Family Politics in India

Politics is always a tricky business. Those who are involved especially in India have to sweat it out. There are very few families which can take a cool walk in the Indian politics.

The Times of India writes (28 September 2009)

Noble vocations are the manifest destiny of many a neta’s offspring. Look at Maharashtra. When party tickets to fight elections are given to ‘kin’dred souls, it’s thanks to a kinship less of blood than of the sweat and tears that go into public service. Inspiringly, kids, grandkids, nephews and nieces of luminaries like the president and assorted people’s representatives are entering or aspire to enter the assembly poll fray. The bad press they’re getting for it is unfair. The child shouldn’t pay for the sins (or bills) of the father; in politics, the favour’s usually done the other way round. Why, then, must political GenNext be told ‘no-kin-do’ about a line of duty pa or grandpa chose? Why wait till kin-dom come to fulfil a higher calling?

As Friends of Kin say, the hereditary principle applies to everything under the son. Take the triumvirate doctor-lawyer-engineer that’s pursued in the marriage market. Doctors’ children become doctors, and it’s not just to get the best brides. Shaadi-related monopolies stand shaken in any case due to post-slowdown job insecurity. Forget doctor & co, even golden babalog like phoren-settled IT engineers or bankers have been replaced by humble babulog as eligible bachelors. Like blondes, government servants now have more fun. That’s thanks not only to Sixth Pay Commission generosity but also the babus’ sinecure…er, secure…posts.

Besides, in 21st century India, people no longer wear job-linked straitjackets. There’s eased professional mobility. The employment market is so diversified, the call of political duty even goes unheeded. Else, a potential political heir wouldn’t step into Rakhi Sawant’s stilettos rather than his dad’s kohlapuris. Clearly, the Great Indian Wedding is itself now a televised career option. Just think: picking out a dulha or dulhaniya and getting paid for it! More, swayamvar or biwi-hunt assignments don’t end with getting hitched. Getting unhitched and rehitched to the power of infinity is on hire as well.

Again, a political heavyweight in Maharashtra has an actor-son; a similar biggie in Bihar has a cricketer-son. Neither Junior has scored big yet, but neither desires vote-garnering as a job alternative. Finally, with the wrecking of the old work-linked caste system, greybeards too have professional wanderlust. A political veteran recently renounced mute membership of his strife-torn party, becoming an idol breaker-cum-bestseller writer. Refusing to say “Jinnah yahan, darna yahan”, he took the plunge. So, political dynasty is doubtless a venerable institution. But its babylog on vocation should realise politics isn’t always Naukri No. 1. jagan


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