Friday, November 26, 2010

The sycophantic politics of India

The Indian politician is always peculiar when compared to his fellow politicians world over.The average Indian politician likes to be flattered.The degree of flattery or the height to which it  reaches depends on the party to which he belongs to and to which part of  India he hails from.The south Indian  politicians  especially from  Tamilnadu and Andhra  are adept and amusive in taking sycophancy to great heights,Sychophancy makes them feel happy and brings pleasure to them. On the other hand candour earns their wrath easily.This may be because, fanatic hero worship of the tinsel world is so common in these two states.In these two states there are many film star-turned politicians and sycophancy is also handed down as a legacy from their past connections.Those who want to become their favourites choose the sycophacy route to be in their good books. Of late the sycophancy level has reached new heights and is nauseating.The distresing part of this servility is that many new comers to politics and new political outfits also take this as a benchmark and resort to this kind of subservience to reach their goals.Once huge flexi boards were displayed only for politicians in Tamilnadu. But today the common man in Tamilnadu has also started using these publicity hoardings for their family celebrations.There seems to be a gradual cultural erosion.More often for the common man in the street is it a tasteless ostentation.Politicians talk about austerity,but they do not practice it.The degree of sycophancy is measured by its size and how large it is.One can guess the size of the sycophancy by the size of the garland. The more it is, bigger  are the sycophants. The garlands can be made of anything from currency to expensive spices. On a birthday quantity of gold equal to the leaders age would be presented to him in full public gaze or it could be a golden sword .All these huge billboards euologise the leader in the funniest way.Most of the praises are incomprehensible and some others provoke a hearty laughter.One may argue sycophacny is there in every field including ones work place.But the austere person accepts it grudgingly.But the politician feels happy and encourages a higher degree of 'chamchagiri'.Even in work places chamchagiri helps an unworthy person to get promoted .But the danger in politics is, a crook can be made to reach great heights so easily by sheer sycophancy.Especially a person with a political lineage can easily reach heights by sheer sycophancy in India.There are umpteen examples for this in almost every political party of India.For a first timer in politics, survival will depend on his or her sychophantic abilities.As on date the most paying profession in India is politics. Naturally budding politicians edge out others by the strength of their sycophancy.The print media and the visual media in India play up their part to encourage this tendency in the most bizzarre way .
Every political party of India is guilty of unabashed sycophancy,with varying degrees.It was refreshing to note Rahul Gandhi in his early days talked about doing away with sycophancy and nominations to party posts in congress.But the congressmen can not be outwitted.Undaunted Arjun Singh made a proposal to make Rahul the PM.Surprisingly the most suave and sagacious politician of congress Pranab Mukerji seconded it.What else is this other than sycophancy? .Girija Vyas another Congress leader called Sonia the 'Pride of world and pride of womanhood'. Even Sonia Gandhi was said to have shaken her head in dismay hearing this Vyas flattery.When Sonia refused to become the PM after the elections a congress MP stood on his car and threatened to shoot himself if Mrs.Gandhi refused to relent.The essential trait of a sycophant is that he remains a master's servant under all conditions.Living amidst a set of sycophants does not augur well for a ruler.Contrary views and standpoints never reach the ruler.Gradually the ruler becomes alien to public opinion.I have always felt had there been a competition for sycophancy in global sports meet or games a contingent of Indian politicians would easily win Gold medal.In Tiruchi there is a running feud going on between a DMK Minister and a sitting MP of the ruling party over their sycophantic skills.Powerful sycophants can damage the careers of their peers. Recently Home minister PC's son had a birthday bash in Tamilnadu.It was an ostentatious show of sycophancy.There were huge billboards praising Karthi Chidamabaram all over Tamilnadu.Congressmen in Tamilnadu are now following the Dravidian parties in  unabashed sycophancy.The DMK chief is many times shown in posters like a monarch wearing a crown and holding a sceptre in hand. Some years ago the DMK deputy CM Stalin was shown as Hindu God Subramania in a poster in Karur.Strangley this was opposed by BJP's L Ganesan then.But in BJP's Gujarat, Narendra Modi was once portrayed as Lord Krishna and his opponent Keshubhai Patel as Kaurav.  BJP in MP  once  had gone to the extend of showing CM Vasundara Raje as Goddess Annapoona .Advani, Rajnath Singh and Vajpayee were also there as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively in this poster.

The AIADMK is another party where sycophancy reaches frenzied heights.To celebrate the birthday of their leader a supporter once declared  himslef dead and went through cremation rites.He claimed this would bring prosperity to his leader.Jayalalitha was once depicted by one of her party functionaries as Mother Mary.The church took strong opposition to it.The party had to issue a statement that it does not endorse such actions. Selvaganapathy ,a portege of Jayalalitha, now in the opposite camp DMK has once called his leader as a descendant of prophet Mohammed.He later apologised on protests from Muslim community.Two other ministers of AIADMK at that time ate rice served on ground without plantain leaves or plates to show their loyalty to the party supremo.Another minister rolled on the outer corridor of a Madras temple to display his loyalty to Jayalalitha in full view of the media and public.A woman MLA Sakkubai of AIADMK some years ago went on a procession to an Amman temple wearing only neem leaves .It is believed this would ward off evil spirits.The height of sycophancy in AIADMK was during elections.More than 400 applications were filed on her behalf to the party headquarters  by her followers seeking party ticket for the party supremo in their constituencies to show thier unflinching loyalty.In AIADMK very senior party functionaries and senior ministers can be seen touching the feet of the party supremo or prostrating before her in full public gaze in podium.

The BSP chief Mayawati was gifted a garland with 1000 rupee notes worth Rupees 21 lakhs  not long ago.The IT department even instituted an investigation on this. Currency posters showing DMK chief on one side and his son Stalin on the other side were also once pasted in Karur.

Normally the communists do not indulge in such extrvaganza.But weeks after the death of Jyothi Basu kokatta was flooded with Basu cut outs ,masks and banners  to strengthen thier ideology.Arguably Basu was the longest serving communist CM of India. This was done ony after the death of Basu.I am sure even Basu would not have agreed to this ostentaton during his life time. I feel perhaps the communists are the only political party in India who do not indulge in such shameful leader centred cult development in politics.

Another reason for the increased sycophancy trend could be the paucity of powerful leaders.A powerful charismatic leader will get followers with full faith in them.Party cadres in south resort to new levels of sycophancy.Compared to the northern states the exhibition of loyalty to party and its leaders in Tamilnadu is unbelievable.The politicians also use them to their advantage.The grassroot level party cadre in Tamilnadu are  carried away by their faith in their party leaders.It is hightime some purposeful politician channelises the youth energy in to more meaningful ways in Tamilnadu.

1 comment:

  1. Very timely .Hope our politicians realise this and ask their followers not to indulge in
    such lavish extravaganza. Politicians like Kamaraj in Tamilnadu dissuaded his partymen
    whenever they crossed the limits .It is unfortunate there are no leaders of his stature in Tamilnadu now.