Kanan Jaswal's Blog on Leadership

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Indian politician as a leader

In India ‘identity politics’ is the brand of politics most practised. Collecting people following a particular religion or its branch or belonging to one particular caste or sub-caste and championing their cause to the neglect of everything else is the easiest and, therefore, the most preferred route to political leadership. This leader knows that his (in some cases it is ‘her’ but mostly it is ‘his’) job is secure so long as he delivers the promised goodies to his followers or at least keeps them in a heightened state of expectancy that the goodies are just round the corner and could be delivered to them any day. Alternatively, he has to keep them engaged and united behind him fighting some real or imagined affront to their group or community.

Such politicians do not undertake the trouble of defining their vision but this does not handicap them in any way because for them the continued allegiance of their followers in itself is the objective worth pursuing and gives them their value. They are entirely driven by their supporters and so can not lead them in the real sense of the term. Is it any wonder then that once in power all they can think of is making money, loads and loads of it, by whatever means? Money is the biggest magnet or adhesive and keeps their flock not only together but also increasing in number, and, thereby, in importance. And that in a democracy is a truly desirable goal.

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