Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Will the Indians Vote Against Crime? Or for Merit?

Indian voters cannot ignore the pressures of global meltdown, terrorism or technology. They cannot ignore the young leaders who are running the world today. They cannot tolerate criminals as their leaders. So, what is the new profile of leaders India’s mostly young voters can choose?

Forgetting about merit and leadership, will Indians again elect scores of criminals as their leaders in the coming elections in April and May? And in total contrast to the global trends today, will the young Indian voters elect old persons are their top leaders?

Will the voters repeat their dismal choices of the last elections by choosing criminals? In the 2004 elections, no less than 128 of the 543 winners had faced criminal charges, including 84 cases of murder, 17 cases of robbery and 28 cases of theft and extortion. Many face multiple criminal charges, including one member who has 17 murder charges. Even if a person has been charged with a crime but as long as one not convicted, one can stand for Parliament. Since court cases take decades to decide, the accused are out on bail and get elected as Members of Parliament. That’s how lawbreakers become lawmakers. Proposals have been made that any person charged with a crime that can be punished with a five-year sentence must not be allowed to stand for elections. In this case, opponents can slap fake criminal charges against their opponents and push them out of the election contest in the dirty game of politics.

Will a young India elect men and women well past their prime as their leaders? A new youthful India, 70 per cent under 40 years of age, is gearing up to vote for her future when about half of the MPs in the last Parliament were well beyond their retirement age. Nearly 700 million Indians go to polls in April and May in a watershed election. A new youthful India, 70 per cent under 40 years of age, is gearing up to vote for her future when about half of the MPs in the last Parliament were well beyond their retirement age. Indians are allowed to vote when they reach the age of 18 years and at least one fourth of the voters are below the age of 25. At least 100 million voters are between the ages of 18 and 24. Thus the results of this election will show the choice of the young voters youth or experience?

But most of the candidates are middle aged, if not older. The most powerful leaders of the eight most powerful countries (G 8) are becoming younger. The lineup of these youthful leaders shows that the youngest of them, Russian President Dmitry Medevev is just 44 years old. The election of 47 years old Barrack Obama has set the pattern for youth – rather than age – to lead the most powerful nation on this earth. Five others are in their middle age while only one, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is over 70 years. If India has become a trillion dollar economy to sit at the table of the richest countries, its leaders should measure up to the vitality and verve of the ones already sitting there. The two leaders vying for the post of the Prime Minister are aged 76 and 82 respectively from the two major political parties, the Congress and the BJP.


G 8 LEADERS According to Their Age

Russian President Dmitry Medevev - age 44
US President Barrack Obama - age 47
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper - age 50
French President Nicolas Sarkozy - age 54
German Chancellor Angela Merkel - age 55
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown - age 57
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso - age 69
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi - age 73

Source: The Internet.


The young voters are very active with their mobiles and may also use the Internet. The aspiring politicians have seen the power of the Internet after Barrack Obama’s election. So they connect with them by mobile and Internet campaigns especially in the cities and towns. The Indian voter may not have the yardstick to judge merit, but wants change and action. After high economic growth of nine per cent that has eased off with the global economic depression, the Indian voter wants fast economic recovery. After the November terror attack on Mumbai, the Indian voter demands accountability, full preparedness and instant response on security threats.

Long experience of political leadership is not enough in this age of high technology, massive economic shocks, lethal terror attacks and global vision while attending to local, basic needs. About ten per cent of urban youth voted in the last election but a much higher percentage will go the polls with more middle aged and old voters to try and make a difference to the type and quality of leaders they choose.

So what is needed? Education, yes. Not many of the elected members of the last parliament can be termed as educated considering their dismal behaviour or contribution to matters of national interest. Osho wants merit to be basis for both for voters and leaders.

“You can make it a point that you have to have a first class bachelor's degree if you want to vote in the state government. You have to have a doctorate if you want to stand for any position in the federal government -- a Ph.D. is absolutely necessary. If you want to become the president of the country, then you must have at least a D.Litt. or D.Sc. Without having these qualifications you cannot stand, you cannot run for the post.

“So we should require merits for each post - the highest merits. And we should make grades of voters: for the federal government, the highest degree; for the state government, a lower degree; for the county, a little lower degree. But meritocracy has to take the place of democracy.”

The leaders have to deal with ever changing and progressing science and technology and make meaningful decisions. Since all leaders cannot become scientists or even know about all the disciples of science, they ignore the new developments of science and continue with the antiquated methods. Or, they get scientific ‘experts’ to advise them before making decisions. Osho’s vision of Einstein the Buddha or marrying science and spirituality is more crucial now than ever before in this day of nuclear weapons and environmental disasters.

Equally important is spirituality – not religion that has been manipulated to divide and destroy the national fabric. Unless the elected leaders go beyond the intolerant and fanatic confines of their idea of religions, indeed terror, violence results. A person of meditation, on the other hand, has learnt to how to be full of energy at the maximum. He also gets the insight and the vision from the meditative no-mind.

Never judge a man by his actions. Osho says, “There is no other way because you have not known even your own being, then how you can see the being of others? Once you know your own being, you will learn the language, you will learn the language, and you will know the clue of how to look into another’s being. You can see into others only to the extent that you can see into yourself. If you have seen yourself through and through, you become capable o seeing into others through and through.” So he lives at the peak, says Osho. He united and leads without going on an ego trip. And he has no pseudo mask that hides his true face. Osho quotes a Latin proverb that he finds tremendously beautiful – Agere sequitur esse – to do follows to be; or, action follows being. That’s the type of leaders India needs now.