Quleen Kaur Bijral Bijral
Columnist, The Logical Indian
Image Source: india
In the context of India, it is generally deemed as a normal thing to worship the politician as a super hero or even God than to simply commend him or positively highlight his actions. Though many citizens find it unacceptable, nevertheless it is a public tendency in India to praise the politician with blind adulation and reverence. A leader who works for the downtrodden will always have our unstinted support and respect but that does not imply we have to overdo it by changing respect into a fawning submission. It is highly important to commend the leader and felicitate him for his good work as doing so will not only encourage his actions but also ensure the news of his good work is disseminated down to the grassroots and other politicians also learn how to follow suit. But commendation of the politician when runs into the arena of holy worship, that as history can tell leads to the ruin of the democratic system of checks and balances.
The public yearns to acknowledge a good leader, and the best ways in which it can articulate and profess its genuine thanks for him/her tend to be Hero worship. They might commit to it in good faith or just perform it for the sake of flattery/ approval, the effect of Hero Worship generally tends to boomerang with nasty results. B.R. Ambedkar vehemently challenged this notion of idolization in Indian politics by calling it a “sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship” which should be a wake-up call for the public, and the political parties. One needs to refrain from worshiping the politician as it can very well empower him to be invincible, resistant and unassailable to public criticism, legal accountability and transparency. And when that happens there will be no room for improvement or public opinion; the mistakes of the politician will be dismissed as paltry in the light of his being a flawless Hero.
Hero worship does not only warrant the making of dictator alone as it also causes nuisance to the public. The question is how to find a solution that not only guarantees the welfare of the public but ensures the worthy politician is recognised for his service as well. The article intends to evaluate the problem and find out its alternatives.
Worshiping the Politician At Our Own Peril
The politician who manages to win our hearts by his charisma, dynamism and industriousness, with time is placed on a holy pedestal. There are also those figures who reach such a place because their fans are trying to flatter and win their sanction. Whether such a politician is living or no more with us, many flamboyant gestures are made like to remember or to acknowledge him/her like -Building exorbitant Monuments, tall statues, and even temples in his name. In such a grand treatment towards a politician the public unwittingly grants him/her full immunity. The common masses do not realize that in their pampering of their leader they are contributing to his/her:
-full exemption hence prone to corruption
-unaccountability hence prone to breaking the law
-absolute power hence prone to mistreating his underlings, workers and the civilians
Exceptions might be there, but it is too huge a risk to gamble on rare exceptions and then having to deal with a dictator in a democratic society.
Instances of Hero Worship
In reading the newspapers, we generally look in awe or gloss over the full page and expensive advertisements of our leaders and their deeds which could have been represented in a modest ad or an article. Huge Banners, flimsy hoarding, countless posters, and artistic graffiti, should make one think of the expenses driven into financing these grand motifs of narcissist propaganda and coverage. The holding of extravagant events, time and again disrupt public transport among other things ; the space which is used to hold grand gatherings is open to defacement, littering, and even deforestation and not to mention the wastage of resources all on the expense of the common man.
To add more, the majestic ceremonies like the laying of foundation stones seem to be quite farcical –as after the laying of the stone, it is not inspected whether the work has been properly finished. .It should be ensured whether the work has been concluded as promised rather than just being a gimmick, or a secret way to embezzle money from the project. Perhaps it can be called a conclusion stone so that once the work is done adequately, the authorities should lay the stone to tag their name to its establishment otherwise so many projects just go to waste along with the wastage of resources on them. Isn’t it?
There are many other instances of such grandiose hoopla which we now and then come across. In seeing the monotonous recurrence of these events, we but feel powerless or prefer indifference than to object at what seems beyond our criticism. To present a logical alternative, I checked the pulse of the public as to how they would prefer to felicitate their leaders or how the politicians ought to felicitate themselves. And in listening to them I can say with certainty, if these practices are adopted, there can be a welcoming change.
Praise The Worthy The Right Way
It is not unethical to seek praise for one’s work but to seek it in ways which reek of sycophantic gestures is undoubtedly an annoyance. The political party or the politician in order to show how he delivered on his/her promises can attempt the following ways to gain recognition:
– Start a scholarship; grant in his/her name or in the name of the leader posthumously.
– Organize competitions in his/her name
– Name a street after the person than build a statue.
– Open an NGO, school or institution in his/her name. Fund it.
– Sponsor cultural, literary and sports events especially for the marginalised communities or disadvantaged schools and institutions.
– Sponsor budding talents. Etc. etc.
These are just few guidelines to suggest a right direction. Many of these have been implemented in India but there is room for much much more. Hence time, energy and resources need to be spent in these projects than wasting resources on lavishness of public appearances, razzle-dazzle of long speeches and fancy ramp walks etc.
Praise than Worship
Finally it might seem that in attacking hero worship, the attempt is to marginalize the efforts and hard work of the worthy leaders. This is certainly not the case and if such thinking prevails then it is a misconception. It is extremely important to acknowledge the great deeds of our worthy politicians but a line has to be drawn to ensure adulation does not turn into unchecked adulation.
A politician who works for the public day and night and who leaves no stone unturned to keep it sailing on the tide of progress needs our unbridled support, admiration and acknowledgement. If we do not do this, he/she will be left unsung, his actions unpublicised, and his work will not be known to the public to garner support or engender a public opinion. A good leader needs to highlighted and represented in the best light so the masses can know who to vote for and who not to. The only caveat/condition in such a representation is that it should be authentic, down-to earth, and straight to the point without the distracting antics of glamour, veneration and expensive fuss.
If the public deify the leaders, the leaders should come forward to reason it in the logical and mature way possible. If the leaders do it, then the public has an onus to break the tradition and plant a new one in which the resources availed to worship the leader are instead used to propagate, substantiate, and cement the hard work of our worthy leaders.
Praise the leader, and you will be rewarded
Worship him and he will reward himself at all times
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