India got its independence from the British in 1947 and Sarder Patel gave us a united India making us one of the biggest countries on earth. All the princely states agreed to be the part of new India. We finally became a republic in 1950. It was the end of the Maharajas and Nawabs, but it was only technical. Over the years we have been subjected and subjugated to the rule by the same people. The political royalty of India.
Meet the new Boss same as the old Boss. This proverb applies fully to Indian politics. If we check all the candidates running in any election, you would find most of them come from political background. Yes if we check their family tree, someone in their family first tried very hard to make a name for themselves in politics. But most prefer to ride on the coat tail of their ancestors. Strong word but the fact remains that we have now third and fourth generation of politicians who have already entered into India’s political mainstream.
We will start from North to South and check each political dynasty along the way.
We first start with the Nehru-Gandhi family. This family has the distinction of having four generation of politicians. Three of them went on to become Prime Ministers of this country. The next family is the political mainstay of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.Three generation of Abdullah’s have governed that state and not much to report.
In Punjab the Barnala family, the Badal family and the Royal Family of Patiala have been around a long time .The Badal family which has been in power for over a decade has business interest all over the state of Punjab. All the major political offices are controlled by the Badal family. Right now the Great state of Punjab is facing drug problems and the politicians are making money.
In the state of Haryana the Hooda family, the Chautala’s and the Bhajanlal family have dominated the state for decades and in that process have made lot of money.
Utter Pradesh politics is dominated by the Mulayam Singh Yadav- family of Samajwadi Party. With so many members as MP’s and MLA, this family is a mini party on its own. In Bihar the Yadav family under Lalu Prasad Yadav. Both Yadav’s of UP and Bihar have or had two chief ministers from their family.
In the west in the state of Maharashtra the Pawar family, the Thackeray’s and the Patil family are in full charge and the Pawar family have large stakes in the sugar industry. In Madhya Pradesh the Royal family of Scindia. This family has its tentacles in both BJP and Congress party. When Madhavrao Jivajirao Scindia died his son took his place. In fact the entire family never really lost their royal status it was just the title and they are more powerful than ever.
Out east in the state of Orissa the Patnaik family and down south the Gowda’s in Karnataka and in Tamil Nadu the Karunanidhi family controls many businesses and all the sons, daughter and extended family are in politics.
This is just a synopsis of the names which dominate our countries politics the list is very long. The challenges we face in this are much deeper. In other countries people enter politics to serve, but in India it is to serve themselves. These political families have corrupted the very essence of our democracy. If the husband cannot fight election due to some inconvenience, the dutiful wife will take over. When Lalu Prasad Yadav had to resign as chief minister (CM)of Bihar and was sent to prison, he got his wife nominated as the new CM, a person with no education or political experience. The worst thing is when they are fighting elections they have a tacit understanding with other parties not to field any strong candidate against their family members. In recent times the daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav, Dimple Yadav fought election without anyone contesting against her. This is not an isolated incident, it is something all political parties practice.
Due to one’s family influence and background anyone from that family can join politics and hold office of power and influence. If father dies the son takes over. The husband goes to prison or cannot contest due to legal constraint the wife will fill the seat. In Indian politics the system of merit has given way to system of Hypocrisy and Nepotism. Many politicians who grow powerful within their own party would some time revolt and form a party of their own and then surround themselves with family members or extended family. The DMK, SP, NCP, Shiv Sena and National conference are such parties which will never allow an outsider. It is very difficult to break the glass ceiling of Indian politics when it is actually a concoction of reinforced concrete and the secret recipe is the family.
Statistical analyses have concluded that nearly 30% of politicians come from political families of which congress party has the largest share. We have allowed the whole process of representation degenerate to such levels that we may not even require to vote. We can simply go back to being ruled by kings and Nawabs. Come to think of it; aren’t we already being ruled by the blue blood?
The very sprit of democracy is being destroyed from the inside and we are on our way to a new kind of aristocracy due to these people and their sense of entitlement.