Politicians – New Age Royals

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him Power.” Abraham Lincon

Judging from the above quote, it is quite evident that Ravindra Gaikwad, Shiv Sena MP representing Osmanabad constituency in Maharashtra, failed the test of his character when he raised his hand on a 60 year old Air India staff, just because he was not given a Business Class seat in the flight from Pune to Delhi.

Being a part of the Aviation Industry for the last 10 years, I can assure that any other passenger in his place would have been cooling his heels in a police lockup for even threatening to hold the aircraft hostage, forget about raising his hands on a company staff. However, given the VVIP culture that prevails in our country, Ravindra Gaikwad is still at large and on top of that even had the audacity to boast in front of media that he beat the old man with his slippers, as if it was a valiant act.

But on the other hand, for the first time in the history of Indian Aviation Industry, all the major commercial airlines of India have decided to come together and take a stand against this wild behavior and have refused to fly Ravindra Gaikwad in any of the flights operated by them. Air India and Indigo even cancelled his tickets booked from Delhi to Pune. Even the various employee unions of Air India like that of Pilots and Cabin Crew have asked for strict action against the MP. It is really a commendable action that could set an example for anyone who thinks that he/she, using the clout of their money or political connections can misbehave with anyone and get away with it.

Power corrupts like nothing else and the best example for this is our politicians, most of them. Till the time this power is out of their reach, they would present themselves as the statues of humility. But as soon as they get a taste of this power, first thing they do is to shed the robes of humility and respect for common man. This is not the first instance of a VIP misbehaving with public sector or government officials. There have been many cases reported in the media where an MP or MLA or a Minister has crossed the boundaries of decency and has misbehaved with a public servant and treated them as slaves. It seems that after 200 years of rule, when British decided to leave India in 1947, the political class of this country was overwhelmed with the sudden power shift. Too much power in a short span of time played with their minds and they began to think of themselves as the new masters of India. And this thinking still persists after 70 years of independence. It was as if this country moved from rule of royals to rule of foreigners to the rule of new age royals i.e. the political class.

Our political class has still not been able to come in terms with maintaining the balance between this power and the responsibility that comes along with it. Most of them are in a state of inebriation because of the power vested in them. They have ceased to realize that this power given to them is to serve the public with humility. During the last 70 years since our independence, the perks associated with being a law maker have seen a mammoth jump. And on top of that, the accountability towards the public who votes for them has been going in a downward spiral. Being a politician has ceased to be associated with a drive for public service and instead has emerged as one of the most lucrative job profiles with best of perks and least of responsibility.

I do not entirely blame the politicians for this arrogance and abuse of power. The equal amount of blame lies with us, the public of India. Our responsibility does not end with casting our vote every five years and choosing our representatives. It is our duty towards ourselves and the constitution of this nation that we should never let them forget the fact that they are there because of us and the power given to them is to work for the welfare of the people and serve to the nation. We should stop obeisance to the politicians. We do that because somewhere in our heart we are corrupt and afraid. Exploitation of one is profitable for other and there is always a fear that we might be drawn in the line of fire. So we would rather look the other way rather than raise a voice against misuse of power. But in order to get rid of garbage in the city first we will have to clear the garbage from our house. We need to stop corruption at our end and then we will be in a position to ask questions to these leaders about their actions.

Just taking pride in calling ours the biggest democracy in the world is not enough. Democracy means a government of the people, for the people and by the people. So it is we the people of this country who need to realize that this is our nation and we have appointed these law makers to run it for us. We have to believe first in ourselves and than in the constitution and legal system of this country. We need to start treating the politicians, who wrest power on the basis of our support, as public servants and not our masters. If the Prime Minister of India can call himself as the “Pradhan Sevak” of the country, then who gives the right to a first time MP to think of himself as an all powerful royal who can treat anyone as his slave.

The time has come to expunge this system of absolute power and zero accountability. We need to understand the true meaning of Democracy and have to wrest power from politicians like Ravindra Gaikwad and teach them a lesson in humility. They must know how to respect an ordinary citizen of the country and how to behave like a representative of the people and not as their masters.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Anubhav Bakshi

Author works in the aviation industry and is opinionated about Indian politics. He tweets at @AnubhavBakshi

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