Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The new un-touchables are rising

A new caste rises in India- comprising of political dynasties who cornered 29% of the seats in 2009, 9% more than 2004. They are the new un-touchables, not because they have too little power, but too much. And people love them and accept this as a natural phenomena.  

Thus even as Brahmins fade away, Brahmanism will  survive in India cutting across all barriers. This includes even the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Hindus are thieves and Hindu rituals are kaatumirandithanam- barbaric) and the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (Hindus are impotent). They abhor the Hindu caste pyramid in theory, but insist that they should be the top caste in practice (kind of like how the British were the royal caste before 1947).


The voters are fine with this, because they accept the basic logic of the caste system, that of the parampara, by which a father teaches his son (and on rare occasions the daughter) the tricks of the trade. It is perhaps unfortunate that the list is headed by an under-performing son (perhaps the daughter would have been a better choice).

Carnegie professes to be shocked by this but they should note the list of presidents in the USA (excepting Obama) of late reads as Bush, Clinton (twice), Bush (twice) and is expected to revert to Clinton in 2016 (and perhaps after that, Jeb Bush from Florida). In a pure meritocracy that is the USA is this truly kosher?

....
A poll released by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace confirmed recent surveys pointing to a strong showing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a decade of rule by Gandhi's Congress Party.

Gandhi, 43, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all Prime Ministers, is the candidate from the Congress Party in elections starting on April 7, going against the BJP's Narendra Modi, the son of a tea-stall owner.


But the poll did not support suggestions that Indians have rejected hereditary candidates. Instead, 46 per cent of voters said they preferred politicians who hail from dynasties. 
 "What we found was kind of shocking," said Milan Vaishnav, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment's South Asia programme. "Nearly one in two Indians say, if I had a choice, I would prefer to vote for a candidate who has a family background," he said.

The vast majority of voters who preferred dynasties said they thought such candidates would be more adept or likely to succeed, with only 15 per cent saying that their main motivation was an expectation of patronage.

Twenty-nine per cent of Indian lawmakers elected in the last election in 2009 succeeded family members or have relatives also serving in Parliament, a figure that rose by nine per centage points from the previous vote in 2004, Vaishnav said.

The survey, conducted with the University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Advanced Study of India, took opinions from 65,000 households as part of a project that will examine changing trends.

When asked about voting preferences in late 2013, 31 per cent sided with the BJP-led alliance and 23 preferred the Congress-led coalition, in what would amount to a reversal of fortunes since the last election.

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