Power Of Love, Not Love Of Power!

April 20, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi (INDIA)

 

By

Ananya S Guha

A reappraisal of ‘what is power’ is now at a critical juncture in the country when people are fed up with corruption in all forms manifest itself.

To associate corruption with only politics is both right and wrong. Right because in almost all situations there is political backing for a ‘ cause’ and wrong because the behemoth of ‘political power’ has entered every walk of life. Those who can exercise brute power, those who flagrantly mention people who are behind them, and those make their offices into islands of power with terrified and cowering people at their behest, are also wielding a ‘power’ which gratifies them. In fact the country now is a fulcrum of ‘power’, whether this is wielded by politicians, administrators or Heads of institutions is immaterial. If you need to make an appointment two to three days earlier to meet a Vice Chancellor then what is the need for any academic activity or sorting out problems related to academic matters?

What is this power which has made every section of the people vulnerable and effete? You go even to a doctor’s chamber and you will know it. You are told to come at 10 am and then a gloating assistant says he will be late by two more hours. Then he is one more hour late. In Calcutta I have seen a homeopath doctor having a waiting line which spilled across to the other side of the road with people waiting for the elusive and miraculous appointment, with bated breath – people from nearby towns and nearby states, even! What happens if someone becomes critical or even dies? This brings us to our next issue that such power is invariably connected with something that we worship in hordes – money, call it black or white, colours here change very fast like the almost proverbial chameleon. Money and power and we have another tier, the businessman who can boast of houses in the midst of hovels. With all this talk about corporate social responsibility the Ambanis and their likes could do better by sharing such power instead of receiving NDTV awards. But without them you would not have your cerebral mobile you say, by which you and why, even ‘beggars’ can talk, talk, talk ad infinitum, ad nauseam!

That is power, where to get a certificate attested a hapless student thinks he must pay – why, simple, because the philosophy of power and the philosophy of money are interwoven in a happy wedlock; sometimes not so happy of course, but murderous.

The reshaping of power and its ‘meaning’ now is the need of the hour in our lives, in our institutions and in our body polity. We have expressions like social entrepreneurship, and maybe an ontological inquiry be made into such terms and their praxis. Let’s just hope it is not another euphemism like CSR! But at its best it can mean, and DO a lot.

But great enough, the reawakening has started. No red lights, no posh bungalows for Ministers and officials says a leader. Delhi Lutyens must be demolished, no nine bedroom ‘bungalows’ reeking of power and pelf. Delhi is shocked. A hurried panel discussion is called by a leading news channel. How dare? say some enraged participants they are undoing architecture, to which a fresh politico barely in his early thirties says tongue in cheek – there is no need for a crass display of brazen wealth, and of course the ubiquitous ‘power’.

Plato according to one political thinker wanted that power be used for the common good. In abstraction this is Love, the ”Beloved Republic” as E.M.Forster would say. Plato also believed in an ideal Republic, with a pragmatic mix.

This is the power of Love, not the love of power. I hoped with a new political alignment some years back there would be a readjustment of power and politics, after the earlier regimes had besmirched all notions of ethics and probity. Things seem to be worse now, the latest being slandering educational institutions, demeaning Teachers and Vice Chancellors, insinuating caste dominance in every matter, refurbishing whatever images the so called upper castes had, claiming reservation of jobs for them, and in the name of the poor, planning financial budgets. Where in the future smart cities will the beggars live?

Let’s radicalise our thinking by changing totally the meaning of power. It doesn’t exist as we think it does, because we are confusing contexts, and befuddling a very basic issue – that of human good, and its benefactors. This is true for all developing Nations and for me being an Indian, oops not so nationalist – India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha was born and brought up in Shillong, North East India. He has seven collections of poetry and his poems have been published worldwide. They have also been featured in several anthologies. He is also a columnist, critic and editor. He now is a Regional Director at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.

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