Thursday, May 21, 2020

Indian politics: Reasons why rogue politicians, musclemen and goons get elected

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi  

In India, politicians are not to serve us or society. They are to rule.
    As people identify with a politician, the more thuggish he is, the more powerful he is seen as. and the followers too feel powerful with him. 
    'Apna neta aisa hai'. Psychological effect. It has several benefits for the leader. 
    As his image is that of a ruffian, short-tempered man or a don, not everybody would approach him to get works done or for overall betterment of constituency, improvement in services. No expectations. 'Raw power', the feel of it, is enough. That he represents us.

    'We elected him...our MP or MLA is a strongman..' The strength gets into followers. Symbiotic relationship of a unique kind. Further, if he belongs to your own community, caste, naturally you feel more powerful as well as content and a feeling of pride.

    Being civil, polite or trying to solve problems doesn't help because the grievances are plenty & it's impossible to solve them or even bring about a change in even a city. Rather, such a politician is seen as weak and misfit in politics. Be as crude, as hateful as you can (sic).

    READ: How 'identity, class interest' force us to vote for leader who endangers our future

    If you are a real thug and got image that anybody who dares mess with you, will have his business or career ruined, or slapped in public or get framed, then you're a true politician. Public gets things done by paying bribe. but real authority is a person who can break all rules

    Be a politician who is feared. Be a politician who is not answerable to anyone. Be a politician who is thuggish and whom no one can make fun of, and if someone does it, he is beaten by cadre. Then, people really respect you. Unfortunately.

    The unwritten rule is--don't be a politician who is there to listen to your grievances, who is like a common man, who is affected by deaths, calamities, people's pain. Someone who doesn't need to even bother if kids die in hospital, then, he is seen as someone really powerful, ruthless. Gets respect.

    Now, there are several reasons for it. Role of Indian newspapers, especially, Hindi and vernacular papers, in creating image of rogue politicians as 'real men' just like lionizing the rogue cops as 'Singham' is one of the reasons.

    The leaders-officials are not seen as just our representatives who are elected by us or those who serve us and citizens don't even dare to make a call to a leader above a councillor rank, forget talking to MLAs, MPs or even questioning them.

    On one hand, you may claim that democracy took root but people don't even feel that they are entitled to ask, question or grill the leaders. Sarkar or the government remains 'maai baap' and no one expects that the basic rights or needs could be fulfilled or that it's job of government to take care of the people.

    Besides, majoritarian tendencies in the society, the caste and class divide, the interests of the class that owns newspapers and wields tremendous power, even manages public perception, movements and opinion, is responsible.

    For more, read PART II