Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is Indian Politics no place for the well educated?

“Why don't grads from our top notch edu instt get into Politics? Asks @ShashiTharoor in his article in The Week. Now there's a thought.”

This tweet of mine was re-tweeted by Shashi Tharoor and led to a huge response from about 30-40 people, in less than 10 hours!

The responses ran across the entire spectrum of thoughts. From expressing disgust at the framework and structure of Indian Politics, to the desire to participate in the process, but being unable to do so - albeit, because of the structure!

It seems there are a large number of educated youth out there who are genuinely interested in good Governance (Nation building, actually)!

They are intimidated by the fact that entering Politics means giving up their present (and, probably lucrative) career, being presented with an uncertain future, sucking up to the 'powers-that-be', dealing with hoodlums, thugs and goondas, being labelled (and themselves, becoming) corrupt and all the negativity surrounding Politicians today.

This makes it a complete No-No for 'aspiring' youngsters. As a result, we are losing out on benefiting from a wealth of ideas that can change the way we live!

This is unacceptable.

To change this, we must understand that the first step is to get rid of the 'chalta hai' attitude. We must be aware of this problem and acknowledge that the solutions are available, do-able, but would take time and a persistent approach.

First, grass-root level education is where we need to start. Ensuring that a solid, ethical foundation is built is getting a good headstart. We do not really need very highly educated post-graduates and double-graduates only, for this job.

Second, the political framework needs to be able to allow new people (read: people with no 'family' connections) to be given a reasonably level playing field to enter into the fray. A simple barometer to measure this is the success that such people have had - so if there are a few examples, this, should suffice!

Third, we should have a strong judiciary to ensure that if there are any transgressions, these are actioned upon quickly and firmly - impartially, at least to the extent possible. The judiciary needs to be strengthened at the grass-root level. The common man seeks justice at the Sessions Court level, he cannot wait for his matter to reach the Supreme Court and then be granted justice! He wouldn't survive that long!

Finally, while we go about doing this, we must make a start. We must ensure that the youth start getting involved. There HAS to be a sense of ownership and involvement - even if it is on a smaller scale. But the youth HAVE to be involved in Governance.

We seem to have forgotten what history teaches. Every country goes through a major change (revolution, would be a wrong word here) only when a majority of the youth have been involved. It is THEY who need the change, ask for it and go about getting it. Let me make one thing clear - when I say 'youth', I really mean those who are in their 20s and 30s!! Not like what some of our politicians would like us to believe - a 'young' politician according to them is below the age of 50!!!

I have noticed that it is the urban youth who are more disconnected than the rural youth. It is these boys and girls in the cities who believe that they can let the 'dirty work' be left to 'others'! Well, they should realize that if they do not take active part in governance, it will be sone other (probably, uneducated, sycophant) who will be making the Law that he/she will need to live by!!

The need of the hour is action - on the ground level. We have enough of arm-chair philosophers, activists, bloggers, tweeters and the like!

Let's go out and, if nothing else, just file at least ONE RTI or DO some good for Society. Let's make a start. I've made one, myself. You can do it too. A small one. At our level. Keeping it simple.

In time, with our persistence, we will see the change.

- Well ... and that's how I feel...
(Posted using BlogPress from my iPad)


Akhilesh said...

The problem is where to begin. As I see it, you have two options. 1) Participate in Nation building by associating yourself with an NGO or 2) Join a political party.

In the first option, you can make an impact, but larger issue such as good governance and good policies would lie outside your realm. In the second option, you would be typcasted into mainstream politics.
And starting your own party is not viable. What's the way out?

SasiKiran Dadi said...

nice blog!
most of the youth in 20s n 30s r manly controlled by their parents, we can say influenced.. be it IITians or IIM grads...
And dont get why graduation as said by u is not required for politics.
I think subjects like political sciences r done as graduation subjects by Obama for a reason..
Would u yourself allow your child to venture into politics?

BK Chowla, said...

I agree with you. It is only if each one of us does one act, we may change the face of the country.

I-Ore Trading said...

Hi Sandeep,

Let us first of get the cliche of Rang de Basanti solution out of our discourse.

Joining politics by the educated needs a SWOT analysis and it does not favour any move into that area.

Conflict #1 Educated vibrant minds cannot be reporting to anyone with lesser qualifications.

Conflict #2 No credible Example to enthuse such a move.

Conflict #3 Corporate accountability standards required.

Conflict #4 Financial implication leading to legal outcomes.

Conflict #5 Self & Career development road map missing.

Conflict #6 If this in service of the nation then there will be a contradictions in Party's view Vs Individuals resolution mechanism not visible need to be made clear.

I guess I will stop at this. Instead the educated youth could form pressure groups without joining political parties and offer solutions to the Political Parties and make presentations why the schemes or routes should be adopted and what the public would gain by those actions.

Anil Kohli

Anonymous said...

I agree. How about youth taking going for IAS ?

Vinod Chand said...

Education essentially narrows your focus. The more educated you are, the more narrowly focused you become. Therefore in my opinion the need for enlisting graduates and post graduates in politics would is misplaced.

What is needed is a will to do things. To execute what comes to your mind with the single objective of common good. You may start doing it alone but as time goes by you will find people joining, supporting and following you. Is that not what a leader or a political party is supposed to be?

One can either crib about all the things that are wrong about our country, state, city or locality or go and do something about it. It will involve getting your hands dirty, are you ready for that? If yes, then surely it does not matter what your base qualification is, you can make a difference to the world in your own small way.

Anonymous said...


You need to reframe your observation.

There are many well educated persons in Indian politics.
PM is superbly educated; SMKrishna is Full (not half) bright scholer; Jairam Ramesh is IIT-B at Mumbai; Panikar (ex-CM Goa) is also IIT-B; Many Engineers, MBAs, CA, doctors. Most of them are lawyers including Sri Lallu Prasad, A Raja.

Some are also well educated but incompetent.

You need to say that there is no place for honest and straight forward person in Indian Politics.

serendipity said...

Sandeep this problem can not be solved so simply
but yes if we hark back to the JP was a success because of the youth involvement in it!
Youth has the passion , the fire in the blood that still rages and has not been doused by expedient solutions or lucre of following an established career graph...but simply asking for information thru RTI is not enough..the establishment finds a way to stonewall even innocent inquiries...
at least today we Indians are thinking....
and that for me is the first step
second is quality education..let us help in imparting to each Indian this basic right
Hopefully ..this may lead to a cleansing of our politics in the not too distant future!

Anonymous said...

PS - Politics today has became a business. More than business, a mafia business to loot and control people under the grab of democacy. It cost a lot of investment with some street smart qualities. Some of these can be acquired but most of these need to be learnt. Which young person has patience, motivation and time to learn all this? The current gang has created high entry barriers and does not allow the fresh new blood to enter unless it is thier own blood.

B Shantanu said...

Sandeep: Good post...Can I invite you and others over to my blog ? and the facebook page?

Also, when you have a moment, please have a look at this - then consider joining hands...

You can email me at jai.dharma AT

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

P.S. Watch out for a post tomorrrow on my blog on why "good people" don't join "politics"