(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)
Make no mistake that the “All is Fair in Love, War and also Indian Politics” that illustrates the ongoing ‘free-for-all’ hurling of expletives against each other to denigrate rivals images. It is only way to understand “verbal mudslinging’ indulged by political leaders cutting across full political spectrum.
For example, virtually impossible it is to point out who is lying or telling the truth in the full blown controversy over acquisition of “Rafale” jet fighter deal. Invoking such means is to tarnish whatever image and credibility is leftover till now in pursuit of reclaiming power. Truth gets obfuscated.
At the outset, let me highlight that “leadership crisis” is the most heinous national security threat. “Fraudsters”, masquerading as leaders, are everywhere in politics – Nation under Seize”. They are employing “strategy of fame based on fraud” as the means to achieve end objective – power. However, “Fraudsters” must remember that “things gained through unjust fraud are never secure.’
With “fraudsters”, claiming to be leaders, on the rampage, only fools, hypocrites and idealists can hope for promotion of “community good” by them. Remember always that political leadership role is “sharing the burden of sacrifice” or “community sacrifice and service to people” for the ultimate good of collectivity, besides promoting unity and enduring peace through ushering real change in all fields.
If George Bernard Shaw would have been alive today, he would have replaced his original reflection that “politics is the last resort for the scoundrels” by “politics is the FIRST REFUGE for the scoundrels, liars, thieves and idlers.” Alternative option for such persons is to join terror/militant groups.
Let me recount the nature and character of vicious politics on grand display. In a recent meeting in Rajasthan, Rahul Ghandy (RG) accused Modi, the PM, representing a thief (Gali gali mein shor hai, Hindustan ka chowkidar chor hai There is noise everywhere, the country’s guard is a thief). Also, RG stated “Jawanon ka khoon ka Dalal.” Also, RG had labeled Modi “autocrat, Incompetent and arrogant” while addressing Congress Party parliamentarians. Yet, RGs famous “hug and wink” in the Lok Sabha.
Of course, Congress Party leaders have been hurling choicest expletives since 2014 to include: Sonia Ghandy’s (SG) “Maut ki Saudagar and Zehar ki Kheti” during 2014 pre poll campaigning; Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark; Pramod Tiwari had equated Modi with Hitler, Mussolini and Gaddafi; Rashid Alvi’s “most stupid PM”; and ‘saanp’, ‘bichhu’, ‘ganda aadmi’, ‘lahu purush’, ‘pani purush’ and ‘asatya ka saudagar’ among many others.
In the past, even Modi too called the Congress Party “termite”, SG as ‘Madam” and RG as Shahzada. Now, BJPs Arun Jaitley, FM, has called RG as the “Clown Prince”.
Quite obviously, personality denigration has taken center stage of politics to influence and sway the voters mind’s against Modi and the BJP. Invocation of woefully unsubstantiated choicest expletives as means to denigrate rivals image is surely the worst fraud.
“Political fraudsters” may like to recall that “When they point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to them.” Jesus had a version of this wisdom when he said, “Don’t focus on the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the log in your own eye.”
How apt the quote is to SG & RG on the basis of series scams during their 10-year rule. Most important, SG & RG must come clean on their “Ghandy family lineage” instead of flaunting “Gandhi” surname.
Recently, a journalist commented that in Gujarat, Parsis adopt Gujarati surnames and language with slight alteration to make them distinct. For example, Patel is Gujarati; Patell is Parsi. Most is Parsi; but Modi is Gujarati.
So, it is Ghandy; but not Gandhi. And, the latest claims of being a “Shiv Bhakt”, “Janedaru Brahmin” and visiting temples, temples and Saints/Gurus. Surely, it is height of cheating ill informed people. After all, RG is the grandson of Feroze Shah Jahangir Ghandy (not Gandhi).
Great leaders make great nations; good and bad leaders preside over downfall of nations. Democracy’, Will Durant’s critique of Nietzsche, stated very aptly ‘worship of mediocrity and hatred of excellence.” It means the impossibility of great men – how could great men submit to the indignities and indecencies of an election?’ The real issue that stares starkly is “How can a nation become great when its greatest men lie unused, discouraged, perhaps unknown?”
Let me reiterate that the role of political leadership is ‘collective good of humanity’ and enduring peace through ushering real or intended change in all fields. After all, leadership is a social contract by “We the People”. In democracy, leadership springs from the people. So, people are squarely responsible for opting for leaders woefully lacking credibility.
Leadership craze is absolute. Everyone wants to become a politician or bureaucrat. Otherwise, it is to become a contractor or businessman. For politics and business provides easy path to power. No formal grooming is necessary for both occupations. Accident of birth is a qualifying condition.
