Well! You guys are the righteous citizens of India! You had voted in the last election and you’re eager to vote in the next, you pay your taxes, you are happy to exercise your full range of civic rights and responsibilities.
Even if you are a well informed citizen who’s aware of every line of the constitution, that doesn’t mean you know why and the way your government works now. To understand this, you need a distinct political insight.
Wait…What does the word ‘political’ bring to your mind? To dive deep into this, revise the following terms.
- CIVICS : How your government works.
- SOCIOLOGY : Why your government works the way it does now.
Coming to politics…
The word politics is the most multifaceted word you can ever hear.
Indeed, from ‘Politics’ you could only imagine a bad or unacceptable situation that happens around you! Hence, unfortunately the word is mostly used with a negative connotation. It is either imprinted in the mindset of the people to an extent that they’ve forgotten the actual context of politics and its influences on day to day life, or they care not about it.
Basically politics is related to policy making which is intended to move the nation and its people in a progressive track. The reality is, Politics becomes dirty inside and out, when it works against the people and prefers few individual’s well being to the citizens’. Politics in its absurd form goes to an extent where few nation’s national anthem bears dumb sentences like “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN”!
The political engine comprises of,
- political party
- lobbyist groups and movements
What is government !?
“The major social institution by which society organizes decision making and distribute power and resources”
Presently, we have two systems of government:
Monarchy existed from the archival times and Democracy stands as a symbol of evolved human consciousness. The shift from Monarchy to democratic form of government empowered humans and provided them with fundamental rights and responsibilities.
Monarchy: Monarchy is a totalitarian authority where the control is completely centralized. Still, some nations follow Monarchism where a family continuously holds the authority to govern the nation.
Democracy: Democracy is for the people and a decentralized form of authority. A country can be democratic in paper. But, true democracy is achieved when citizens of the nation go beyond the internal discriminatory divisions like caste, religion, greed and vote to select their representatives according to their level of empathy. Till then it will be feudalism encapsulated in the form of democracy. This remains a huge challenge in democratic countries.
To put it other way, Democracy lead to the rise of bureaucracy and is based on rational-legal authority for the welfare of the society, whereas monarchy is based on traditional authority and single family dominance. And we know that nothing is absolute and Utopian like the theories. Politics is a fuzzy area which cannot be analyzed using a binary point of view.
Political parties consist of people who hold common goals and ideologies. They participate in elections to promote themselves with their agenda and propaganda made in a language that majority of people can understand and try to win the election aiming to hold the office. Political party as an entity agrees to take some position on issues, changes in laws and leaders.
There are well devised political framework/system and acceptable political methods implemented as laws and amendments as part of our constitution. This comes under civics which elaborates about the framework of formal politics. But to know why, you need to dwell deep into the sociology of politics.
Some of the political actions include,
- negotiating with your representative (like Councillor or MLA) periodically
- boycotting company for the sake of disagreement with the CEO
All the above are done by groups of people for influencing society’s decision making and distribution of power. Government is a formal organization which organizes and regulates politics which is responsible for making decision for whole of the society. It implements the decision as it holds certain privileges of power.
The power is the ability to achieve desired (better/worse) scenarios over the objection of others. It can be further classified into,
To understand in deep about the power, authority and politics we must understand the political spectrum of the population.
|Aspects||Left Wing||Right wing|
|Economy||Equality of outcomes||Laissez-Faire economic model|
|Social Authority||Legal Authority||Traditional Authority|
|Healthcare Policy||Believe that access to healthcare is one of the fundamental rights of all citizens.||Oppose government-provided universal healthcare|
|Education Policy||Favor expanded free, public education||Not opposed to public education|
|Environmental policy||Conservative, preferring to ban economic activity that may create jobs but could potentially harm the environment.||Generally more permissive, considering economic impact of environmental regulation.|
|Other Aspects||Those on the left-wing may support: Social welfare programs (food stamps, homeless shelters, unemployment benefits). Separation of church and state. Higher taxes on the wealthiest members of society to fund social programs. Environmentalism and green initiatives. Strong trade unions and industry regulations. Social change or social justice to create equality. Stronger federal (national) government, as opposed to stronger state governments||Those on the right-wing may support: Strong moral and religious values. Belief that charities, churches, and communities should provide social welfare, not the government. Lower or flatter taxation to cut government programs. Limiting the scope of government, with emphasis on freedom of the individual. The strength of free-market capitalism, both at home and abroad. Reducing regulations on industry and business. Stronger powers to state and local governments, with a weaker federal government.|
This political spectrum remains meaningless without forms like political party and special interest group.
Fun Fact :
Use of left-wing and right-wing begins in the 1789 French Revolution, when the revolutionary camp tended to sit together on the left side of the French National Assembly and their aristocracy-favoring counterparts on the right. The center seats became associated with more moderate political views. French newspapers began identifying more socially liberal politicians as the left and more traditional, authoritarian politicians as the right.
We know that elections are the game changing event in the democratic process. But if elections are there for us to choose our representatives, who can solve our issues, then why are protests going on everywhere against the government !? The grave imbalance & injustice prevailing in the society is becoz, the power is not rightly equally distributed. There are three models to explain about uneven distribution of power.
- Pluralist Model – Power is widely distributed
- Power Elite model – power is concentrated on small group of people
- Marxist Political economic model – economic system decides the power
“However good the Constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are no good, it will prove to be bad. However bad the Constitution may be, if those implementing it are good, it will prove to be good”, said Mr. B.R. Ambedkar.