The Fascination of Power: How Far is Too Far

By The Editor: Siddharth Sehgal

Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing. ~Chanakya

This is a quote from Chanakya, one of the greatest statesmen in Indian history. He guided his disciple Chandragupta, a commoner, to become an emperor. He was a nation builder who advocated using any means necessary for consolidation and expansion of power yet this same man was believed to be a most up righteous person. In fact it is said that once a foreigner paid him a visit at his hut while he was completing some official work. As soon as Chanakya welcomed the guest and sat down for conversation he lit another oil lamp and extinguished the oil lamp that was lighting his humble abode. The surprised guest questioned him on this act and the prime minister of powerful Maurya Empire replied. “The oil of first lamp is funded by state, I was doing the official work hence it was appropriate to use it but since you are my guest, I had to lit the lamp whose oil is bought from my salary.”

When I asked my friends in a WhatsApp group if BJP was right in attempting to sweet-talk opposition candidates in supporting them in confidence motion, I was flooded with stories & quotes of Chanakya, I was told its okay to deal wickedly with wicked people and how horse trading is okay if it keeps congress out. But the thing that came to mind reading these explanations were are we sure that our politicians of today are as professional as Chanakya?

Who is to say that the new government of any party, be it of BJP or Congress or JDS would not recover the crores it’d spend on buying the loyalties of so called public representatives who were herded from one state to another in fear of defection.  How corruption of one corrects the corruption of other. We justify Chanakya as if our politicians are epitome of character and sacrifice. I bet these people can’t live in a hut much less in a 2 bedroom apartment. 100 crore was the going rate for the support if media reports are to be believed, even if 100 crore is a far fetched figure, I am sure the vote would not be as cheap as we may think.

The thing with horse trading is that horse would have no loyalty. In order to keep him at your side, you’d have to give this jumping jack a ministerial seat and if you can’t trust a person with his character or loyalty how will he be trusted with public money and decision making? If an MP can switch sides out of fear or greed of 100 crore, who is to say he’d not try to rob his own countrymen.

Though BJP can try salvage some dignity by saying that Mr. Yedurappa resigned on moral high ground but the damage is already done. If you are single largest party and have the people’s support. Why in such a hurry? Why loosing that support in ephemeral chase of chairs but the power has an effect of its own.

I believe there should be some honesty, some basic “Lakshman Rekha” or red line that one should not cross. Money can buy you majority for five years but it will also get you contempt of public who can easily outvote you for another 10 years or may be more. Congress is the biggest example of this. So if our “netas” really want to emulate Chanakya, I think they should make an effort.

One Comment

  1. O K R Sivagnanam says:

    Our politicians have no fascination for power, rather it’s lust for power drivimg them to adopt any measure that guarantees ascending to the throne!
    They are not decent enough to see reason, and decide the right course in formation of a popular government in which the electorate has the greatest say!
    Very often, the voice of the people fades into oblivion ,only to be approached right in their doorsteps after the lapse of five years!
    People too, as usual, forget the failure of the rulers to deliver the results as promised by them, and stand in the queue to exercise their voting power so meticulously!

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