The miles to go before I sleep...

  • Start teaching science at school and incorporate demo
  • Research, design, implement comprehensive teaching module on science, civic sense
  • Interview social change agents working @ ground level
  • Pilot peer-to-peer teaching programme

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why should a politician be selfless?

During the last monsoon season, tamil magazines and newspapers carried baffling pictures displaying flood playing havoc all over Tamil Nadu, especially in southern regions. One carried an overflowing Cauvery with a message saying that, the last time it was this full was about 5000 years ago! I to read the number twice or thrice to believe it.

The temple town of Srirangam, sandwitched between the overflowing Cauvery and Kollidam rivers, was in all danger of being submerged fully due to incessent rains and unprecedented flood in Cauvery. The only apart from the eventual subsidence of the rains is Jayalalitha's quick and proactive measure to save the city. That her measures, not just in Trichy, but all over Tamil Nadu was commendable is an undisputed fact substantiated by neutral and reputed news sources like NDTV. Barely six months later, AIADMK bit the dust in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elecitons when its coalation won less the half the number of seats than DMK. For what reasons? Karunanidhi offered TV sets and reduced the price of rice if people voted to him!

There is something to think about. The common man has so much to complain about the government. Corrupt politicians, innefficient administration, lacklusture infrastructure development are common-place in a such discussion. The question is, what about the things that the government does? Are people sensitive enough to appreciate it with the same conviction as they complained? Honestly, I don't say that Jayalalitha is any more righteous than Karunanidhi. I don't say that the people should have brought her back to power. But I can definitely say that when a government does a good job, it can guarantee itself almost nothing.

I can say that Jayalalitha would have learnt her lessons well. She would completely to me when I say that show-biz techniques and impossible assurances a month before the election gets you vote - the incentive for a political party to work for the people - better than genuine, decisive and proactive efforts. More likely than not, DMK's time will come, if they have not learnt that from AIADMK's loss.

People are not only dumb (as exemplified by the fact that they voted for DMK simply because Film Actor Rajinikanth commented against Jayalalitha in an earlier version election), they are also suffer from insensitivity, selective amnesia, and - like the politicians themselves - greed for personal incentives rather than a long-term social vision. Everybody works for an incentive. Everybody works better if the work is appreciated. Why should a politician be any more selfless?

15 comments:

Hamsa said...

The common man now is like a caricature by R.K.Laxman. He should look around him and see the 1000 problems that is plaguing him. Like a 1000 headed Adhi sesha. He must be capable of appreciating he problems that are gripping and ohers that can be put off. Like reservation that can wait for a later date than eradication of Leprosy and AIDS. AIDS : that in which TN ranks the highest!! No reservations against that!!!!.. bridges seem inconsequential next to bridging technology gaps..

It is a classical case of mistaken priorities. Also the failure of Lok Paritran : was a shame..

What else can we do but hope??

Hope until it dies. after that hope again..

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

I don't agree that people are that dump as depicted. But overall there is dumbness.

*) Srirangam, ADMK only won the seat. currently, people can see only what is good for them.
*) in the next election, Rajinikanth supported ADMK, but DMK won.

A shop owner will be having a different perspective for his vote. it will be different for farmer, and so on. For e.g., general IT people talks about how Chandra babu naidu has made Hyderabad. But the farmers of AP only know that how much they got afected. You and me ( being in technology field ) would vote for him (because for us, his rule will be usefull), but we can not expect the same from the farmers. so it is very tough to draw line, who is dump. But cumulatively we are dump for sure ( only degrees varry). the economy/happiness of the common will draw this conclusion.

You are asking why Politicians shd be selfless. They need not. The very selfless foolishness has caused all this problem. If we pay respectable salary to them, then we can ask the questions. "one ruppee" salary and "braibes in crores" are mere stupidity introduced by the "selflessness" logic.

