January 29, 2010

The New Role Models - 62 years after Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi 2.10.1869 - 30.1.1948

Gandhi who? Sardar who? Shastri who?

30th January 2010 is the 62nd Death Anniversary of the greatest Indian in recent history, Mahatma Gandhi.

It is time to remember him. It is also necessary to remember another giant of a man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as well as Lal Bahadur Shastri, the third Prime Minister of India. By coincidence, all these three worthy sons of India were born in the month of October. While Mahatma Gandhi and Shastri died in the month of January, Sardar died in December.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel 31.10.1875-15.12.1950
Lal Bahadur Shastri 2.10.1904 - 10.1.1966

These three true Leaders, models of simplicity and अपरिग्रह, were expected to be the role models for the countrymen in terms of morality in public life.

As the people look back in time and look at the present times, sadly the memories of these three Leaders and other such leaders of earlier years appear to be fading and instead of looking up to men like them, the people seem to be looking up to a new breed of polticians - the unscrupulous, the avaricious and the downright corrupt politicians as the new Role Models - or Rule Models. This new breed of politician-leaders has hardly anything in common with their worthy predecessors except, perhaps, that some of them still wear Khadi.

These are the examples of some such "worthy" political leaders of the present time.

Jagan and YSR Reddy
Lalu Prasad
Madhu Koda
Praful Patel
A. Raja
Deve Gowda
Mulayam Singh
Amarinder Singh

With a Learner Licence

Sukhbir Badal

The selection of these distinguished persons is naturally based on the larger public perception and does not claim to be complete as the list is constantly growing and bound to grow. It is as subjective as the list of Padma Awardees.

It is possible that a politician or his admirers or detractors may feel that he should not have been excluded from this Gallery of Illustrious Politicians. If anyone has been inadvertently, fairly or unfairly left out, his name could be suggested in the Comments Section for inclusion in the zone of consideration, based on his success in following the Credo of the New Politicians’ Class.

Carpe Omnia: Take it all, seize everything
Pecunia vincit omnia : Money conquers all

In lieu of a C.V., relevant web references/links detailing their "achievement" should be adequate. Let the readers then consider whether the person is “worthy” enough or not.

Vultures and Hyenas Waiting

The misfortune of this country will end only if we, the people, decide to banish the vermin, vultures and despicable parasites. No manna will fall nor any heavenly forces intervene for this and the people will themselves have to act. Only when they are effectively hounded out from political life and ostracized in social life then can we say even with half-conviction that:
Saare Jahan Se Achha

सारे जहाँ से अच्छा, हिंदोस्ताँ हमारा


news4you said...

It is indeed misfortune of our country that the old versions in political role models are no more valued as good ones to follow.

To name a few like the ones you have highlighted rightly,Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, Chagla, Yashwant Rao Chauvhan, C.D.Deshmukh, were all exceptionally great leaders of honesty and integrity.

Today we have power hungry politicians who have no patriotic feelings for own nation and making money is their only mantra for staying in politics.

Self centered, corrupt, dishonest and disloyal politicians unfortunately are the role models for younger generation. The list is long and exhaustive.

I will flag them as follows:

Dr Manmohan Singh. Is he honest? No, He is Dishonest. Is he selfish? Yes. Is he power hungry? Yes. Is he a good role model? NO.

Sharad Pawar: He is dishonest, selfish, self centered, and most corrupt.

Soniya Madam: Selfish? Yes. Self centered? Yes. Cunning? Yes. Patriotic? Can not be.Corrupt? Yes.

Chidambaram: Self centered? Yes. Selfish? Yes.

Arjun Singh: Corrupt? Yes. Self Fish? Yes. Useless? Yes

ND Tiwari, Shivraj Patil, Lalu Prasad, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, all Highly corrupt, Self centered, manipulative politicians,

The list is long of shameless, corrupt politicians. We need to raise our voice collectively and give message to these politicians that enough of your Tamaashaa. Either you perform or perish.

Or people will throw you out in collective retaliation.

Ketan said...


I have read a few of your posts, and I am impressed

with the sharpness of your sarcasm, and the

impartiality of your critiquing.

