Thursday, 17 March 2011

Today is India Ruled? .....or Led?

I thought that when we became a democracy, the British rulers had left our country and we were now independent. Is this not so?

Why is it then, that we find that the media very frequently refers to the ruling party to depict the party in governance in the country or the state? This always raises the question in my mind as to why the term ‘ruling’ is used. Rulers set their own standards where the good of the masses has low priority vis-à-vis their own self interest. The ruler has a superior and subordinate relationship with the common man.

Wikipedia states that a democracy is a form of political organization in which all people, through elected representatives, exercise equal control over the matters which affect their interests. Other definitions of democracy abound – it is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. Or it is a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges. The common people are considered as the primary source of political power, and governance is by the common people of the country as distinguished from any privileged class.

Yet one and all would agree that today the politicians are definitely a privileged class of persons in our country – and more importantly, that they have begun to consider this their right. The party in power are our elected representatives, not our rulers. If they represent us, how is it that they have taken upon themselves rights greater than ours? Is the party in power not the party with the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of those who have elected them, those whom they represent? Or do they join politics only to increase their own self-importance?

I would, in place of rulers use two other terms – ‘leaders’ or ‘persons with responsibility’. Leaders show the way forward, have vision, and look to the future. It is incumbent upon the leaders to set practices that can be emulated or followed by the others. They have duties and obligations which are ahead of their self interest; their rights are at par with other citizens. A leader must possess moral courage, pride, self esteem; he or she shows high concern for the task and the people, grit and determination, has credibility and conviction, is respected by all and looked upon with awe.

Today, are our elected representatives a set of people that we look up to? Or a set from whom our expectations go down each succeeding term, whom we suffer with diminishing hope? Ones we look up to with respect for their sterling qualities or with disgust for what they have managed to get away with? With the passage of so many years, the so-called ‘rulers’ have only perpetuated their rights. And, by using this term again and again, we reiterate the concept of a dynasty, of the further representatives coming from their genes and the family they belong to, with merit and ability being given a go-bye. Professional knowledge and competence to handle the job have none, or only an insignificant role to play in today’s politics.

In parliamentary democracies, ‘ruling party’ cannot be the normal term for the party that is in power or government. Let us from now onwards remove the word ‘rulers’ from our lexicon and use the term ‘persons with responsibility’.  Maybe the re-naming will slowly and gradually start developing into action, and the principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community again become meaningful concepts.


  1. That's good (:
    The link to my site on your page isn't working. And I don't know how to add yours to my page since I'm rather new to this..