By Hugh & Colleen Gantzer
The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, addressed the Foundation Course at the LBSNAA on the 9th of December, 2022. We would like to highlight some of the points she made because they are of fundamental importance to the well-being of our country.
1. Good governance is the need of the hour. Lack of good governance was the root of many of the social and economic problems in the country.
2. It is necessary to connect with the common people. She advised Officer Trainees to be humble in their connect with people as only then would they be able to have conversations with them, understand their needs and work for their betterment.
This is what democracy is all about: a government of the people and by the people, and for the people.
We’re not historians but many experts believe that Iceland had the first Parliament, called the Alpingi. It was convened at Pingvellir in 930. This would give Iceland a right to call itself The Mother of All Modern Democracies.
Two fairly recent variations to this system have completely perverted the original meaning. The first is the Party System due to which voters are strong-armed to subscribe to the diktats of a political party or lose out in the voting process because their candidates cannot afford to pay for the hoopla that has now become associated with voting. The second is the Nazi concept of the High Command. This was warmly embraced by Mrs Indira Gandhi and has been enforced by those who profess to detest all that her form of governance stood for!
Before you throw up your hands and say ‘Impossible! Absurd! Can’t be done! Votes can’t be won without a party with a stated policy!” Consider this. The Aam Aadmi Party is being ridiculed for being a party without a policy but it claims to have a single-minded determination to concentrate on Good Governance as its sole objective. It has come to power in Delhi and Punjab. Surely that can be interpreted as offering the most desired policy of those who elected it to power? This, in turn, would imply that all the other claims of great ideals such as sectarian based biases or socialist reforms to benefit the, so-called, deprived sections of society, etc., have been rejected.
It follows then that the, professed, ideals of other parties have been rejected in favour of Good Governance!
So then if Good Governance is really what the common citizen wants, why do other parties exist? Judging from the evolution of, so-called, ruling parties in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar, ruling dispensations soon become self-perpetuating business empires. They use their political clout to subvert the systems of checks and balances to enhance their authority, find devious ways to tap state funds to increase their personal wealth and convert the security systems into their private armies. In other words they become replicas of the exploitive East India Company. The first symptom of this evolution is the larger than life image of its true Panjandrums. India- born social seer George Orwell predicted this deification of a leader. In India it bloomed as “Indira is India and India is Indira.” There have been subsequent variations of this worldwide to burnish the vanity of ego-centric people in high places.
This is not just a political phenomenon. Not long ago we saw a debate by three qualified analysts on the seemingly self-destruction of Twitter. They ascribed it to the God-complex of one billionaire. He had acquired so much wealth and power that his employees had felt too scared to express an opinion contrary to his. Without their inputs he had become a runaway locomotive thundering down a track to self-destruction. The Emperors of China, Russia, France, Rome and, yes, India did not listen to the voices of their common people. They have been swept into the dustbin of history. Modern nations empowered by the web cannot be ruled by tone-deaf egoists living in echo-chambers!
As our President said “It is necessary to connect with the common people.”
(Hugh & Colleen Gantzer hold the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Tourism among other National and International awards. Their credits include over 52 halfhour documentaries on national TV under their joint names, 26 published books in 6 genres, and over 1,500 first-person articles, about every Indian state, UT and 34 other countries. Hugh was a Commander in the Indian Navy and the Judge Advocate, Southern Naval Command.
Colleen is the only travel writer who was a member of the Travel
Agents Association of India.)