Remember if you are selfless, you can not even say that, because you are selfless. ( Like an innocent can not call him innocent)

Generally politicians are not selfless, but identify them with some concept. Dravida kalagam, Communist, BJP, etc., all identifies with a bigger concept. this is not selfless. selfless means "non identification with anything" or "identification with every thing".

Hamsa said...

Actually I dont agree with this.

If the educated section of the population atleast votes we may have a clearer idea. But we dont turn up at the polling booths. As for the vaster section, they are lured quite easily by TVs and Rice as these are luxuries:unimaginable for them. on the other hand :the middle and the upper classes dont even care abt them. so these are diversions offered by the political parties to have the uneducated masses up in droves to vote.

again i dont think i accept prakah's logic. The farmers in AP have had thier problems from time unknown. To solve their problems it takes a decade. Is rajasekara reddy doing it now? It is a hogwash.

It is a pity that these days instead of using our strengths to win elections, we end up using other's faults and pinpoint them.

In short we are all washing dirty linen in public. The public is not left a choice. Like in TN :DMK or ADMK. thats all.

Also forming coalitions against the single largest party must be stopped. 70% of the voting population will only vote. a party will 35% of seats. but all others will coalesce and get the remaining 35%. what kinda of a joke is this???/
anyhow, Indian politics is like a drama and all world's a stage for them

Badhri said...

Hamsa,
I am not sure what you don't agree with.

"...People are not only dumb (as exemplified by the fact that they voted for DMK simply because Film Actor Rajinikanth commented against Jayalalitha in an earlier version election)"

or

"...they are also suffer from insensitivity, selective amnesia, and - like the politicians themselves - greed for personal incentives rather than a long-term social vision."

Besides, what clearer picture we will get when the educated section votes? About people's sensitivity? If that is so, the very fact that they don't show corroborates that point. (I think tele-vote is a good initiative to coceive and implement!)

Prakash,
The ADMK loss in the election was just a spark that got me thinking. To discuss that and stop at it will narrow down the perspective of this post.

Both,

My main point is

"People are insensitive to whatever little good the government does, and they are almost totally lack social sensitivity, if at all they are concious about such a thing."

Now one may say it is not practical to expect that. Well then it is not practical to expect any change of the good. Direct and simple inference

Hariharan Subramanian said...

I guess the real potential of a 'common man' is underestimated in most cases. He remains a silent spectator of things happening around him, and gives a proper verdict when and where it is required.

It is unfortunate that the so called neutral news sources commend Jayalalitha for what she should have naturally done. Being a chief minister she was expected to take quick and proactive measures. I guess the government is not a small child who requires constant appreciation for even the smallest thing it does. As far as Karunanidhi being elected to power, I am not sure whether it is the sheer election manifesto that brought him back to power. Think about the things which Jayalalitha did for the previous 4 years in power. It was more like an autocratic rule than a democratic rule. Of course, if one supports autocracy then there is no argument about her style of function. As the tamil saying “kanketta piragu sooriya namaskaram”, her work was too little and definetly too late.

Back to the issue relating to the manifesto, a good marketing team can only attract the consumer to the market. But it is the quality of the actual product that determines whether it would be successful. I guess the same thing works out for the politicians too. It was the confidence in Karunanidhi which helped him to be a chief minister with a touch of insecurity (minority government!!). Hence it is not right to consider people to be insensitive with selective amnesia.

If and when a government gives a real good governance, I am confident that the people would elect the government back to power regardless of the incentives showered to them. Oh!! Did I say the politician need to be selfless for these reasons??!!

Badhri said...

Hey Hari!
So, a political controversy is what it takes to jump start your commenting instincts! Great!

Coming to the subject, you are being too idealistic say you don't understand why politicians (or anybody needs incentive) or why anybody needs to be appreciated to do his/her duty.

Its like a CEO telling his top RnD guy that "Dude I know you work well, I know you are instrumental in generating revenue for the company. But thats why you get paid! So, no excellence award for you! Go work".

