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Friday, February 3, 2012

In Plato’s  ‘Republic’  Adeimantus points out that very often a good reputation is acquired by a ruler who merely appears to act in a just manner, regardless of whether he/she actually does so .By doing this the ruler  achieves the greatest possible advantage : act unjustly while preserving the outward appearance of being just. This as opposed to the option of acting justly while risking the outward appearance of injustice.  Dr Manmohan Singh has perfected the craft of appearing to be just and honest while returning debts owed ,and helping friends-all the  while hiding behind the skirts of ‘ the compulsions of a coalition government’.  A Prime Minister who makes the mistake of ruling in a manner that lessens the well-being of the ruled , is  not  a good prime minister , for a true ruler would never make such an error.
The remedy :
 He/She  must always be someone who knows how to rule, someone who understands ruling as a craft and  like  a good parent,  tries to do what is best for those who have been entrusted to him/her, rather than seeking his own ,and others, welfare. Furthermore , there should be  severe restrictions placed on the   guardians of the constitution , and of the country : they should have no need for wealth or other external rewards   and should earn no salary greater than necessary to supply their  basic needs. This will ensure that  no one will have any wrong motive for seeking a position of leadership, and those who are chosen to govern will govern solely from a concern to seek the welfare of the country and  what is best for all  its citizens.
 Any country is only as good as its people. A country becomes a mess  because its junta lets it become one . It is time for introspection for all of us who vote  the corrupt, the criminals, the ineffective , the  coquettish to power. We vote people to power who do not know the importance of the phrase ‘The buck stops here’.  Like the rats of the town of Hamelin we fall into the trap of the caste card played out by the Pied Pipers, sorry –politicos . It is also introspection time for those who do not go out to vote. The right to live in a country has to be earned –by ensuring that each vote is cast to bring  the right individuals to power –individuals who combine high competence with the highest ethical standards. 
No country is perfect. We  need to make it perfect. The answer,  as Plato believed, is to rely upon the value of a good education . We have today an educated ,young generation of  engineers , IT professionals ,managers  ,college students etc who can spearhead the crusade for probity in public life.. These young men and women  should come forward to fight corruption.They have a powerful tool ,the social networking sites ,to spread their message  and to galvanize opinion .
And when  this happens , just as the first showers bring in their rain drenched  mornings the smell of wet earth –the message  of the young will bring a purpose in the steps of the people .This is because I know the message will be the same as the one used by Jai Prakash Narain on that eventful day in Ramlila Maidan in the  draconian seventies of the original  Mrs G…
              “ Singhasan khali karo ki junta aati hai ……


  1. Loved the post. Loved the hope. Loved the memories that it brought back. I was a kid studying in a boarding school in what was then Bihar when JP made the impossible happen. What is important though is the fact that almost all the failings of the ruling class that we see today are being practiced by the inheritors of JPs legacy. There is nothing wrong in the legacy, it is the moral fiber of the King that is important. We have failed not only to find Kings with moral fiber, but we have failed to bring up the youth with the conviction that change is worth the sacrifice. Everyone looks for a pay off. Only if we instill in the future generation the need to act without expectation and to serve without conditions will a true revolution ever happen. Look at Anna, look at BJP, look at Lok Satta, look at Mamata. What we need is the "total revolution" that will bring human values into the center of public life and not material and political values.

    1. Sorry- just saw your comment. Subhorup, your comment came at a time when I was gripped with uncertainty in my beliefs- the feeling 'am I the only one to see what is happening'? You have restored my faith in my cynicism with the 'system'. Welcome aboard!