Newly educated and semi-educated classes – social or intellectual – seek positions in government bureaucracies or social advocacy rather than in industry and commerce where competence is inarguably measured at the end of every business quarter. The growth of bureaucracies needed to absorb these swaggering imbeciles is precisely opposed to society’s growth and development both as direct philosophical enemy and as infinitely hungry sump to resources otherwise needed to support productive endeavors.
From “Uncle Al” in a post on the usenet years ago. I spent years on the usenet, the grand-daddy of the world wide web. I like the phrase “swaggering imbeciles” — it describes a certain ruling dynasty in a certain so-called emerging superpower.
Anyone familiar with the disastrous state of India should not be overly surprised to learn that the Indian parliament has an overwhelmingly greater percentage of criminals than the general population. How effectively a nation functions and how successful it is depends on its leaders who make public policy and thus critically determine the outcome. India’s failure to develop and achieve its potential is proof positive that its leadership is lacking.
Underdevelopment, poverty, and all other ills that plague India are an unavoidable consequence of poor public policies and choices.
Is this the much tom-tommed Indian democracy? The convicted 6 who may decide UPA’s fate:
Among those who hold the key to the survival or fall of the government on July 22 are six jailed MPs, some convicted on serious charges like murder, others accused of heinous crimes. Check out the men who both sides are seeking to woo to win that day.
- Pappu Yadav alias Rajesh Ranjan
RJD, Purnea, Bihar
SENTENCED in Feb 2008 for life for murder of former CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar in 1998.
- Suraj Bhan
LJSP, Balia, Bihar
SENTENCED To life last month for murder of a farmer in 1992.
- Ateeq Ahmad
Phulphur, Uttar Pradesh
Charged in: 21 criminal cases, including some involving murder. One such was the murder of Bhartiya Samajwadi Party MLA Raju Pal in 2005.
- Afzal Ansari
Samajwadi Party, Ghazipur, UP
Brother of Uttar Pradesh don Mukhtar Ansari. In jail facing charges in murder of Bhartiya Samajwadi Party MLA Krishanand Rai in 2005.
- Umakant Yadav
BSP, Machhlishahr, Uttar Pradesh
Jailed for allegedly razing shops and houses while trying to forcibly occupy land in Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh in 2007.
- Mohd Shahabuddin
RJD, Siwan, Bihar
Convicted in: 3 cases between March and August 2007: life term for kidnapping leading to murder of a trader in 1999, 10 yrs for attack on Siwan SP in 1996 and 2 yrs for attack on CPI(ML) office in 1998.
I think it is a cargo cult democracy. I have long maintained that the Indian government is the real enemy of the people of India. This is not at all remarkable considering that it comprises mostly of criminals and other low life.
I don’t know who Swami Ramdev is. I have not seen him, read him, or heard him. My knowledge of who he is is limited to what I read about him in this Rediff article, “Swami Ramdev attacks the political system“, which says that he is “the iconic yoga guru with a phenomenal mass fallowing (sic).”
Evidently he is widely regarded as a spiritual guru. But however spiritual his claim to fame may be, I can’t help but wonder how can an adult who is clearly able to function normally be so mistaken about the nature of the world as to actually hold the positions that the article claims he does. Does spirituality or whatever it is that is his main calling so shield him from the everyday material world that he is totally and completely disconnected from reality?
According to a report in today’s Rediff on Karnataka’s new government, many of the members of the legislative assembly (or MLAs, those who make the laws of the state) are criminals. The report leads off with details of what the personal wealth of some of the MLAs are but later, almost as an afterthought, mentions that many have criminal charges pending against them:
Only recently did I become aware that there is a local politician in Mumbai named Raj Thackeray and that he has been inciting people to violence to stop non-Marathi speaking people from migrating to Mumbai. The man, in my considered opinion, is a certifiable idiot and an evil one at that. But then there is nothing particularly remarkable in Raj Thackeray’s quest for votes through divisive politics. The British quite successfully implemented it and ever since political independence, politicians across the spectrum have been dividing India along regional, caste, and religious categories. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, instead of erasing caste distinctions, even went so far as to name a significant portion of Indians as “harijan” or “children of god” — thus implicitly, according to his adopted Abrahamic theology, categorized the rest as “children of satan.” The present Italian Gandhi continues that fine tradition and implements policies that discriminate against people that do not subscribe to some Abrahamic sky-god. I wonder if Raj Thackeray is going to be invited to join the Congress Party, seeing that he is a master of divide and rule?
I have previously observed here that India has what I call a “cargo cult democracy.” In India’s neighborhood that is not a distinction. The entire Indian subcontinent suffers from that malady. The short version is that around here democracy as practiced is a simulation, a facsimile that should not be confused with the real thing that has something to do with informed choice based on differing perceptions of priorities that matter in the larger scheme of things.
Informed choice is not a matter that can be delegated to people who are not only not informed but for the most part cannot be informed even if you wanted to because the basic channels for information transmission are denied to them. Most of the electorate is illiterate to begin with and to add insult to injury, meaningful debate concerning the issues is entirely non-existent in the mass media. In the absence of substantial policy choices, it all boils down to names and faces. In every nook and cranny of the country, one comes face to face with huge billboards with the faces of people with names—never mind what they represent or what their accomplishments are.
India is the largest democracy in the world. Or so it is said. It must be because they have elections and what nots. Cargo cult democracy perhaps but democracy none the less.
So here’s the latest cargo-cultish news about Indian democracy. A man who has been a cook to the Nehru-Gandhi family for decades has been rewarded for his loyalty by the Nehru-Gandhi family — his son has been given a Congress ticket.
Character and culture determine destiny. Every time our great “democracy” throws up corrupt immoral shortsighted asinine “leaders” — which is happening with sickening regularity — it is important to remind ourselves that it is the “will of the people” expressed unambiguously through the political process. The nature of the leaders and their policies bear a direct relationship to the basic nature of the people. This is my theory and I continually seek facts to support an alternate not so cynical theory. So far I am unsuccessful.
I was reading Tarun Vijay question “Where is the Citizen?” in the Times of India (sorry) and saw the same idea — that we are culpable for the crimes that the politicians commit — repeated. Go read it. And forward a copy to the Prime Minister and to Dr Singh.
One is forced to the generalization that at the level of the individual it is all exogenous, while at the level of the society, it is all endogenous. Take the market, for instance. To an individual, price is something that is a given and whether he or she participates in the market or not, cannot change the price. Price is determined externally and is indifferent to the efforts of the individual. It arises from almost magically from the collective interactions of the individuals in the market. Price arises out of, and is a reflection of, “the collective will” of the people, so to speak. Prices are democratically determined in competitive markets. Which brings me to the other example of the generalization above: governance.