Friday, March 25, 2011

Will Our Parliament Be a Vansh Sabha Instead of a Lok Sabha?

This is apropos of Chandrahas Chaudhury's review of Patrick French's book India: a Portrait. This isn't about the book or about the review but about a shocking revelation (to my poor uncomprehending mind, that is) that is excerpted in the review as follows:


"He (Patrick French) finds that almost 30 per cent of MPs fall into this category (meaning: MPs who are from a family of MPs), including two-thirds of the 66 MPs aged 40 or under. Thus, he demonstrates just how much weight a family name carries when it comes to the restocking of Indian democracy with new blood. Sixty-three years after its ambitious inauguration, then, Indian democracy remains semi-feudal. "I am not suggesting that a 'hereditary MP' is a bad MP," French says, concluding tidily, "merely that this system excludes the overwhelming majority of Indians from participation in politics at a national level". With a new law mandating that 33 per cent of parliamentary seats be reserved for women about to come into effect in the 2014 general elections, the situation could grow worse as the mothers, wives and daughters-in-law of India are catapulted into the hustings. "India's next general election," warns French, "was likely to return not a Lok Sabha, a house of the people, but a Vansh Sabha, a house of dynasty."


Indian politicians lobby hard for their children and mostly win. I don't need to point fingers. There was this case of Margaret Alva who resigned because her son wasn't given a ticket, according to this article. Excerpt:


"The general secretary (Margaret Alva), who has been sulking over denial of election ticket to her son Nivedith in Karnataka recently, had alleged that "different yardsticks" were being adopted in deciding party nominations for upcoming elections in six states."


So my question (it's a dumb question) is if politicians are so enthusiastic about getting their sons into parliament (after all it is a profitable profession [better than any business, with everything provided free!] how will democracy and equality of opportunity prevail? Are we the great democracy we tom-tom to the world? Will the Lok Sabha become the Vansh Sabha of the country? Will we be a victim of the rule by oligarchy of a few families? How credible our democratic roots?

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