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Presence of supremos in political parties does not allow young leaders to grow

By Sudhansu R Das 

Democracy in India is not serving people well due to the absence of morally and intellectually strong leaders who can highlight the basic problems of the people with elaborate details. The majority of the opposition leaders as well as those who are ruling are too much obsessed with narrow caste, language, region, religion, ideology and turncoat politics to gain power; they spend less time to collect authentic information about issues like water scarcity, poor education, unemployment, price rise, food adulteration, corruption and lack of affordable quality health care facility etc which adversely affect human development in their own districts. Though the opposition leaders can’t make laws, they can contribute to formulate sound policies through powerful debates and public contact.
First, the leaders should take up Padyatra to know people closely. The more they walk and live with people the more they will learn about people’s real problems. “Gandhi and Health @ 150" the health statistics on Mahatma Gandhi unveiled by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) mentioned, during the freedom movement from 1913 to 1948, Mahatma Gandhi walked 79000 kilometres to erase the caste, language and religious divide from the country which were weakening India from within. During his long enduring Padyatra, Mahatma Gandhi got a closer view of the living condition of people; his Padyatra helped him discover the Swadeshi economy. Gandhiji set personal examples of doing social work, yoga, asana, bhajana and weaving which were later internalised by millions of his followers in their daily activities. His simple words were rooted with wisdom and practical experience which had inspired a mass movement against the British Empire.
The opposition leaders should experience what the majority of Indians eat, drink, wear, learn from educational institutions and what kind of health care they receive from hospitals. They should study the damage done to the natural infrastructures like rivers, forest, hills, surface water, ground water and the fertile agricultural land etc so that they could offer a credible solution to the country.
As per the mythology, Lord Rama lived with common man for 14 years in forest, hills, villages to experience the problems faced by his subjects; this has helped him establish good governance in his kingdom. Lord Rama was the embodiment of good governance because he lived with his subject for long years like a common citizen. Powerful socio-economic issues emerge from the experience of living with common man. Gandhiji came to know the economic potential of the Indian cottage industries after interacting with thousands of weavers and artisans who add high value to ordinary biodegradable material.
Second, criminalization of politics is the biggest threat to the democracy, economy and social life in India. The Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) found nearly half of the newly-elected Lok Sabha members in 2019 have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase over the 2014 Lok Sabha. This is of course a very dangerous situation for the country which can be reversed if political leaders play the role of anti heroes; they should promote efficient and honest candidates in the parties. The opposition parties should also give election tickets to retired professors, teachers, dedicated social workers, thinkers, writers and other professionals for good governance.
Third, the presence of Supremos in the political parties does not allow young leaders to grow. India will face a serious next generation leadership crisis due to the growth of single voice in the parties. BJP, Congress, TMC, Shivsena, BSP, Aam Aadmi and RJD etc should create inclusive opportunities for the growth of talented young leaders.
Fourth, Seva through politics was the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi led Congress before independence. The grand old party of India formed Sevadals to involve thousands of volunteers in social work. After independence the Congress made the Sevadal volunteers dormant by offering them plum posts and lucrative offers. Now, the Congress should revive the Sevadal for its own survival and choose a capable leader who can reweave the party support base. The opposition party leaders should set personal examples of sacrifice, simple life style and good social behaviour to attract dedicated youth. Truth, purity and integrity build a strong leader; but clinging to these virtues need courage and sheer patriotism.
The Magsaysay Award winner and social activist, Anna Hazare is not an orator but the truth, purity and integrity in him had triggered one of the biggest mass movements in the country against corruption. Not a single Indian politician can match Anna Hazare’s ability to attract a large number of youth to his Jan Satyagraha. Unfortunately, the Indian youth are no longer taking active interest in the reform movement due to the absence of trustworthy leaders.
“Any keen observer of Indian society would notice that in the past few decades, no big leader has emerged from the student community,” said Mr N V Ramana, the Chief Justice of India, “a responsive youth is vital for strengthening democracy. Students are guardians of freedom, justice, equality, ethics, and social equilibrium. All this can be achieved only when their energies are properly streamlined.” The country desperately needs the experience and wisdom of the old leaders as well as the energy of the youth. Otherwise democracy in India should see another dawn.

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