Saturday, March 06, 2010

Political Inbreeding - Genetic Disorder in Political Thinking

I was reading one blog by Niharika Mishra questioning the role of education and its inefficiency to create well-rounded conscience. I found the thought quite interesting. It made me think about the role of education in something else that's been acting crazy on my mind lately - Indian Politics.

What is the role of education in creating able politicians to run our country towards growth? Or quite simply put, how do we create politicians today?

This takes me back to my college days where we used to join the political campaigning for college elections to get a entry to the girls' hostel ! We had our ideologies and all but we had our educational ambitions of getting good marks as well. So serious participation in the college elections were not in the agenda for me. Having said that, there were a few friends who were actively into college politics. Surely college, especially graduation/master degree is one of the breeding ground of future politicians.

The concern is how they breed? The concern is what do they learn & assimilate when they are becoming future politicians. I have observed that independent candidates hardly won elections. If they are too popular, they are beaten to withdraw their nomination. Effectively, if you have political ambition, first you have to adapt to sycophancy and become part of a close group.

You need to build a rapport with the existing political pillars. There is nothing wrong in becoming part of a team but the problem in this particular context is that the formative years of becoming a politician is guided by senior politicians. So you tend to think how your seniors thought, you tend to behave how your seniors behaved. So vote bank politics is imbibed into the young politicians.

The strategies to garner votes therefore get no paradigm shift in thinking and orientation. And naturally you are taught to think petty, straight-jacketed and obvious.

Second most potent ground breeding politicians are the existing political families. Sons, daughters, cousins of existing political bigwig becomes the next generation of the political class. Like Rahul Gandhi once said, "I am example of Rishtedari Politics". Interestingly, I see a similarity between a political family and a business family. Like the TATAs, the Gandhis try their best to continue their family legacy. It is serious business of intense thinking for the whole party to ensure a successful Gandhi heir. It re-affirms that politics is a business that needs heirs to continue family income, fame, power and privilege.
There is nothing too bad about a potent political family of politicians like we have families of doctors. But again the question comes to education and formation of a political mind and a strategist. The question comes to the development of the mind that will become the future leaders of political parties following the footsteps of their fathers and uncles.

The leadership therefore is handicapped to think differently in terms of the future strategy of a political party. Its always the same means and same ways to achieve the same goals.

I consider this as a critical problem that a political class or a party faces. Analogy can be drawn to concepts of genetic diversity and problems of inbreeding. A varied gene pool indicates extensive genetic diversity associated with robust populations that can survive bouts of intense selection. Meanwhile, low genetic diversity or inbreeding can cause reduced biological fitness and an increased chance of myopia and therefore possible extinction.

The political class needs to stop inbreeding of thought processes for their survival.

India today needs development and better standard of living. In developmental politics, garnering votes is a means to an end. Not the END. Religious sentiments to gather votes does not fall under the objective of developmental thinking. It only figures when the objective is to gather votes.

When the end becomes the passion to improve standard of living. Votes will flow on its own.

Developmental strategies to improve standard of living is not as easy as raising religious sentiments. It needs a lot of sharp acumen, economic understanding and social consciousness.

Just being a good orator, or a goon, or a heir wont do.

There is a need for a paradigm shift where:
  1. educated, experienced manpower willingly joins the political class leaving a well-paid corporate job or any stable life to run political strategies.
  2. students with political ambition gets proper training and skills to practice positive developmental politics.
  3. heirs of political families would go against the tide of conventional political thinking of their fathers and uncles
Currently I am forming my thoughts on how to bring this paradigm shift. Surely I shall write a model to reform political thinking and to create developmental strategies to win elections.


  1. Hi Lifeisbetter,

    I am surely waiting to see the model of political change :)

    You have done a very good analysis of the political situation. I think the complete lack of political will to take India to new heights and improve the living situation in our country.

    We need "Role Models" in politics for the general public !

  2. Thanks Niharika. If there is a system and an intent to breed good politicians, we will have better politicians.
    I am also quite excited to get the right model of creating a system to breed leaders to take the country forward in to the next century.


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