Power Politics

Introduction: Power is a discursive phenomenon existing significantly from the psyche of an individual to the structure of the whole universe. In between these the power has an influential authority in the discussion of politics. In relation to the politics the word power is explained as “the ability of one person to cause another to do what the first wishes, by whatever means”. On the other hand, politics, at first as the making of decision, has a second characteristic which always involves the exercise of power. This power consist a wide variety of tools that help one person and affect the action of another.

Power may be stark or it may be subtle but simultaneously it may be exercised as coercion, as persuasion, or as a construction of incentives. The ability to exercise any of these forms of power may be based on all sorts of things like money, affection, physical strength, legal status, the possession of important information, a winning smile, strong allies, determination, desperation and many more. All these are a wide sense of the variety and complexity of power but not an exhaustive limit of its important sources.

However the point is that all politics involves the use of power and such power may take varied forms and influences. Acceptable politics is the best means of exercise of power or in other words power gets exercised by politics effortlessly. Such a role of power in politics is identified as manifest power and implicit power. Manifest power is based on observable action by A that leads B to do what A wants. In case of implicit power, B does what A desires not because of anything A says or does it because 1) B senses that A wants something done and 2) for any variety of reasons B wishes to do what A wants to do.

In such a condition both because power is important to politics and because it is difficult to measure precisely how and when power exercised, there are recurrent disputes within political science about how much power; we can say that all politics is based on some form of power and that its sources may be highly varied. For most questions about politics, however, it is necessary to examine what sort of power is involved. For all sort of political analysis, it is helpful to bear in mind that we are dealing with power of one sort or another; but the realization may often serve rather as a background or setting for our analysis.

Leadership In every political party and government or non-government organizations, any success or failures depends largely upon the leader or his leadership qualities. A leader is someone who inspires the members of the organization, or guide and motivates the workers to achieve desired goal or objective. Hence in every filed leader and his leadership qualities are very essential. Pfiffner and Presthus define leadership “as the act of coordinating and motivating individual and groups to achieve desired ends”. In the view of G. R. Terry – leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for mutual objectives.

Kontze and O’Dennel describe the leadership as the activity of persuading people to cooperate in the achievement of a common objective. According to Ordway Tead leadership is the activity of influencing people to cooperate in the achievement, of a common objective which they come to find desirable. Leadership Democratic politics consists of the making of common decision for an individual or a group through the use of power. Though the concept engages absolute clarity it is difficult to decided the set of ideologies that takes part in utilizing the set of political action.

In this condition the politics of choice has to be considered whether as a choice to accomplish the domination of some people or as the domination of some ideologies. The ideologies of political leadership which are to be considered could be historical, cultural and psychological as well. All these ideologies or attitudes together could be considered as political culture. ‘The political culture of a society or of a nation consists of all attitudes and beliefs held commonly by people who form the basis for their political behaviour’.

The term culture used here is in anthropological sense which means a people’s whole interrelated set of beliefs and ways of thinking to form a central organizing concept. Likewise ideology is defined as “a set of closely related beliefs, or ideas, or even attitudes, characteristics of a group or community” which is an identical definition of culture. Therefore the term ideology is used rather than culture as ideology provides a more affluent application in discussing the present political subject.

Similarly the political ideology, in relation to the selection of genealogical leader in Indian politics, certainly influenced by different set of ideologies which could be considered as political culture as well. Political or reform movements, or engaged in occupational and civic roles tangential to the political world. The small portion of the population made politically sensitive by their political socialization experiences tend to select themselves for public leadership posts or to be favorably located for recruitment. Though not a large segment of the population, they contribute a sizable share of the political leadership class.

Ideology From Althusserian point of view ideology holds some more constrictive structure. He emphasizes that ideologies have, first of all, a material existence. It gives an approximate list of apparatus i. e. , institutions. In contemporary capitalist countries…. , whose operations are largely ideological; the apparatus of religion, education, the family, the law, the system of party politics, the trade unions, communications and culture. Thus ideologies exist in apparatus forming state interconnected by the social and class conflicts traversing these apparatus coming from consciousness.

However Althusser holds that consciousness is constructed through ideologies and his radical emphasis on their material existence leads to a definition that ‘ideologies are systems of meanings that install everybody in imaginary relations to the real relations in which they live. However ideologies are altered and modified from time to time and they remain as a continually developing to serve the purpose well. Ideologies are developed and maintained because of their usefulness to individuals in responding to events and their utility in public political conditions.

