The great Greek philosopher Plato, once said: ‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors’. In all fairness, it was almost as if Plato was crystal-gazing! [Note: In fact, it is the Greek root word “politeia” that etymologically serves as the source of both “policy” and “politicks” (The spelling used by economist Adam Smith in his lectures serves us rather well in the present Indian political context, don’t you think?!? Poli“ticks” indeed!).]
Of course, if you still doubt Plato’s political prophesy, all you really need to do is take another look at the political state of affairs in India and you will have no doubt. Actually, all you really need to do is simply travel back in time to the year 1947 when the [Indian] Independence Bill was being debated in the British Parliament. It was here that an angry Churchill had forewarned, “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, and freebooters. Not a bottle of water or a loaf of bread will escape taxation, only the air will be free.” Truth be told, if Winston Churchill was alive today, he’d actually be making the customary “I-Told-You-So” speech.
In fact, isn’t it ironic?!? When we look at this great big democracy, we are left astounded by its impressive list of young achievers, who are forever toiling away tirelessly into the night. And yet, the moment we turn our eye towards the murky realm of politics, and we might as well have stepped into a parallel universe. For the lack of honest hardworking men/women in Indian politics is as unusual and scary as Lady Gaga’s weird fashion sense. Of course, this sorry state of affair is fairly easy to explain. After all, when it comes to India, politics is not even seen (let alone pursued) as a viable career option…neither by the parents nor by their wards.
Thus, given the apathy we possess towards all-things-politics, it isn’t surprising to see that there are only two types of youths that participate in politics today, that is — the “princelings” and the “thuglings”. In fact, you don’t even need a lesson from the local lexicon to spot these men. For example, while someone like Rahul Gandhi is the perfect poster child of a political princeling riding his political pony, Kanhaiya Kumar is what we’d dub the “thugling” (i.e. a vocal-often-violent byproduct of student politics/unions).
Of course, these thuglings only stand a chance in the world of politics if and when they find a wealthy and powerful benefactor. After all — and in the words of Will Rogers — “politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated”. Of course, once you find yourself a wealthy Godfather, you needn’t fear much. [Note: Hence, it’s no wonder that even the poster child of the ‘poor’ thuglings — aka Kanhaiya Kumar, has now become so poor that his mode of transportation are aircrafts and luxury cars… Well, haven’t you heard, the last time I checked, someone had “allegedly” tried to strangle him on a Jet flight…Poor “poor” man!]
Of course, the princelings don’t need a Godfather, for the God already gave them the “right” father. Hence, these princelings of the Indian politics are “political princes”, who have been anointed by their respective politician dads in the hope that one day they will rule the roost. Of course, while the rest of us get busy pursuing our non-political career goals, these political princelings will playfully lead us towards the political precipice!
Then again, let’s forget the Pied Piper for a minute and think of Shakespeare, who once said, ‘What’s in a name?’ Well…I guess…he had had to say that, didn’t he? After all, he did not have the pleasure of meeting the ‘wrong’ men with the ‘right’ [sur]names.
“So, what’s in a name?” Apparently, a lot if you’re an aspiring politician.