Tailwind CSS
Published on

Sad state of Indian Politics

Cover Image

Consider this imaginative scenario where you need to appoint someone to oversee your household affairs. Who would you entrust with this responsibility? This person would be in charge of your financial decisions, from savings to loans, and would negotiate on your behalf for purchases, school selection for your children, insurance policies, and healthcare providers. Would you select your current political representatives for this crucial role in your life? Picture the possibilities! If your house lacks sufficient bathrooms, they might choose to enlarge the prayer room instead. They might award contracts to their acquaintances rather than the most qualified candidates. They could potentially accept bribes from your children for privileges or demand bribes for rights they are already entitled to. If your roof is in need of repair, they might prioritize fortifying your boundary walls while spreading rumors about your neighbors. They might choose to let nature take its course and do nothing at all. Even when they are on their deathbed and unable to perform basic functions, they refuse to step down from their position as your personal manager. As they prepare to depart, they use your funds to find their successor, who is likely to be someone close to them.

But let’s set the humor aside and return to the original question. You probably see where this is headed, but I’ll make it explicit. Do you believe your political representative or leader is capable of effectively managing your personal life? If your answer is yes, then the remainder of this blog may not resonate with you, and you might want to stop reading here. I suspect that most of us would not consider our leaders to be competent personal managers, yet we accept their governance. Why might that be? Could it be because our individual stake in the country or state is relatively smaller? Is there any other reason for that? Let’s delve into this further along with various other relevant topics.

Don't Judge vs Judging properly

In everyday life, the decision to judge or refrain from judging may be a matter of debate. However, when it comes to selecting leaders, ambiguity is not an option. We find ourselves somewhere between taking a chance and thoroughly assessing the candidate, relying on the information available to us. Yet, the crucial question remains: Can we trust the information presented to us, or are we being misled? This process of making a judgment call feels akin to being part of a jury, a challenging task indeed. Reflecting on past decisions, it appears that we tend to be rather lenient in our assessments.

Let's examine some significant events closely to draw conclusions and potentially narrow down our selection of candidates.

Scenario 1

In this scenario, Candidate X is engaged in bribery to secure votes, an act deemed unequivocally wrong from a legal standpoint. While one may entertain the possibility of moral justification, suggesting that such actions could lead to eventual good, such reasoning seems more fit for fiction than reality. Therefore, X's intentions raise significant concerns, warranting a red flag.

Turning to Party Y, from which Candidate X originates, the likelihood of their ignorance to these actions is slim, implying either tacit support or outright complicity. Even if unaware, their failure to detect such misconduct signals inefficiency within the group, leading to a negative assessment. Consequently, all candidates affiliated with Party Y face skepticism.

Moreover, if Party Y is deemed a red flag, Parties A, B, and C, which have either allied or previously aligned with them, must also be scrutinized. This assessment extends beyond bribery allegations, encompassing any criminal involvement by Candidate X or others. Thus, the scenario highlights broader ethical challenges within political campaigns that extend beyond mere electoral misconduct.

Scenario 2

Party Z1, previously known for condemning Z2 over allegations of corruption or scandal, has now forged an alliance with Z2 for the upcoming election. What does this imply? Either Z1's previous accusations against Z2 were unfounded, or Z1 is willing to overlook Z2's transgressions in favor of potential electoral success. In either scenario, the actions of both Z1 and the accepting party, Z2, raise significant concerns and warrant scrutiny.

Scenario 3:

In this scenario, a candidate openly advocates for and may have made decisions influenced by baseless beliefs such as casteism and religious bias. While the constitution guarantees the right to hold beliefs, caution is warranted when such beliefs translate into actions with far-reaching consequences, even in seemingly minor instances. The potential for these beliefs to escalate to extreme levels is concerning, and entrusting power to a candidate who espouses such ideologies is akin to giving a monkey access to fire

The aforementioned situations aren't simply improvised; additional filters could further narrow down the options. What's surprising is that even with such broad scenarios, the pool of candidates diminishes significantly. This not only affects the candidates but also limits the selection of elected representatives. The current options are lacking in quality. If we were to plot them on a graph of goodness versus wisdom, they would likely fall into the bottom-left quadrant, which would be quite populated. It's concerning why we aren't being represented by individuals in the top-right quadrant. This situation is precarious. The prevalence of nefarious and inept individuals in positions of power is common across various domains, but it's particularly troubling here, given that it is the platform on which our life lives; the effort-effect ratio of this people is very high. If this is fixed, it will fix all other areas.


Is duopoly a disguised monopoly?

Just as the devil’s most significant deception was making the world believe he didn’t exist, the political monopoly is cleverly concealed as a duopoly. In a monopoly, at least we are aware of it and can take steps to dismantle it. Although India doesn’t theoretically operate under a two-party system, that’s the reality in practice. People often don’t vote for the candidate they trust, but rather for the one who opposes the candidate they dislike. This is a common behavior, but political parties exploit it. In some movies, the hero is a thief, yet people rally behind him to combat a common villain. In others, the hero is a rowdy, fighting thieves alongside the people. In each case, the film justifies the hero’s actions, whether it’s thievery or rowdyism. This is acceptable in a movie, but it mirrors what happens in reality. People are forced to choose between lesser evils, supporting their preferred criminal to prevent the less preferred ones from gaining power. For someone who harbors such intense hatred, the best strategic move is to vote for the candidate most likely to defeat the party they despise, even if they prefer another candidate. This reinforces the two-party system. The root of this problem lies in the first-past-the-post voting method we use, where only the first choice of each voter matters and votes are simply counted. In the past, the execution of alternative methods was challenging and perhaps unfeasible, but with the progression of technology today, they have become achievable. Despite their own constraints, they still surpass the current method we adhere to.

