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The Quest for the Royal Road: Parliament Before the People

Published: 17.02.2016

The political character that has been manifesting itself on the political front for the last few months is a matter of grave concern. It appears as though politics is not meant for maintaining order in the country but to stick on to power. A politician does not seem to mean a morally inclined person who would give the highest importance to the progress of the nation, its prosperity and developments but that clownish and clever person who gives the greatest importance to his own position of power even by flinging into deep valley the prosperity and progress of the country. A political leader is no longer the one who takes the country forward on the path to progress, but pushes his party on the path to attain power. That is the reason why today, the nation is secondary and the party is primary. Principle is secondary and power is primary. Character is secondary, chair is primary. A political leader is not required to have good character, sense of justice, quality of leadership, etc. But today, the able political leader is only he who is capable of betraying even the nation for the sake of his party, who is capable of betraying even his party for the sake of the chair.

Has Politics No Character of its own?

The question often coming to my mind is: Has Politics no character of its own? Or, does the political character consist only making light of the nation, society, party or the trust of the individual for the sake of attaining power? Does the personality of the political leader grow larger than the people and the nation by occupying the seat of power by exploiting the soft feelings of the people? If that is not the case, why has politics got entangled in the political strategies involving dear sons of the politicians, their relatives and flatterers? In the name of providing stable leadership to the country, why are we made to witness unprincipled understanding and unscrupulous political manoeuvers? Why are political leaders being made to come to power by arousing the strong feelings of communalism, casteism, language and provincialism? In the name of brightening up the image of the great national leader (Gandhiji) why are the individual self-interests being satisfied? Gandhiji did guide the politics of his times, but personally, he himself remained above politics. But looking at the manner in which Gandhiji's Samadhi is being dragged into the mire of dirty politics, the mind is filled with sorrow and abhorence. And then arises the next question: How long would this continue?

I am reminded of an incident in a story by Rabindranath Tagore. Bhagwan Jagannath's chariot procession is being taken out on the royal path with great pomp. Hundreds of devout persons are pulling that giant sized chariot. Thousands of devotees are joining the procession, intermittently prostrating themselves, on the ground. Looking at all that, the chariot, the royal path and the idol feel happy with the swelling pride. All the three think that the obeisance, chanting of mantras, devotional songs, the deafening cry of singing their glory, are all meant for them. But the Supreme Being smiles to Himself at that rising pride which is born from ignorance. Describing that situation the poet says:

The Chariot thinks that obeisance is meant for it. The path thinks it is meant for it and the idol too is under that same illusion. While the omnipresent Lord smiles at the stupidity of all the three.[1]

It seems that this satire applies very well to the political character of our times. Every political leader is under an illusion that only by his occupying the position of power or becoming the Prime Minister, the country could have a clean government. He thinks that the chair is waiting only for him. He feels that the country is passing through bad times only because he is not occupying the chair. Hence, he wants to occupy the chair by whatever means, so that the country's future can be built. And the millions of this country, the people, are silently smiling at these clownish leaders.

People are the Nation

There is no doubt at all that the people have been disillusioned by the political character of the persons who are at the helm of affairs of the country. But nothing would happen by losing heart. We shall have to think about ways and means, to cure this disease. Nothing is going to happen if we just sit back, undecided about our course of action. We shall have to properly diagnose the disease. Then alone we can think about the remedy. From that point of view, the people of India have a very great responsibility.

Although our people are already very much awakened, it still appears that their 'third eye' has not yet opened. That is, they are not yet fully awake. The people of India would have to understand well that a few leaders do not make the nation. As a matter of fact, people are the nation. Several millennia ago, our visionary sages conveyed through their aphorisms that "the people are the nation."[2] The condition of the king is also dependent upon the support of the people.[3] But now, the situation is altogether different. The political order itself has become democratic. In that situation, it is very essential for the people to understand that till the time they do not open their'third eye', the manipulating politician, would not be wiped out of existence.

Parliament before the People

I was in Delhi during March-April this year. I got an opportunity to express my views before my views before the Members of Parliament, and the members of cabinet in the Parliament House. I had laid stress on one particular point. I wish to repeat the same point today before the people, because people are directly concerned with it.

Once Vidya (learning) said to the Brahmin, "I am your treasure, kindly protect me." The Brahmin asked, "What is your trouble?" Vidya said, "You link me even with someone who does not deserve me. You join me with just anyone. At least that should not happen." The Brahmin asked, "What do you desire after all?" Vidya said, "Kindly save me from three types of persons—Those who always find fault with others, in those who are deceitful and in those are without character and are unrestrained."

In the present context, our Parliament stands before the people with the same plea. It is crying hoarse and urging the people not to elect three types of persons and send them to the Parliament, those who find fault in others and who see evil in what is good and reverse the actions of the previous Government, see nothing good in the people belonging to another party.

Please do not send the members who crave for the fish and not the pearl. Do not also send to Parliament persons who are knaves and cheats, who are not leaders but pretenders, who are not the real characters, but play the role of clowns. They are the people capable of hatching any kind of conspiracy, build nexus with all types of evil forces and resort to character assassination, consider no act unworthy for the sake of power. They are the people who can deceive the very people with whose support they reach the Centre. They can stay in the back the very party on whose election manifesto they have won the election. Do not send those people to Parliament who are deceitful, scheming and imposters.

Keep such persons also away from Parliament who live without restraint, who are characterless, who, once in power, consider their family, caste and community more important than the nation. For them, power is not the means to serve but to indulge in luxuries, not to promote welfare of the people, but to take vendetta. These people do not have a good image as individuals or as leaders of the nation. Our Parliament is crying in anguish before the people, giving vent to these feelings.

Today, if the political character has to be kept clean, if the dignity and sanctity and the honour of our Parliament have to be maintained and if Parliament has to be made into a healthy, sturdy and refined body, the entire Indian community would have to become enlightened. It would have to realise its responsibilities and in this moment of trial, would have to make its image the cleanest with the help of its decisive intellectual faculty.

The politician, who thinks only in terms of his future elections, is unqualified. Only that politician is qualified who is concerned about the future generation. The future of the country can be safe only in the hands of such competent political leaders.


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Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Body
  2. Brahmin
  3. Casteism
  4. Delhi
  5. Deva
  6. Gandhiji
  7. Pride
  8. Rabindranath Tagore
  9. Samadhi
  10. Tagore
  11. Vidya
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