Politics is the backbone of a modern welfare State, a State that exists to promote welfare and ensure wellbeing of its Subject whom we know and refer to as citizens. It is more or less a functional description with a fixed state of existence of a State and a Subject and underlying the essential reason for such an existence – which is the function of the State to serve Subjects.
A little more structural description may put politics to be an all inclusive exercise with methods and manners to manage and ensure smooth functioning of the institutions of the State itself. In a modern State which has a tangible face, politics involves both the realm of ideas that are needed for operation of institutions and the acts.
Political ideas are of immense value. Usually, people do not hear about the political ideas except during those times when political advocates pronounce their ideologies. These ideologies may be centered on a strong personality and therefore personal, shaped by opinion of the advocate. Or the ideologies may emerge from shared opinion or aspiration of a section of the people. Generally, political ideas centered on individuals indicate strong leadership qualities while as ideologies that are focused on a group’s, section’s or cult’s aspirations indicate a continuous battle for competitive representation.
In Jammu and Kashmir, it is very difficult today to describe the politics, since there have been adulterations in the original political ideas and aspirations. There was a time when parties or individuals could be described in terms of socialist tendencies, dictatorial dispositions, liberal and progressive inclinations. But not anymore. Today, it is just a shallow and muddy stream where interests instead of ideas flow and are floated. People can no longer tell a person from the political ideas he subscribes to. It is open ended, and the loyalty is aligned with the most profitable political class. People are at loss since they can’t comprehend as for what mainstream political parties like National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party stand for? What do they represent, apart from their struggle to be at the helm?
Closely related to the concepts of State, Subject, and relationship between the two, is the concept of Governance. However in common parlance, the scope and view of politics has largely been underrated, and people or Subjects for whom the State exists only think of politics in terms of parties contesting elections, candidates and politicians/political leaders who may get elected and make the cream called government, suffrage/voting, and at max in terms of policies, laws made and executed.
Politics is much more than that, and often we hear something or the other which may have a political lineament. Instead of trying to examine the nature of politics, if we stick to a fundamental question as ‘what politics should do’ and to put it in a perspective add the most disturbing fact at the present ‘should it unite the people/subjects’ or ‘divide them/their unity’, we may be able to get a satisfying answer, an answer which has become very important for growth and development of State with its Subjects.
Today, we stand baffled as people, subjects, and among the subjects political leaders of all hues, stand divided on this issue or that issue. Mainstream politicians are the ones who stand poles apart in this dichotomy with political leaders filled with feelings of hate and despise for each another.
For a non-state political formation, it is understood – that their priorities are different, their aspirations and eventually their actions are different. But in state political formations why are there so many disagreements on common issues?
Probably, the principle of exclusivity drives a wedge between the political outfits in the state. Otherwise, the ruling party and the opposition are both part of the system. They support the same system and acknowledge the importance of each other. Yet, whenever there is chance, they tend to grab each other’s throat, indulge in mudslinging and outdoing the other. They create competition to the extent that they have to figure out disagreements in order to sway the people.
Young politicians today are more noise and less metal. There are flaws in their composition since they have not been forged by the forces that made fine statesmen in the past. They can compromise over a trivial matter like garnering more attention. Put them in vacuum for a short time and their entire persona changes.
Further, in many smaller institutions or organizations, whether it is hierarchical or horizontal, there is dissent and disagreements instead of unity and cohesion. What is the source of all these dissents, divisions of opinions, disagreements? If we don’t introspect, we may make the situation worse for future. Is there anything called good politics and bad politics? – We know about good governance and bad governance. There has to be a positive change or the change for positivism in the field of politics for sustenance and improvement of overall quality of life that is to be enjoyed by people, the subjects.