a vehicle mishap. Instead, a few cops had intentionally stopped the traffic. VIP movement, is all a cop told me when I asked.
Some of us begged the cops to let us pass, lest we miss our flight.
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Awesome Career: How to plan, achieve and succeed in your Dream Career.