It is ironic that as millions of people in the Arab countries and Africa are experiencing freedom from repressive govemments for the first time in living memory, most Indians are so politically apathetic that they can’t name their local MP/MLA and wouldn’t know that Pratibha Patil is the President if they hadn’t heard so many jokes about her.
It is easy to dismiss political activity as a futile and wasted effort to get effective leadership from hucksters by pointing to 2G, CWG and the multitude of smaller scandals, not to mention boneheaded legislation and court rulings that turn the Constitution inside out. If that’s all your vote entitles you to, why bother voting at all?
But claiming that it is impossible to elect responsible and honest politicians is really missing the point. No politician, regardless of their ideology or motives, can effectively resist the scrutiny of an informed constituency. The key to keeping politicians honest is to question every move they make in office. That’s why there’s nothing politicians like better than the utterly complacent who are content to believe everything they’re told on the nine o’ clock news without ever questioning any of it.
Such people are unlikely to offer any opposition to, for instance, another pay raise for the elected legislative. Our colleges don’t have political science and history courses, or for that matter any other course, for nothing. Their purpose is to encourage people to think and ask questions so that what happened in the Soviet Union in 1917, or Germany in 1933, or China in 1947, doesn’t happen here.
Students in the India should take note of their counterparts in other countries and start putting their education to use by making demands of their civic leaders, from the Government on down to city council members, instead of passively letting them
take away their rights.