Shishir Tripathi | November 24, 2015
Writing for Frontier in 1983, noted political theorist and commentator Partha Chatterjee remarked that India has quietly built a system in which "to the accompaniment of the full fanfare of democratic process" it elects its own monarchs. Stressing on the irony, he quoted then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who spoke at the AICC (I) session in Bombay "with the investiture of Crown Prince, one whom the party expected to be duly elected to the office of our democratic monarchy".
Chatterjee wrote that Gandhi while speaking on the occasion, said," I don’t come from a royal family but we have acquired the status by our dedicated hard work". Just a year after the Mrs. Gandhi's assertion of her royalty, her pilot son went on to become the prime minister of the largest democracy, without any proven credential for the job.
Three decades have brought little changes. Self-acclaimed royals and monarchs still thrive in their heavily guarded monarchies. For a generation that believes in a meritocratic society against the benefits of birth, sight of a semi-educated youngster being made the second-in-command in one of the most important states of the country was highly intriguing.
Some two years ago while working for the Indian Express, during an Idea exchange programme with JDU leader Sharad Yadav, I asked him why is Nehru-Gandhi family blamed for supporting nepotism while it happens everywhere, be it UP or Uttarakhand? He replied without being politically correct. He said, "I have said that two-thirds of the country is run by families. That is not a good thing." When a senior journalist further prodded him on the irony that his once fellow travellers Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav have indulged in nepotism, he said, "Why comment on personal decisions of any particular person? Many people left us because of this issue. Laluji made the right decision by leaving us because we would have not let his wife, Rabriji, become the CM. We would not have agreed with that."
The irony remains that now his own party has joined hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav and allowed both his sons to be important players in the government. But then, there are no absolutes in politics. Perhaps, most ardent critics of dynastic politics are now ready to accept this new system of monarchical republic.
We may cry foul on what we call dynastic politics, but then this a reality all over the world, be it the United States of America or Indonesia. Maybe the reason behind the existence of political dynasties is the fact that politics is now considered a business. And like any business, the families in politics want the spoils of 'hard work' to be passed to their progeny and not to some outsider.
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has launched three state-of-the-art human DNA units under the Nirbhaya Scheme for efficiency in criminal investigations. A wildlife DNA unit in Nagpur makes Maharashtra the country’s first state to have a forensic testing lab for animals.
The Midway Battle: Modi’s Roller-coaster Second Term By Gautam Chintamani Bloomsbury / 400 pages / Rs 699 Gautam Chintamani, a film historian and author, has penned an in-depth chronicle of prime minister Narendra Modi’s second
Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has instructed the Mumbai civic authorities to take immediate action on unauthorized constructions on war footing. In a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, Thackeray said no illegal construction will be tolerated in Mumbai and called upon the BMC to
After extending timings of shops and restaurants as well as the reopening of cinema halls and theatres under specified SOPs from October 22, in view of the festive cheer, the Maharashtra government has allowed restaurants and eateries to remain open till 12AM and shops and establishments to function till 1
Rubbishing the recently released Global Hunger Index 2021, wherein India has slipped to 101 position to be placed below Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and former vice chairman, NITI Aayog, has said that data collection and methodologies used
A long life span free from diseases and disability, the so-called healthy aging, has been a matter of prime interest to humanity. It is widely held that the life expectancy is a function of interplay between various genetic and environmental factors. There is scientific evidence to support the fact that on