The great philosopher Aristotle stated the bare truth when he said centuries ago that man is "a political animal". He and his equally famous disciple Plato strongly denounced politics. Plato went so far as to say: "O, men of Athens, if I was engaged in politics, I would have perished long ago and done no good either to you or to myself."
Since then, however, politics has pervaded every sphere of life, and the number of politicians has grown beyond measure. There is politics everywhere, in government generally, in the administration, in schools, colleges, universities, art, literature, and even in sports and games.
In fact, there is hardly any sphere of life and activity, male of ...view middle of the document...
Consequently, politics has also become synonymous with endless graft and deep-rooted corruption.
Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his famous book "Glimpses of World History": "Politicians usually hide their real reasons and talk pompously of religion and justice and truth and the like. And still the great majority of people are taken in by the soft talk of politicians."
Again, in a letter to Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru wrote: "Ordinary politicians have no principles to stand by and their work is governed by day-to-day opportunism." He also knew that politicians cannot build India and held the view that in perfect society politicians would fade away.
A perfect society exists nowhere on earth, and it is no wonder that both politics and politicians continue to flourish, despite all their flaws and foibles.
While it is true that politicians manage to prosper, and many of them have become prosperous almost overnight through their tact, manoeuvres, deceit, and flattery of those in power and exploitation of those who are weak and helpless, it is also true that they have lost credibility.
No longer do the masses at any rate, the majority of them who have become politically aware, thanks to the "education" by the politicians themselves take politicians at their word. Even in India, where a large number of people are illiterate, the people no longer believe in politicians' promises.
During the elections, a common comment by the average voter in the rural areas was that these politicians make tall, high-sounding promises but never fulfil them. They come to the people only at election time, and during the intervening period they are too busy feathering their own nests to bother about the plight of the people.
As for corruption and betrayal of public and even national interests by politicians, there seems to be no end. In this connection, one may recall the statement made by late Mrs. Gandhi in December, 1979, when she was out of power and virtually in the wilderness.
She disclosed that she had information from Dr. Henry Kissinger, the U.S. diplomat, to the effect that there was a C.I.A. (Central Intelligence Agency of the U.S.A.) agent in her Union Cabinet. In fact, it is no longer a secret that hardly any State is free from secret agents of foreign powers and, consequently, it is difficult to keep anything secret.
As for political morality and the standards of conduct among politicians, the less said the better. The loud professions and promises of politicians of all ranks are a mockery of the system they represent.
Each election brings out a long story of money changing hands, of loyalties being bought and sold like commodities in the open market, of betrayal of principles for personal gains, of going back on commitments almost by sunset the same day, and of crossing over and switching from one party to another, depending upon the weightage each commands and the prospects of power and privilege each holds.
Many politicians cry from...