Why All of Us Need to Start Considering Politics As a Career Option


Why All of Us Need to Start Considering Politics As a Career Option

Illustration: Akshita Monga


ain ek din bada neta banuga na, dekh lena phir,” warned a 12-year-old in my neighbourhood in his retort to a gang of fellow troublemakers during a fight. “Tu chor hai waise bhi,” giggled his friends, as they teased him for being a bully. It got me thinking about how the general perception of a neta as corrupt, immoral, and bigoted is so familiar that even children associate dishonesty as an essential trait to become one.

A politician, as usually depicted in our movies, is someone who abuses power for his vested interest, either for money or to spread communal hatred. The hapless citizen invariably becomes a victim of the system –  like the photographers Vinod and Sudhir in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro – fighting for his basic rights. And to be fair, this perception of politicians has some basis in reality. Thirty six per cent of our parliamentarians have criminal charges against them and this includes not just corruption but also murders and rape. Many are ill-qualified to gauge the technicalities of the portfolio assigned to them: Smriti Irani was offered the HRD ministry in 2014, making her responsible for the country’s education. We all know how that went.