Home arrow Archives arrow Political Diary arrow Political Diary-2016 arrow Our Feudal Lords: DEMOCRACY? YOU JOKING?, By Poonam I Kaushish, 20 Sept, 2016
News and Features
INFA Digest
Parliament Spotlight
Journalism Awards
Our Feudal Lords: DEMOCRACY? YOU JOKING?, By Poonam I Kaushish, 20 Sept, 2016 Print E-mail

Political Diary

New Delhi, 20 September 2016

Our Feudal Lords


By Poonam I Kaushish


Come to Ulta Pulta Pradesh, the place where politics is parivar business. Indeed this could well be the slogan of the ruling Samajwadi Party wherein the family reins supreme. However over the last week the veneer of Hum Sath Sath Hain was shredded to bits in a no-holds-barred dehati gharelu nanutanki which surpassed Comedy Nights with Kapil between nephew Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and uncle Minister-State Party Chief Shivpal Yadav with patriach Netaji Mulayam playing referee. No matter it showcased a fool-proof way for India’s polity to go to the dogs!


First Akhilesh donned the Superman cape and sacked his Chief Secretary and two “corrupt” Ministers. His livid father in a Batman knock replaced his ladla with bhai Shivpal as State Party head. In a time-comes-when-one-has-to-take-own-decisions Akhilesh flexed his muscles and snatched key portfolios from his chacha. Like a child whose toy has been snatched a petulant Shivpal quit both his posts. A pained Mulayam in a replay of Kaisi Ye Yaariyan said Parivar is united.


Predictably, one “corrupt Minister was reinducted, chacha Shivpal got back both his post and Akhilesh in a Saath Nibhana Saathiya averred We all need to work together politics is serious business.” Sic. Really? You could have fooled me.  


Why blame the Samajwadi. All are bitten by the ‘parivaar’ bug. Convinced that ideology-based democracy comes after hereditary feudalism. The Congress’s Nehru-Gandhi khandaan leads the pack. Today as Sonia recedes into the background she has left all to Yuvraj ladla Rahul whose stratospheric ascension from a state of meaningless nothingness to an elevated orbit of meaningful nothingness has leaders nervous.


Even the much touted and much disciplined BJP and other Parties have gladly chosen to get “Congressised”.  When ends alone matter and not the means, aish karo.  Principles and value-based politics are conveniently overlooked and unceremonially buried.  So we are saddled with the beta-betis of Rajnath Singh, Gopinath Munde and Promod Mahajan.


The regional Parties too show-off a happy family scene all the way. Be it Lalu’s RJD with its Rabri raj and putra moh, Thackeray’s Shiv Sena, Abdullah’s National Conference, Chautala’s INLD, Badal’s Akali Dal, Paswan’s LJP, Ajit Singh’s RLD and Shiv Sena’s ‘son’rise. Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Mufti Sayeed’s PDP Putri Prem et al! Certainly, the dadagiri of dynastic politics is alive and kicking.


All parroting the same hackineyed diatribe.  Only our dynasty can provide a Government of the people by the people and for the people.  Sprinkled liberally with loads of desh bhakti and balidaan.  Hoping that a billion plus vassals will be mesmerized by the dynastic Gods to shower their choicest blessing.  What is material is not whether the progenies are deserving but that they are “made deserving”, by virtue of the hereditary factor. After all, aren’t Parties only a larger extension of the families? 


Welcome to Incredible India which boasts of being the world’s largest democracy. But, if truth be told, we are shamelessly feudal in our outlook and jo hokum thought process.  Wherein families, even extended ones, invoke the dynastic Gods. Triggering off a process wherein sons and daughters and even sons-in-law becoming an integral part of statecraft – leading to new rules, guidelines and extra-Constitutional centres of power.


Modern day geneticists could learn a lesson or two from our politicians, who are past masters in this science.  It’s all in the genes, remember.  Forget pop talk or shop talk, the political mantra is all that the aankhon ka tara, chora-choris, bahus, even videshi, and sasurji’s are tutored on.  The “jenaioo” of father and son is the same.  Charity begins at home.  As dictated by the political guru.  Groomed to don the mantle – a precious family heirloom.


Worse, most elected leaders prefer to function in the style of old feudal lords.  Party tickets are distributed not on the basis of merit, but feudal laws and connections.  If a Minister dies, give his place to the wife, son or daughter. If you want alms, go to the Master.  If you want reprieve from law, seek the blessings of the feudal don.  Only the Master matters – and counts.


Confirming that India’s parliamentary democracy has degenerated into a mindset.  Only the outward trappings are democratic – naam ke waste.  Indeed, the incredible foisting of a whole lot of sons, daughters and near relatives at the cost of long-serving party workers is highly disturbing trend fraught with grave consequences.


Arguably, if Indian democracy rests on the one-man-one vote principle and dynasty is the antithesis of electoral politics, the obverse holds true. What is material is not whether the candidates are deserving, but that they are “made deserving” by virtue of the hereditary factor. All merrily banking on the right pedigree to ensure a continuing lineage. It’s all about bhaichara. 

Consequently, in a milieu wherein our netagan have made their ‘issues’ the only rajnitik issue, ideology, once the cementing factor, has been cast aside.  Underscoring how unrepresentative our representative Parliamentary system has become, as power gets increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few families.

Shockingly, a recent survey showed nearly 30% of our Right Honourables are hereditary MPs. Naturally, Congress is numero uno on this count led by the First Family since Independence and boasts of 37% of its MPs being beta-beti-bahu-patni-jamai-samdhi etc.

More. A State-wise analysis reveals that UP (39%), Andhra (38%), J&K (33%), Punjab (77%), Maharashtra (30%), Delhi (71%) and Orissa (38%) lead the charts in terms of percentage of hereditary MPs within the respective States.

When it comes to hyper-hereditary MPs (MPs with multiple family members lodged in the dark under-belly of Indian Polity), Congress has 3.5 times as many hyper-hereditary MPs as BJP. Among the regional Parties, RLD, SAD, BJD, NC and NCP are completely family owned dhandas – figures vary between 42-100% with RLD and NCP coming in towards the top end of that band.

The proportion of hereditary Ministers is significantly higher than the proportion of hereditary MPs. Ditto for hyper-hereditary Ministers. If one were to hazard a broad generalization (based on data), trend-lines point towards the northern parts of the country as being more conducive to this family dhanda.


What is about dynasty’s that attract people to it? One, given that a majority of our electorate is angootha chaap, people relate to a neta more than the Party. Two, what’s wrong in capitalizing on the family brand and provide a ready field to the santaan to continue the legacy?

Asserted a seasoned leader: “Is it not normal for the offspring of mice to dig burrows? Children of political parents will know politics best”, he added for good measure. Perhaps the best way to explain a rat race!


Undoubtedly, in the long run feudal gains could sound the death-knell of Indian polity.  Alas, our netagan seem to care two hoots. All busy serenading each other with “Let’s move ahead and take a stand, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand”.  If the shoulder and hand are of the feudal brat pack – the new rajas and ranis, all the better. 


The time has come to uphold true democracy. Or else continue to wallow in the political cesspool which hails the rising family ---- and my hereditary India. Should we say goodbye to democracy? Choice is yours! —INFA                            


(Copyright, India News and  Feature Alliance)

< Previous   Next >
  Mambo powered by Best-IT