What is politics and why corruptive practices are linked with it?
Greek Polis means a city. Polity is the form or process of Civil Government. Politics is derived from it with one of its meanings as 'activities concerned with seeking power and status' which suits in the present day situation in the country. There are also other meanings like ‘public life’ and ‘art and science of Government’ but the one first mentioned is more suitable to the practice of the political leaders in India.
If it is to seek power, why should one seek it?
Two reasons- one, to serve people and two to fulfill one’s own desires. Even if somebody wants to do some good to the society still he needs power to implement his policy with authority. A person may desire to have power so that he can fulfill his desires at the cost of the public fund. Both the leaders with good and also with bad intentions may want power to achieve what they want. After attaining power it also becomes one of their objectives to retain the power so that their long term plans can be implemented- again for good or bad for the people i.e., in the best interests of the general public or in the self interest.
Do people need a politician?
People always needed a leader. The people in a village or a town or a city need protection, civic amenities and orderly life. Protection is needed from outside and from the disputes from within. People have diversified activities and their own small circle of family members depending on them to lead because of which they cannot look after the other problems they face as society as a whole. They need someone to devote their time and wits to lead the society.
A leader needs a vision to develop the society in terms of the amenities, services, maintenance of law and order and economic stability of the society as a whole which cannot be attended by the individuals. In olden days strong men used safeguard the public from wild animals, thieves, dacoits and enemy countries. After proving their strength the people of the particular society used to treat him as their savior and used to contribute for the sustenance of the leader.
After some time the strong men saving the people started demanding more money than he needs with a pretext that a treasury is to be maintained for unforeseen expenses, wars and sundry things. Later, because of the authority to use the funds in the treasury they started using them for their luxuries. They became kings gradually gaining absolute rights on the treasury.
Kings became dictators whose words were the final decisions in all the issues pertaining to the kingdom they ruled. Kings also became addicted to power. They made rules to suit them and in the welfare of their own family members. They started acquiring gold, horses, elephants, fire arms, slaves and women. They used to get stronger every time they warred with other kings and defeated them as they could get all the above said assets including women of the enemy kings. Over a period kings gained unquestioning surrenders from the people.
But time changed with the mental development of the people after they started studying and debating. They became wiser to question the King. Some of the unsatisfied people became revolutionary and some became reformers. The revolutionaries went to hideouts to plan against the kings and the reformers stayed in the civic society and educated people.
In the system of Monarchy the rule was passed on to the heirs of the Monarch. In Oligarchy, the rule vested in a small group of people. After that democracy has been developed by the scholars and the people who wanted equal rights. The word ‘Demos’ means people in Greek. The word democracy was derived from the Greek word Demokratia which means ‘Rule of the People’. That way democracy first appeared in Greek political and philosophical thought in the 5th Century BC.
As democracy took charge in place of a king’s rule, leaders came up to represent people of their area who made it their life’s goal or a profession that caused them to become political leaders or politicians.
What happens in Democracy?
In democracy there is no place for monarchy or oligarchy. People’s representatives will form a Government and ensure proper governance. They collect in the form of different taxes but the treasury is not owned by the elected members. They are only trustees of the treasury and servants of the nation. The amount in the treasury that way, cannot be used for the luxuries of the elected members who are political leaders duly elected by the people by secret ballot to run the government in the best interests of the public. In order to ensure equality of the rights, the elections are conducted from each every center that is called a constituency. A constitution is made by the first elected members to provide the guidelines for the government that is formed for the governance of the country. As the elected members represent the people in their area, the general understanding is that their interests are safeguarded by those people’s representatives by participating in the decision makings of the Government.
This is what is supposed to happen!
We will continue the discussion and find out where it went wrong to give way for the corruption at all levels with special focus on Indian politics. And also we will come to some conclusions as to how the corruption can be checked.
We also invite readers’ participation in the discussion.
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