There is nothing new so far as nepotism in Indian democracy is concerned. However, there is difference between nepotism practiced in Indian democracy just after independence and what is happening today. Earlier nepotism used to be taking forward the great legacy of great leaders and everybody including their family members was welcome in their endeavours. As a result, the great Indian leaders of the past were never bothered about creating a political space for their children at the cost of merit and commitment. There were never ever attempts to perpetuate nepotism in a brazen manner as is happening today. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is right when he says that dynasties have become a way of life in India’s socio-political and economic set up and he should not only be singled out and berated. Today there is hardly any political party which is not indulged in promoting nepotism on one pretext or the other, which is not such a major crime. However, justifying and berating nepotism on the basis of caste, colour, religion and principle is a dangerous omen and the worst is to compromise with democratic ethos and values while promoting and justifying nepotism.
In 21st century Indian politics, leaders have become more important than political workers, who are considered and abused as a tool to win polls, organise rallies, disturb traffic movement and if needed to provoke them to indulge in violence, arson and loot. And if some of them are killed in the process, they are projected as martyrs and their family members are given tickets to win the poll. Their importance is much greater than those who are martyred on the borders while fighting against enemies. There was a time when the workers or the people used to create leaders. It is now experts and professionals who are hired by the parties to create leaders and make strategies to win the polls. It is these costly people who play a pivotal role from behind the scene in devising electoral strategies to win the polls. As a result, ‘We The People’ are treated as a tool to capture the market of Indian democracy and their welfare and concerns rarely figure so prominently in the government’s scheme of things. Industrialisation of democracy is the worst thing to happen in India.
However, in the process we are weakening Indian democracy. People’s get raw deal, while the creamy communities reap the benefits of national resources and opportunities. People right to justice, dignity, health, education and share in national resources and opportunities has been rendered irrelevant. Even after 70 years of Independence, they do not have access to quality health and education facilities at any level—from primary to tertiary. There is acute deficiency in critical health and education facilities which are not so easily accessible by the common man. They have to depend upon the leftovers. The result is quite devastating, which most of us is not feeling today or are not ready to feel—people’s sense of disenchantment with the system is increasing manifold with each passing day. They feel that they do not have anything to fall back on other than their Mother Earth. They are forced to be down to earth and keep on moving with ever elusive optimism that things will improve for them one day. That day, perhaps, will never come if the rule of democracy is not taken as a serious business by all stakeholders.
(The writer is an independent commentator on socio-economic and political issues. Views are his personal)