WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8324

Date uploaded in London – – – 11 July 2020   

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R. Nanjappa

Nationalism and Constructive Work

Indian public life is predominantly negative in spirit. This springs from the nature of our politics which dominates all spheres. Most of our main politicians are good-for-nothing-else fellows, who cannot be usefully employed elsewhere. Judging by the way some of them speak, or react to events, one wonders  whether they know anything, have learnt anything- indeed whether they really think seriously on any issue. They are guided by   passions and prejudices. They are always against something or somebody!   The only thing they know is to “do politics”. 

 Politicians Do Politics

And just what is this politics? What is it about? Is it some form of public service? “The wise and just regulation of the public concern of the city, or the nation? No, in India, there is no nation-there is just the state- the state is the nation, and the world, for most of our “leaders”- call them ‘bosses’. This is how one such political “boss” was described, in New York, by the turn of the 18th Century:

No other politician in New York or elsewhere is exactly like the Tammany district leader or works as he does. As a rule, he has no business or occupation other than politics. He plays politics every day and night in the year, and his headquarters bears the inscription, “Never Closed”……

A philanthropist?  Not at all. He is playing politics all the time. Brought up in Tammany Hall, he has learned how to reach the heart of the great mass of the voters. He does not bother about reaching their heads. It is his belief that arguments and campaign literature  have never gained votes…..

And what is the kind of ‘politics’ he did to reach people’s hearts? Here is a typical entry for a day:

2 A.M.: Aroused from sleep from the ringing of his door-bell; went to the door and found a bartender, who asked him to go to the police station and bail out a saloon-keeper who had been arrested for violating the excise law. Furnished bail and returned to bed at three o’clock.

(Quoted in Daniel J.Boorstin : The Americans: The Democratic Experience, Book One, Part four, p.259, Vintage Books,1974)

Front Cover.

But our bosses here are better- especially if their party is in power.One word, and the police may not even register the case! And most likely, the saloon-keeper would have got his licence because of his correct political connections. If our people know how the big clubs function, (which are no different from the ‘saloons’) and how some high police and other public officials are  frequent visitors, they would realise the truth of this. Some time ago, there was a big ruckus about the Bangalore Club on this very issue of excise law, raised by a police official! After about a week of headlines in the local dailies and electronic media, there was total silence. Subsequently, authorities ‘discovered’ that the Club did not have proper title to the land it was occupying! [This is one of the oldest clubs in India, having been set up in 1868!] This is not so shocking if we know how many of our legislators are reportedly having criminal record! And they belong to all parties! [Such is the quality of our newspapers that we do not know how the matter ‘ended’!]

All parties indulge in negativity- opposing something or the other. Speeches of state-level politicians are full of hatred. Opposition parties oppose everything, because , as Randolph Churchill said, their business is to oppose. But even the ruling party will oppose- imaginary or insolvable problems: e.g poverty.  This is such an issue that people become rich attacking poverty! Even world bodies like World Bank hold their meetings  on this issue in plush star hotels. And they have taken enough measures to remove the poverty of their employees, may be for three generations to come: these career diplomats and bureaucrats, already getting fat salaries and enjoying high perks in their countries, get even more fabulous compensation in these organisations, which are tax free! 

Good Models are Available!

Should politics be like this, invariably?

No, it need not be. While an element of populism cannot be avoided in all politics, it need not be negative in substance all the time. Take some real issues, like education. Almost everybody blames the educational system.  When German was removed as a compulsory language from the Central Schools, there was a hue and cry from some quarters. But what prevented them from starting and running their own schools with whatever subjects or languages they wanted ? What prevented them from starting their own language courses?

What is the average level of general competence of our ministers?  Man Mohan Singh was supposed to be a ‘famous’ or even ‘great’ economist. But what did he become famous or great for? Did he write any standard academic book or develop a theory? And during the ten years of his tenure, did he ever, even once, give a learned defence or rationale of his policies? Or publish anything of the sort? Narasimha Rao was not a professional economist, but had enough sense and guts to get work done by cartloads of economists! He rescued the country from the brink of bankruptcy and reversed the policies of nearly half a century that led to this sorry plight. Some sense, some vision, some stuff, this! 

P.V.Narasimha Rao, 10th PM of India.
“His roots were deep in the spiritual and religious soil of India. He did not need to Discover India.” (Natwar Singh)

 But Narasimha Rao has remained unsung!


to be continuedd 

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