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Factionalism in Indian Politics
11/21/2014 11:05:10 PM

Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Yetoo

India lives in villages and
rural India is full of social
solidarity. The Indian villages are known as well-knit social units. People living in villages irrespective of their caste and vocation contribute to the unity of the village through peaceful co-existence and mutual support. They take pride in the image of their village. Of late unity of the village has been threatened by factionalism. Peace of the village has been affected by various small groups called factions. Ruralites no longer look forward to the leadership of a single individual called the headman of village. The headman is no longer the centre of power and authority in the village. Factional leaders are enjoying dominating positions and the headman is relegated to the background.
Eventually the pattern of leadership has changed in the villages. There is growing dissention among factions. Competition for power among factions has led to intolerance, intrigues and violence. Peace of the villages is fast deteriorating. This changing scenario has been a matter of deep concern for the social thinkers and much deliberation is being made in this direction by the sociologists.
A faction is a small group formed on the basis of political ideology, caste power, clash of personality in order to serve political, social and economic interests of a small minority. Sociologists are of the view that factionalism raises its ugly head in the rural communities on account of natural rivalry and conflict or clash of personality.
The family is a miniature form of a faction. Structurally, the faction is an organisation that centres around a single individual or a group of families' with a common interest. For example, peasant families owning vast landed property in a village may combine themselves into a faction. Similarly families with small holdings may organise themselves into a faction.
The third faction in a village may consist of the families who have no land and earn their livelihood as labourers. It may so happen that people belonging to one caste or supporting one political party or following one religious ideology organise themselves into a faction to fulfill the mutual interests of its members. In villages families and persons also form factions on the basis of dependence on each other in addition to some common interest.
However, there are some families in the village who are self-dependent. They neither seek others' help nor do they care for anyone in the village. These families remain neutral or indifferent.A faction is further subdivided into smaller factions when a few members of a faction group together and try to have their independent status. They defy the authority of the leader of their faction and form a faction of their own. India is a thriving democracy with many national and regional parties. One aspect which is common for all parties is that they get formed based on ideology and they taste power multple times and as it matures in the political arena all parties inadvertently fall into the mess of factionalism. This is true for all national parties and regional parties. It is true even for much disciplined cadre based parties.To get out of this the only solution looks like intra party democracy.
Though India is the largest functional inter party democracy, it may indeed has the most dysfunctional intra party democracy with each region becoming fiefdom of some lineage of one erstwhile leader. The growth of leader from real backward region into national polity will make one feel the power of democracy but the same leader once in the elected category allow his paternal or maternal feeling overrule the ground rule of politics and bring their jobless but rich sons/daughters into the poll arena with myopic view of their lineages credibility. Eventually the party become battleground for the brothers to sweat it out for the power or in some case the extended family to fight it out. This is especially true with the regional parties. It is said that father makes the family to rise to a high level his first lineage helps to consolidate it and the second lineage destroys everything. You need not looks beyond politics to find many many examples of the same.
Every job be it politics or any professional job need skills and not everyone has the skill to do everything to the perfection their parents have done. Genes can only propagate some traits of the parents and not the entire talent by itself. Being in politics hence does not mean their lineages are as good in it as their parents and most likely they are not even half good. If the parent politicians take this piece of advice much of the factionalism in regional politics can be avoided. But it is a hard choice for a parent. Instead when he is not biased he should allow strong intra-party democracy and allow the followers of party to elect based on closed voting without fear of any prejudice to elect their leader.
If each parties cannot enforce it for whatever reason may be election commission should take over even the intra-party election.
This would be a great service for the country as then only the talented will get eventually a party ticket preventing factionalism and hence a better breed of politicians as good as yesteryear. (The author is an expert in environment ,project & waste Management, occupational safety& health & pollution control and empanelled expert for IRCA).
(You may reach him at [email protected])
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