Thursday, October 13, 2016

Let us Think and Act with an Open Mind
to Develop a Vibrant Democracy”  - Article 26
Can the gift of the gab  make listeners fools?

Professionally qualified, trained and experienced persons in different disciplines at different levels are essential to successfully manage any large complex organization. Even some gifted persons who had built up a large company used to select such suitable persons at managerial positions. It has steadily replaced topmost level also by professionals.

Governments  also had  resorted to this method. For example, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in  India selects officers who have the required basic qualifications and intellectual capacity to develop the required functioning efficiency. They are thereafter given special training wherever necessary. During the process of selection, UPSC takes advice of professional experts in pertinent fields  to ensure that selected persons are likely to have comparatively the best professional competence and intellectual capacity to develop the required functioning efficiency. They reach top levels after working experience of many years.

Shockingly, these professionally qualified, trained and experienced officers  at top levels are supervised and controlled by persons who do not have professional qualifications, training and experience!! Though this practice is obviously illogical and against principles of management, it has continued for years because no one has questioned this absurdity.

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers and scientists had cautioned: “The important thing is not to stop questioning”. But, the irony is that we have not even started questioning  the above absurdity. Why

Parliamentary democracy was started to save people from slavery to autocratic  monarchs. With passage of time it deteriorated into a pseudo democracy in which  a monarch was replaced by a clique of power hungry political leaders. When political leaders  observed  the tremendous powers they have acquired, they started to fight among themselves for power, resulting in formation of political parties.  Party leaders, using the gift of the gab,  mesmerized people to start hero worship and to get deeply involved in their political fights. This way they succeeded in diverting peoples’ attention away from pseudo democracy in which a clique of political leaders,  who do not have professional qualifications, training and experience, have gained full powers to supervise and control professionally qualified, trained and experienced managers!! This is also a mockery of the system of competitive selection of best professional officers and the latter spending enormous amounts of time, efforts and money for acquiring qualifications, training and experience which they cannot use freely for efficient functioning. They were not given a chance to prove their worth (Article 24 provides for this). Why this elaborate exercise and its misuse?

Root cause for not questioning this contemptible situation is that political leaders, by becoming heroes using the gift of the gab,   fooled people to believe the absurdity that they had the super human capacity to effectively supervise and control professionally qualified, trained and experienced persons, that too in a  variety of disciplines!!

This contemptible absurdity has led to prolonged mis-governance with lop sided priorities which made the rich richer. Number of rich persons (even millionaires and billionaires) has increased rapidly.  But  others (who farm the large majority) had to struggle for basic necessities of life and had been forced to live without dignity, as second class citizens. Lakhs are suffering from poverty, hunger and lack of shelter at night while the rich live in  palatial bunglows, squander money and waste food. According to  Global Hunger Index 2016 India was ranked a lowly 97 out of 118 developing countries. Even worse, its rank slipped from 83 to 97 in 16 years (The times of India dated 13.10.2016). Neighbours Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,  Nepal and China are all ranked above India. Children suffering from malnutrition get low priority, if at all!! Highest priority given for growth rate at the expense of social priorities like education and health,  which are essential for good quality of life with dignity, is a matter for serious concern.

They also claimed that this supervision and control was necessary to ensure that professional managers listen to peoples’ voice. They created the election system so that they can claim that they represent people. This has turned out to be a contemptible hollow claim as explained in Article 2. For instance, even in the highly praised Lok Sabha election in 2014, the ruling party  got support of only a minority (31%) of the electorate and clearly showed that they were far away from  representing majority of people. Even this minority support is of questionable quality because many of these voters had either sold their votes or voted for persons from their castes, as explained in Article 1. Why was this startling revelation of contemptible  hollow claim ignored? 

Because, blind hero worship prevented people from opening their eyes to this second absurdity of hollow claim also.

A  third absurdity is the wrong belief that voters, among whom large proportion are illiterate or inadequately educated, have the capacity to judge and elect persons who can perform functions of governance efficiently!! In the absence of this capacity, blind hero worship influenced election and political leaders with the gift of the gab gained.

Even if political leaders have the unlikely super human capacity to supervise many types of professionals, people will not be benefitted because politicians have become enemies of democracy as justified in Articles 19 and 20. Moreover, while planning any programme they give priority to two questions-  (1) how will this benefit my party? and (2) what will I gain from it?

 Blind hero worship has led to acceptance of these three absurdities viz., (1) political leaders have super human capacity to supervise and control qualified professionals  of different specialties, (2) contemptible hollow claim of representing people and (3) people have the capacity to judge and elect persons who can perform functions of governance efficiently. This blind acceptance depicts a type of mental slavery to politicians which has continued for many years. Sadly, hardly anyone woke up from this stupor.  Even worse, even the  wish to come out of this mental slavery seems to be absent!!

To conclude briefly:

Can the gift of the gab make listeners fools?
My answer is not only “Yes” but also that it can lead to mental slavery as explained above. Alas!! My wish and that of many others like me, as  individuals, to come out of it is nipped in the bud by the political system which has gained tremendous power!! I can  only hope and pray for people to come together and start a peaceful revolution to achieve comprehensive democracy outlined in Article 24 which frees people from mental slavery to political leaders and suggests a better system for people to exercise their voice more frequently and effectively.

If you agree that a change in our democracy which is based on these three  absurdities explained above is overdue, let us strive to make people aware of the need to join together to overcome mental slavery to political leaders and to set the ball rolling towards a peaceful revolution to make comprehensive democracy a reality.

A caution: If we hesitate to put all our efforts for a peaceful revolution, a violent bloody revolution which is already looming in the horizon will engulf us soon!!

Let us be encouraged by the fact that Mahatma Gandhi (who got us independence from the mightiest empire by leading a non-violent movement) has shown us how even unbelievable changes can be achieved when ordinary people come together and use their hidden power to do extraordinary things.

·        The gift of the gab: Ability to speak easily and confidently in a way that makes people want to listen to you  and believe you.

This mesmerizing capacity has often been used to develop blind hero worship resulting in mind slavery and mockery of independent thinking.

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