Furthermore, majority of Indian leaders do not even know the difference between a politician and statesman: “politician as one interested in the next elections; and statesman as one interested in the next generation.” Of course, true statesmanship, characterized by wisdom, breadth of vision or regard for general welfare of people rather than partisan interest, remains an enigma for majority.
Let me highlight that in “Kaliyug Age” morality plays no role in politics. Leaders act in their own interests. The current crop of political leadership appears to be staunch disciples of Machiavelli and Nietzsche. They have detached ethics, morals and values totally from politics. The familiar motto “the end justifies the means” governs their behavior. For majority, “evil means have become the real end and the good end forgotten”.
Remember also that “Man’s character is his fate and destiny.” As per Dr. T. P. Chiai, “Your destiny or fate is determined by your choices and actions. If you do not control and shape your destiny or fate, your future will be determined by what will happen.” Add to it, “Fake’ people have an image to maintain. And their thoughts result in words. In turn, words lead to actions that build character underscoring ones fate. So, expectations of higher order leadership are forlorn expectation.
Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus highlighted succinctly stated “leadership is a word on everyone’s lips.
Ironically, leadership dilemmas have always haunted mankind. India is no exception. Many lay claims to be great leaders. History proves that effective leadership is by exception only. Statesmanship is still rarer.
What Richard Holder Williams commented on the politics of Tropical Africa holds good for India too: “there are few men who are in politics out of a sense of duty – whether crowning a career in the trade union movement or living out the image of squirearchy. They are in politics for purpose; and purposes are not achieved without having direct access to the seat of power”.
Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister, stated, “Leaders are like fences that protect the crops. But today we have leaders who do not serve but oppress the poor, who cheat the state and whose only concern is their private welfare at the cost of the society. ….. They have only a grasping mercenary outlook, devoid of competence, integrity and commitment.”
So, what one is witnessing today is the onslaught of power hungry criminals turned leaders in the garb of neo-Maharajahs and neo-feudal lords and nouveau-rich industrialists with insatiating greed hell bent upon grabbing power in the name of democracy. They do not believe in sharing people’s fears and uncertainties and promoting good of the collectivity.
Ideology has become irrelevant to them. Self-interests predominate over societal and national security obligations. Frequent realignments or ‘party hopping’ has become part of the game of politics. Leaders are least concerned about the prevailing chaos, anarchy and violence. Majority prefer instability since it suits self interests.
Populism and fudged sloganeering are the means, to grab power – the ends. Majority prefer status quoism since it represents stability. It is used to retain power derived by accident of birth.
Status quoism denotes rigidity and sure recipe for self-destruction. Few rich may favor reform for they may favor their interests; but political leaders in particular oppose reforms. The middle class in India neither favors reform or revolution or status quo. It swings the way the wind blows. And, majority poor remain silent colluders with the rich and powerful.
Reforms are a tedious and time-consuming process. The tale of their cost-over runs and missed opportunities are legendary. Even, leadership requirements for managing revolutions are far more vexatious. Revolution means fundamental reconstruction by forcible action to substitute new system of government turning upside down of an established system.
What India, therefore, needs are leaders with the ability to inspire, facilitate, and channelize collective energies in the required direction. It needs leaders who are architects and builders capable of making institutions compete, thrive and excel in the new millennium; but not cantankerous and divisive fraudsters.
It implies high quality leadership to implement reforms or revolutions, which is a far cry. But, such enlightened leadership prospects are poor. Political parties are confirming confidence in their credentials by giving cabinet berths. People are opting for leaders with corrupt and criminal records. Bureaucracy has become sycophantic, supine and covetous. Even judiciary is unable to rise to the occasion. All of them fail to realize that it is in their self interest to change, but they want to cling to status quoism and stick to British Colonial legacy with monotonous stupidity: policy of divide and rule; rule through power brokers – Maharajahs and feudal lords; and laws fit for slaves.
In sum, most relevant is “All is fair love, war and Indian politics” in Indian politics. And, “crisis in leadership” is the most potent security threat in making. Enlightened leadership prospects are bleak. No end in sight to mutual recriminations. No hope for semblance of decorum and decency. Finally, leaders concern for the nation, the states, the institutions, the organizations and the groups is superficial.
Wake up “We the People”! Nation’s fate in posterity rests on your shoulders. Reject and banish the fraudsters. Otherwise, be prepared to face the worst possible ‘mayhem’ to unfold in all fields. With elections round the corner in State Assemblies followed by Lok Sabha and State Assemblies to follow in 2019, all one can do is to pray and exhort people to opt for genuine leaders instead of “fraudsters’ masquerading as leaders.