I conducted a poll in a hall filled with 500 attendees at a modest short film festival. Post the film screenings, attendees could select their preferred film via their mobile devices, with the poll results being continuously displayed on the screen. This was a continuous first-past-the-post voting system, allowing attendees to change their choice at any time and as often as they wished. As you might have guessed, attendees initially voted for their genuine favorites, resulting in a fairly normal distribution of votes. However, when they realized their preferred film had little chance of winning, they shifted their votes to other films. Eventually, the majority of votes consolidated around two films. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but rather a reflection of human nature. People are cautious and don’t want their vote to go to waste. If one views a vote as a form of currency and an election as a gamble akin to the stock market, then yes, there is a concept of wasting your vote. The first-past-the-post system is likely to persist for a while, so we can only encourage people to vote as a sincere reflection of their opinions about the candidates, without overthinking or strategizing. It’s acceptable to lose some battles in order to win the war.

Top down or Bottoms up

How do you select your laptop? Do you opt for a reputable dealer nearby and purchase from the brands they carry? Or do you select the brand first and then find a dealer who carries that brand? Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and since it’s just a laptop, it’s simple, not complex, and a poor choice won’t cause much damage. But how do we see a similar situation in democracy? Should you select the candidate and vote for them (bottom-up) or should you select the party and vote for whoever they nominate (top-down)? I wouldn’t even mention this if people were divided on the issue, as they should be. However, the top-down, or party-first, approach is predominantly followed, which is problematic, especially considering that these parties are often inconsiderate in their selections. They don’t assemble a team of excellent representatives. Instead, they are more concerned with having people they are close to and whoever brings resources or something that enhances their chances of winning, rather than forming an excellent governing body. This creates a significant barrier for newcomers. There are numerous films about youth politics, but none of them depict the difficulty of forming a party. You can't expect some party like that will magically appear someday and wait for that. A bottom-up approach would facilitate a more detailed method of selecting candidates, and they could form groups at the top. Look out for small parties and independent candidates in your constituency as potential alternatives. In times when spreading information was difficult, choosing someone based on ideology through a party may have been appropriate, but this century is more about individuals, and it’s not difficult for anyone to establish their thoughts.

Advent of Tech

The Internet is not just a step forward; it’s a significant revolution. Prior to its advent, mass communication was predominantly unidirectional and prohibitively expensive for broadcasters. Entities could control one or more channels and manipulate information to their liking. The Internet has transformed this communication into a two-way street, allowing anyone to express their opinions and receive feedback. I had hoped that the Internet would reveal more truths and foster more transparent and effective discussions, but my expectations were not met. Although it has brought about some improvements, they are not as substantial as I had anticipated. People remain the same everywhere, and entities have managed to gain control over new media just as they did with traditional media, playing their game effectively. Not just misinformation, they also allegations of parties taking advantage of their data to manipulate and polarize them. Atleast these issues and acknowledged earlier and also fact-checking programs are improving over time which I believe will play a significant role in combating misinformation.

I’m pleased that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are already being used instead of ballot boxes. The potential that technology offers is vast, but it requires momentum and public approval. The first-past-the-post voting method we use is largely due to its simplicity and ease of implementation and explanation. However, other methods like ranked voting and cardinal voting, and any other kind of voting system, are feasible at the implementation level due to advancements in computing. Not just the method, the possibility of continuous elections instead of discrete five-year terms is also possible. Currently, anything beyond EVMs involves authenticating someone, which compromises the voter’s anonymity, but decentralization or other solutions may address this.

Breaking the deadlock

If we believe that our elected officials are not up to the task, then we must question why we elected them in the first place. It seems that people either do not vote for potential candidates, or potential candidates do not run because they see that people only vote for the established parties. Given that someone can run for office without the approval of the people, but people cannot vote for someone who does not run, the impasse must be broken from the side of the potential candidates. This is more of a temporary fix, while the long-term solution involves a change in the mindset of the people and the electoral system. You might think this is difficult and impossible, but it’s not. With every election, new voters are added and some old voters pass away. This might not seem like much, but it actually is. For instance, as I write this in 2024, considering the projected population in 2045, which is just 4 terms away, the majority of voters will be those who are children now and those yet to be born. This demographic shift will also bring about a change in people’s mindset. As long as we pass on accurate information to the new generation, and considering how interconnected and relatively well-informed they are, they are likely to be better voters.


Numerous individuals have given up their lives and means of livelihood in the fight for the liberty we currently relish. If we don’t effectively execute this democracy, it disrespects their sacrifices. The nation’s most pressing problem is its unwillingness to recognize its flaws. States frequently benchmark themselves against their neighbors, and the nation tends to compare itself to other nations facing difficulties. Political debates often mirror a contest rather than efficient administration. We don’t need to wait for a catastrophe to occur. We elected these representatives on our behalf. If we have to constantly monitor and contest their every action, it defeats the purpose of our representative governance. If we persist on our present course, we might eventually hit a tipping point where change becomes unavoidable. However, recovery will be more difficult at that juncture. The earlier we accept change, the less harm we will suffer. We are living in a wonderful era unlike any other. Begin by acknowledging that our choices are limited; scrutinize your candidates thoroughly; politics is not a dirty game, it’s quite the opposite; don’t dissuade someone if they decide to run for office; it’s not just individuals, but also the system that needs to change; be assertively critical of your representatives; don’t give your candidate a second chance; don’t compromise for someone mediocre; opposition can be peaceful, but if it necessitates bloodshed, be prepared to make that sacrifice!