With regard to the current issue of inefficient and

corrupt politicians, I think one of the fundamental

problems with our constitution is that too much power

has been laid in the hands of elected representatives.

And since there is no right to recall, they enjoy a

free ride.

Also, the way the rules have been set, it seems those

framing the constitution had assumed that since

legislators would be elected from among the common

people by popular choice, they would be of impeccable

moral standing. But this assumption has proved to be

rather wishful.

Unfortunately, one of the problems plaguing all the

professions in India, and not just politics is that

everyone chooses one's vocation, not on the bases of

interests and aptitude, but earning opportunities,

convenience and circumstances.

Personally, this might sound sensational, but I do not

mind if a politician does make some money through

unofficial channels, but does chart out sound policies.

Of course, both could occur or not simultaneously could

be debatable.

However, the official compensation for any elected

representative is peanuts. The real cost of fighting

elections is at least Rs. 2 crore per constituency. For

us to expect that common people with sound moral

standing would be able to amass this kind of money

would be impractical. Moreover, also to assume that

once one gets elected, they would not try to recover

that kind of money is also wishful to think. And

nowadays, since none of the politicians are ever sure

if they would win the next election, irrespective the

quality of their governance, they think of their term

as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I think the steps that could/should be taken are:

1. To limit the expenditure in election campaigning. Of

course, limits are in place, but they are not honored.

I think with the advent of new technology, it is

possible to totally ban campaigning, and what instead

could be done is that the election commission (or its

local "branch") would disseminate the relevant

information (like candidate's past records, education,

experience in political life, criminal record, etc.,

and of course, a manifesto) through channels like TV,

radio, internet, etc., making sure that every candidate

gets equal opportunity for campaigning. This would also

encourage those not having huge amount of funds to also

participate. Of course, one of the problems could be

the process of what criteria to employ as to who would

contest. But this could be worked out, for instance

having some kind of deposit....

Ketan said...

...2. With tremendous improvement in communication technology, I think we should start looking at the possibility of direct democracy. I had done a post on this issue. It would also allow for recalling the candidate, apart from greater involvement of people in decision-making on local issues that directly concern them.

Direct Democracy in India: a Possibility? (click)

I would like your comments on that post.

But of course, the biggest problem with the way our constitution stands currently is that we can think of many good reforms, but to effect them would require the corrupt MPs in the Parliament to vote for them with two-third majority! Would they ever do that if the very same reforms would go against their opportunities to exploit the public treasury? No, they never will! And that is the greatest misfortune.

If somehow people with good moral standing, intention to do good (for the constituency and/or country) happen to reach the LS, then just possibly we can dream that the situation in India would improve.

And till that happens, the best we can do is to wish ill for these inept and corrupt politicians, and curse them as you have done in your post. But it is unlikely doing so will help improve the overall situation. Sorry, did not want to sound discouraging, but that is the most honest thing I feel.

Take care.

rakhi narula said...

a very good and convincing presentation.

people really need to act.

n krishnan said...


what is stated inthe article can hardly be called 'cursing'

it is stating the reality as most people think the same way but are not taking any action. the idea is to achieve what you have stated in the previous paragraph, only thing is that it will not happen "somehow" as u put it but only people can do it.

Bichu Muttathara said...

It is really unfortunate that the politics in India has lost its dignity and stature due to some unscrupulous politicians, who hardly deserve to be called so. The present day Netas are hardly netas when compared to the selfless leaders of yesteryears. The names of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Nehruji et al should not be taken with the same breath as the names of the present day leaders. They are criminals or teachers of the nation in politicians' clothing.

Cyberkitty said...

I really like Gandhi's book - 'My Experiments with truth' and i try to follow it as far as possible in my life...God gives power in the hands of the weak ...and through their achievements shows his strength...

Basudeb Sen said...

