An Easy way to root for a political ambition.

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”. So said Abraham Lincoln. It is extremely pertinent at any given time, that we try to realise the nation we live in, comprehend the constitution, the foundations on which this country is built upon, and understand the terms such as democracy, equality, fraternity.

Any state has a simple and direct relationship with its participants- the citizens. A state provides ample opportunities and resources to its citizens. The purpose of this exercise is that they use those opportunities and resources to bring out their potential in the respective fields, which not only helps these gentlemen to prosper, but the State benefits from these as well, since these results percolate through the societal links to the very basic level, benefitting the state itself at the end of the day. So, the State has an incentive in investing in its citizens. Similarly, it is also in the interest of the citizen in investing his time or hard work for the State, because as the State develops and grows strong, it ensures a more regular supply of opportunities and resources. It is this healthy exercise of quid pro quo relationship between a nation and its citizens that ensures the development of a nation.

What is the Government? It would be very wrong on our behalf to assume the government to be this absolutely supreme body in our nation. Ideally speaking, a government is nothing but a link between the participants of a state, and the state itself. It characterizes our previous notion of quid pro quo relationship through actual steps and policies. It understands the qualms of the general public, and looks at the bigger picture of standing true to constitutional doctrines and matches the two. To what extent it does that is what characterises a good or a bad government.

It is only when we assume the government or the political parties to be private entities, does the problem with this debate begin. We believe that political parties that compete for governance at the end of the day do not fall under the ambit of private membership. The political parties are nothing but alternates for people to select and elect. Every political parties represents certain societal ideologues (capitalism or socialism), different stances on a common issues (homosexuality, subsidies), different policies, etc. Clearly, the interest of a whole lot of people is at stake here. Moreover, the people who want to serve the system through political mechanisms come through these channels- People who belong to the state and are willing to serve the state through political representation and leadership. As the stakes are too high, we believe that it’s fair to not only the State, but also to the Citizens, when political organisations receive the recognition of a public body rather than a private enterprise, and it helps in the exercise of democracy in true terms.

Dynasty Politics subvert the democratic processes of any country. For one, the phenomenon tends to concentrate all power in the hands of a few. Positions in governance become the private reserve of a few ruling families. Power gets passed vertically and laterally, from husband to wife to son or daughter, then on to grandchildren, or to brother and sister, aunts and uncles and numerous cousins. This infinite window of power is dangerous, because the proper checks and balance systems due to any democratic system do not take place.

Secondly, this narrows the bench from which leaders can be drawn, leading to political inequality. The family becomes the sole breeding ground for harnessing and recruiting political leaders. The people’s range of choices is narrowed to those who have the right surname, or the historical advantage of incremental influence, network, and resources afforded by their forebears’ long occupancy in office. This is unlike countries with a working party system, through which a wider sampling of political talent can be drawn from the ranks and tested in the lower rungs of public office. In the light of this, it is not surprising that countries like ours suffer from a dearth of politicians with a genuine talent for leadership.

Third, there is another, more insidious aspect to political dynasties, and it is this: the common good takes a backseat to the priority of family interest. Families with a monopoly on power tend to hoard resources and block access to others by economic and other kinds of power.

We live in a much larger world: a modern state, whose complexity demands that we enlarge our sense of democracy, and draw from a much wider pool of leadership resource. To consign the governance of this country to a handful of longstanding political families is not only undemocratic, but also fatal to the fortunes of a nation seeking to shoulder its way into global competitiveness.

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