Power Blight

It is somewhat off the mark to say that “Political science is the father of modern politics” and even more ridiculous to suggest that “nameplates are the face of political leaders” as was stated by the Nagaland Unit BJP party while appealing to the State Government of Nagaland to reconsider the ban imposed on the use of nameplates by different political leaders of Nagaland. Firstly, political science is certainly not the father of modern politics. If at all, it is generally accepted that Aristotle is the father of political science. Secondly, politics and political science are completely two different things. The latter is a subject discipline dealing with the concept of the State and Government while politics merely defines the struggle for power. If at all therefore, the basis of modern politics has to be found in the very notion of power itself and not in political science as such.

That power can be quite intoxicating has been no doubt proved by the BJP statement and to even have the cheek to say that politicians should not be treated at par with the common people exemplifies the make belief world that most politicians are dreaming about. To go to the extent of claiming that politics and political leaders are “permanent factor” in a society and for all intend similar to the permanency of the bureaucracy and bureaucrats is completely erroneous and unacceptable.

While there is nothing wrong with having political power and using it, but to put a personality cult around it is something unacceptable. After all, even a popular leader is only human and he or she occupies the seat of power not for an unlimited time but through the confidence bestowed by the people at the ballot box. And even if it is accepted that a politician has delivered an extraordinary or praiseworthy deed, it does not transform him or her into a superhuman person or attributing powers beyond those of ordinary people. Politicians are not God but only humans and therefore only ordinary people. The Nagaland BJP would be the first to acknowledge that political power that vests in them once they win elections cannot be taken for granted. More than anything, it is the ordinary people who can actually bring politicians to power and topple them as well. Therefore to even suggest that politicians enjoy permanency of power is untenable in a democracy where periodic election is the norm. If at all politicians desire to retain power, they would have to work for it. And the best way is to learn to serve the people. 

It is therefore service to the people more than anything else that should represent the face of political leaders and certainly not ‘nameplates’. If the politicians consider nameplates to represent them and not their works, it only goes to show the degeneration of public office to such an extent that leaders are no longer interested to serve the people but to enjoy all the symbols and luxury that power has to offer. A true leader of the masses will not require a red light and a plastic nameplate to identify himself with the people or to stand out in the crowd. One can only surmise to say that some of our politicians do not have the self worth to lead the masses and for this, it is hardly surprising that they require symbols of power, whether nameplates or red lights to prop them up.