We must be prepared to accept the realties and truth:
1. Today's corrupt,selfish, incompetent, useless and treacherous politicians are the result of the lack of vision or deliberate plan of the politicians of yesterday. Today's politicians did not fall from heaven.
2. In a democracy or socialist/ communist country, the people choose those who would rule the country. If the citizens have chosen corrupt and selfish politicians to represent them and rule, that has to be accepted.
3. The problem lies on the people choosing and supporting the dishonest, corrupt incompetent and useless persons, why should some one cry?
4. If today's electorate prefer corruption, dishinesty and incompetence as good, this is because they (especially the youinger generations), the only way out is to provide adequate information and analises to them so that they can appreciate that by choosing and suporting dishonesty, corruption, inefficiency and incompetence, the country as a whole loses.
So the only task is to make prople develop in themselves a keen urge for honesty in public life. Once more and more people appreciate the need for choosing morally strong, honest, capable politicians, they would do so. Second they would continuously need authentic information of the personal, social, financial, educational and moral standards of all polticians. This can be done by independent rating of each politician. (see http://basudebsen05.blogspot.com/ on this subject).
India-Awake has posted an excellent piece and needs to be appreciated. He may consider doing further work on the two tasks siggested above. As more and more persons take up this role, hopefully one day most citizens will know what to do and will get rid of what is bad for their present and future.

Mee, Ashamed to be Marathi said...

very good article.

in the list of 'padma' awardees mentioned above, the first position is fixed i.e. sharad pawar. He is the Maha Padma.

rest can be a matter of debate and discussion.

keepcool said...

your style is very forceful and convincing.

i agree with basudeb sen's suggestions on carrying the good work forward.

news4you said...

If we have to elect government by the people... (Voters) we have no good choice. We need to change the system of selection process.

If we have government of the people... we need to select people of our choice not by the political party.

If we have the government for the people... we must have the right to call back our elected member if he/she does not perform, is dishonest.

Then it will be in true sense, democratically elected government, by the people, of the people , for the people.

As regards to Role models... please let us not blame younger generation for the mess older generation has created over the last 60 years.

This has become a fashion to blame the younger people. Have they ruled so far? All the politicians are over 50 years, 60 years and 70 years. Who have been in politics from post independence rule. They are responsible for criminalization of politics, corruption, misrule, non performance and allowing criminal elements in politics.

Look at Mayawati, Laloo Prasad Yadv, Mulayam Singh, Shibu Suren, Sharad Pawar, Natwar Singh, Arjun Singh, Shivraj Patil, Devi Gauda, Karunanidhi (who can not even walk, stand ) Tiwari, Krupashankar Singh, Deshmukh, Shinde. and many who have no business to be there.

What do the have to offer to younger generation? They have loose and corrupt characters. They have criminal backgrounds.They have no principles and moral values. Power and money are the only factors that motivates them. How can they be role models for others. They can not be even good role models for their own children leave aside others.

Yes, there is one towering personality with humility, exceptional vision and character with highest values, that being...Ex President Dr A.B.J.Kalam. Our most loved, respected Ex President for being the finest human being.For many young minds, he is the role model.

None from the present political class deserves the tag. No One.
They only deserve a boot.

sm said...

Thanks for sharing.
The sad story of India is that good leaders have short life or they are killed by someone.

vasu said...

Chidambaram has been forgotten from the list of corrupt politicians,Even Pranab Mukherjee,Murli Deora -they are in Government to represent the Ambanis.

Unfortunately,nobody is bothered about the voters after they get entry into the Parliament.

So,we must chuck them out as soon as we get a chance.Hold them accountable by recall ( if & when allowed).The best bet is to improve literacy which will be the best offense against our corrupt politicians.

india-awake said...

Many suggestions have been received for inclusion in the list.

Some are genuine ommissions and some others are part of a long list of smaller fries.

Notable Ommissions:
By his actions and statements at strategic times as Finance Minister and psuedo economist, he actively helped the builder lobby raise prices by over 400% in just four years. His actions led to a permanent increase in benchmark housing prices to unheard of levels which could not be justified by any sudden demand and supply considerations, thereby helping the builders much as Pawar has helped the profiteers raise the benchmark prices of food items by his actions. It is simply inconceivable that their actions were/are motivated by any considerations of public good.Only private interests have been served.

His actions as Petroleum Minister that are helping a certain industrial group are well publicised.

Others whose names have been suggested and which prima facie qualify, are:
Vilasirao Deshmukh
Arjun Singh
Bhajan Lal
Antulay (distant past)
et al.

In the Indian context, the list can be endless and subjective selection has to be resorted to.