Any good work deserved recognition. Jayalalitha saved a drowning city. She deserves a pat in the back. Period.

And Jayalalitha has always to been autocratic and DMK had always been "non-autocratic". Why do you think, in that case, the incumbent always lost to the challenger? Thats because people have been eternally had a bad taste for the party in power. So, "...confidence is Karunanidhi" is IMHO, utterly wrong. It is rather "..greed in Karunanidhi's short-term, useless incentives".

Anyway, I don't really care about who TN should choose (that point is to narrow and specific). What I really care about is to say is 'common man' has real potential. That potential was never kinetic. Primarily because of the point I outlined in my previous comment.

Naveen said...

There's point in what you said. But it converges back to governance.
1)I would like to recall Abdul Kalam's email which was comparing the indian people abroad where an Indian would follow traffic rules wouldnt litter around, on the same note a foreigner in India would exactly behave like an Indian he wouldnt follow the traffic rules and he would definitley litter. The difference is governance
2) The best we can do is give our full support to Pavitrana political party
3) Rather than trying to change hundred people we should try to change the One person who is leading 100 people.
And it seems we are in a feckduup vicuouis loop of discussions...theres always loopoles in everybodies argument...

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

I think the problem is people are becoming more selfish. more selfish means more stupids. More selfless means more intelligence.

This is like intelligence. Once you learn a lot, you know intelligence is a vast ocean. so you won't call yourself intelligent. by not accepting yourself as intelligent, you grow more in intelligence. Same applies for selflessness also.

Which means "people who calls themselves as selfless" are stupids.

Badhri said...

Naveen,
"..converges back to governance"
That notion applies to autocracy where people don't know what voting is. In a democracy, it depends on government and the government depends on people. That is where it converges. The single biggest problem is, people don't have a singular conciousness. Few vote based on the merit of the political party. Few people have a larger social view point. That is the core of the problem.

Like the discussion itself, governance and people are vicious circle too.

Prakash,
ஏதோ தத்துவம் சொல்ரன்னு புரியுது, என்ன சொல்ரென்னுதான் புரியலை!

Driver said...

Totally unrelevant to the point made here - only 60% of the electorate voted. The other 40%, who could have made a difference, still abstain. It is the interest, or the lack of it, shown by this 40% that decides the fate of the public. I would blame those who abstained rather than those who picked a party that favored at least their immediate need. Being selfish isn't necesarily the worst unlike being ignorant.

Badhri said...

How about being selfish with ignorance as foundation?

Prakash Gomathinayagam said...

>> How about being selfish with ignorance as foundation?

What else is happening now ?. current govt(and people) are selfish, because of ignorance, they call themselves selfless. but they are not !!!. That is what I am trying to say.

Badhri said...

Point-a pudicha machi!

Srini said...

Yes people are dumb and they vote for freebies , but look at the real situation , Jayalalitha won more seats than DMK in Chennai where flood relief was done well.In rest of Tamilnadu , the Monsson's reach was too high for the Govt to act and people were badly affected and hence the verdict.Also Monsoon is not the only thing that decided the Votes.Anti-incumbency is the characteristic of Tamilnadu voters.If you look carefully ruling parties lose all over the country except West Bengal. Why is it so? bcos no matter who is in power , the comman man's daily plight is the same , the roads are bad, power and water supply is a problem and govt offices are drowned in beauracracy.
The fact that freebies still win votes is a proof that a significant portion of the population is still to see the economic benifits of India's growth,as long as employement oppurtunities don't expand any politician promising freebies can hold the economy to ransom.

Badhri said...

Good point Srini,
I thought of the "anti-incumbency" factor in TN too. The question I wanted answered at that time is why people revert back to the party (or its allies) they have thrown out in the election before the previous one? The answer again is lack of awareness or the penchance for it (the state that I call "dumbness"). How many of us know that there is a 3rd option which is "I-hate-both" in voting?