Who came first? people or politics? or parties. the very shabby manner in which alignments are carved out iin the political field in India,perhaps elsewhere too, raises doubts abut the continuance ofdemocratic rule even in countries wherecivil societies arewell entrenched.
The first complication arises through the formation ofcliques and cabals and cartels.Yes, cartels. You owe me one and I owe youanother and when the timefor settlement comes, backroom boys and girls take over. And public weal is truly buried.
The risk of single party rule or for that matter multiple interest and multiple choices lead to ragtag alliances and alignments. The goal is tocling on to pposition at any cost. So conflicting interest are accommodated, the expenditure in the public domain hits dizzying heights and inflationary pressures are unleashed. That is when electoral considerations ride high. Golden handshakes arethe order of the day and the party or alliance naturally gets elected.
The man who is in the unorganisedsector knows how the shoe is pinching. The one in the organised sector has his wallet value protected. The silvers do not know where to turn for relief incase they had been self employed orin the unorganised sector. Frustration is their lot and suiceds of entire families are comonplace.
The greaterdanger is that between promise and execution there is avast time gap.Occasionally the bureaucrats eat into the pie.Alternative employment is rare to come by andin the twilight of their lives the honest people find theselves trapped in a cul de sac.All this because elections are no longer term centred but discretion bound. The leaders decide, the membersecho ayes and in any case their interests are protectedby lifelongpensions an perquisites.This is not what the founding fathers of free India visualised when they fought the colonial masters.Will Durant, the famous philosopher, came to India in the pre-independence era to gather material for his now classis volumes on civilisation published by an /American publisher. He was shocked by the depth of degradation and the extent of exploitation by the colonial masters. He wrote a classic on India's case for freedom. The book was proscribed.A rereading of the book will reveal the startling fact that the masters areamong us folks but the exploitation is intense as ever.In thechanted circumstances, one could retitle thebook as " A case for the real masters".
Or it could be more pointed.Party Games!