Still, it would help if the names suggested are linked to any web references, for the readers to judge.

india-awake said...

Excellent comments by several readers.

Your frustration, like every right-thinking Indian's, is quite understandable. you have rightly mentioned some names. while some are corrupt some are simply crooks or dishonest.

amongst the corrupt, they range from double ph.d.s to graduates. many more are still in school or college or taking their own CAT in corruption.

"the best we can do is to wish ill for these inept and corrupt politicians, and curse them" may not be the right approach.
the people must give vent to their thoughts and at the same time try building opinion amongst as many more as possible.
this article and other articles like these seek to create or strengthen public opinion in the right direction.
change is essentially slow but there are no shortcuts.
the least people can also do is to let their feelings reach the highest levels of government like the President or the PM as suggested by one of the readers earlier. Whether they can or will do anything to set things right is a different matter. If people even fail to say what they think, then it is their failure to participate even in a limited way.

basudeb sen
as usual,an elaborate and excellent analysis and viewpoint.

thanks. chidu and murli should have been there.

other commenters
sincere appreciation for expressing your feelings which shows that the article has struck the right chord in many readers.

Ketan said...

Yes, india-awake, you are right. By "curse" I just meant an angry reaction, and I find it a very obvious way to vent out one's anger.

My views could be owing to my lately acquired cynicism with regard to not just the Indian politics, but the society in general.

But, I truly admire your effort in provoking people into thinking, and also reacting, in the process probably yanking people like me too out of their passivity.

What news4you has indicated is a genuine problem, I feel. We feel that by removing those who are proven to be guilty of corruption/ineptitude, our problems would be solved. But the problem is one replacing them would also be equally corrupt and inept. The issue is not merely removing the current crop but having a 'pool' of good administrators to choose from. How do we create that pool?But, I agree that does not mean we should not raise our voices to ask for their removal. Because failing to do so would amount to our complicity.

When I said "somehow", I did have some ideas in mind, but I felt they would be too off-mark. I feel, the right thing to do is to promote rational thinking right from the childhood. The tendency to bow before cult personalities is to be discouraged. If people would be confident about their own thought processes, they will not allow shrewd politicians to hijack their own rational ideas by espousing divisive and short-term policies.

Also, another problem with the current society is inherent respect for "power", "status" and "money" to the exclusion of admiration for morals and efficiency. We can see this tendency in all walks of life. This is what creates urge in a large fraction of the population (not just the politicians) to earn money and power through "hook or by crook". Unless and until we develop genuine contempt for dishonesty and immoral behavior, the incentive to earn money through unfair means will prevail. To bring about these sociopsychological changes will not only take time, but realistic take on societal trends makes me think, will never occur.

But as I pointed out before, this cause for the corruption of contemporary society is not considered seriously by many people, and anyway is way off mark for the content of your current post. Hence, I had desisted from expressing it.

I repeat, this cynicism is personal, and I do not want it to be infectious. I hope I will be cured of my cynicism. Because, as it is my attitude towards these issues keeps on changing from time-to-time.

Thanks for the response here!

kick-da-scoundrels said...

To become cynical about the system is to give these rascals the freedom they want to rape the country. It suits them just fine. That is what they want. They want to be left alone by the people.

Nirmala Motwani said...

As rightly said by india-awake in the Credo, they consider us, the people, as Suckers.

I have tears in my eyes when I think of what Gandhiji, Sardar, Shastri and men like them did for us.

P.I.L. BUSTER said...

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I am referring to infamous Madhu Koda and his Rs.4000 cr. Hawala Scam. You may find out how PIL against Madhu Koda accusing him of Rs. 4000 cr. scam may be a bogus proxy lititgation. However the conspirators have managed the media so well and prejudiced the concerned authorities that the accused has been established guilty as charged in the eyes of almost entire country.

You may find the detailed story at the following blog.


I am not comfortable divulging my identity at this stage because of the sensitive nature of the information. I am posting this message on this particular post of yours because I would like more people to see the other side of the story.

And absolutely nothing like you giving your take on what we have to say. Unbiased and exactly how you see it. We are open to any sort of criticism.

P.I.L. Buster

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