This is not a conscious, cynical process in which we deliberately frame an ideology so as to enlist allies in some cause or another rather we are all comfortable with ideology. The present ideological condition readily agrees with the Althusserian definition of ideology where the imaginary relations are meeting the real relation particularly with reference to the political leadership. This imaginary relation could be equated with the mythological or religious influences, as mentioned earlier, that meet with the real relation of accepting a leader with genealogical identity in present democratic set up.

This genealogical identity of leadership perhaps be associated again with Althusserian view of prevailing practices in which he begins by suggesting that an investigation of ideologies start from the ‘point of view of reproduction’. It means every individual secures the ideological level as a set of state apparatus which prevails at every existing condition of life. Not exceptional from the Indian ideological set of selecting a genealogical political leadership is certainly remained as an ideological state apparatus.

This state apparatus may possibly relate with monarchical kinship or to the collective unconscious. Collective unconscious is a term employed by psycho analyst for those elements in the individual’s unconscious from the experience of the race. Carl Jung, a psychologist, has used to considerable extent in his theory of unconscious. Few analysts would deny the gravity of India’s problems, but some contend they have occurred amidst the maturation of civil society and the emergence of new, more democratic political practices.

Backward Classes, the Dalits, and tribal peoples increasingly have refused to rest content with the patronage and populism characteristic of the “Congress system”. Mobilization of these groups has provided a viable base for the political opposition and unraveled the fabric of the Congress. Since the late 1970s, there has been a proliferation of nongovernmental organizations. These groups made new demands on the political system that required a substantial redistribution of political power, economic resources and social status.

Once viewed as a source of solutions for the country’s economic and social problems, the Indian polity is increasingly seen by political observers as the problem. When populist political appeals stir the passions of the masses, government institutions appear less capable than ever before of accommodating conflicts in a society mobilized along competing ethnic religious lines. In addition, law and order have become increasingly tenuous because of the growing inability of the police to curb criminal activities and quell communal disturbances.

Indeed, many observers become the “criminalization” of Indian politics at a time when politicians routinely hire “muscle power” to improve their electoral prospects, and criminals themselves successfully run for public office. These circumstances have led some observers to conclude that India has entered into a growing crisis of governability. Indian politics entered a new era at the beginning of the 1990’s. The period of political domination by the Congress(I) branch of the Indian National Congress came to end with party’s defeat in the 1989 general elections, and India began a period of intense multiparty political competition.

Even though the Congress(I) regained power as a minority government in 1991, its grasp on power was precarious. The Nehruvian socialist ideology that the party had used to fashion Indian’s political agenda had lost much of its popular appeal. The Congress(I) political leadership had lost the mantle of moral integrity inherited from the Indian National Congress role in independence movement, and it was widely viewed as corrupt. Support among key social bases of the congress(I) political coalition was seriously eroding.

The main alternative to the Congress(I), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), embarked on a campaign to reorganize the Indian electorate in an effort to create a Hindu nationalist majority coalition. Simultaneously, such parties as the Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party, and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) attempted to ascend to power on the crest of an alliance of interest uniting Dalits, Backward Classes, Scheduled Tribes and religious minorities. Whether or not developments in Indian politics exacerbate the continuing problems or give birth to great democracy broadly hinges on efforts to resolve three key issues.

How will India’s political system, now more than ever based on egalitarian democratic values, accommodate the changes taking place in its hierarchical social system? How will the state balance the need to recognize the interest of the countries remarkably heterogeneous society with the imperatives of national unity? And, in the face of the declining legitimacy of the Indian state and the continuing development of civil society, can the Indian state regenerate its legitimacy, and if it is to do so, how should it redefine the boundaries between state and society?

India has confronted these issues throughout much of its history. These issues, with their intrinsic tensions, will continue to serve as sources of change in the continuing evolution of the Indian polity. REFERENCE: Althusser, Louis. Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays. Trans. Ben Brewster. London: New Left Books, 1970. Plmenatz, John. Ideology. New York: Praeger, 1970. Shively, W. Phillips. Power and Choice: An Introduction to Political Science. Eighth Ed. , New York: McGraw – Hill Higher Education, 2003.

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