imagesIt is a common dilemma of the educated, and the uneducated, as to if and how they should engage in or contribute to the political process of their land. There are questions around ethics, priority (of self or family interest over public interest), individual liberty and conscience, the “mass mentality”, and the risk of being tainted by the words or actions of others. And these are considered and cited as obstacles.
Which brings us to the question. What is politics? The Cambridge dictionary defines politics thus:
“The activities of the government, members of law-making organizations, or people who try to influence the way a country is governed”.
And the Oxford dictionary adds the “party” element to this definition:
“The activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.”
Going by either definition, politics would seem a noble and necessary vocation. Yes, a vocation, and not a profession.
The reality, as we know, is quite different in many, if not most, cases.
But so is the reality of education or learning, of employment or enterprise, of marriage or relationships, of social interaction or friendship, of almost all things we all do in our lives as a human society, quite different from what they ought really to be, as envisioned originally or defined ideally in many, if not most, cases.
However, do we shy away or abstain from any of these because they are not what they were or are meant to be? Or for the strife and stress they cause in our lives?
No, and the reason is because we deem these as essential to our human development and well-being.
And so it is with politics. And perhaps even more so than these.
Why? Because it is politics that determines whether and how we can get our food, water, shelter, clothing, dignity, freedom, education, health, wealth, love, prayer, security, entertainment, et al.
So, why do we shun politics while engaging in all or most of the other activities or needs mentioned above?
It must be ignorance. It must be fear. It must be conditioning.
Whereby we are convinced that politics, which is all about our present and future, is the preserve and domain of others, and not of ours – the people and citizens.
Which brings me to my understanding of the root cause of the failure of our polity to deliver the results that we expect.
And, IMHO, it is the failure of we, the people, the citizens, the civil society as we like to call ourselves now, to imbibe and uphold the values that we expect others to be judged by and to engage in and participate in the democratic process of our representative form of governance.
Our country, our society, our economy, our polity and our humanity or spirituality can only change for the better when we become the change we want to see.
When we become part of the process to bring about change for the better, never mind the obstacles, for we anyway face obstacles in all other spheres of life.
When we become cognizant of the governance that we want and need.
So that someday, perhaps a day not that far from now, each citizen can become self governed by being the embodiment of an enlightened constitutional and humane spirit her/himself.
Such that the assertion of the intellectually and spiritually mighty Henry David Thoreau as expressed in his most famous work “Walden and Civil Disobedience” where he stated that “That government is best which governs least” may finally become a reality.
Till then, and perhaps even then, onward we march.
For, We Must Overcome. Someday.
Satyameva Jayate!

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An Indian by birth, a world citizen, and a tiny but independent part of our vast and expanding universe. Aspiring for liberty, justice and humanity. For all.