Sunday, 11 April, 2021

Political Culture Bolsters System

Janaki Kumari Sharma


Developing nations mostly share common dreams as they have been going through similar problems like poverty, unemployment and rampant corruption, among others. Just like the other developing nations, Nepal has been trying to get rid of these problems for a long time. In pursuit of better socio-economic conditions, Nepal has experimented seven constitutions in the last seven decades. Have we achieved our dreams so far? If not, what actually stops us from realising them? Are we the irrational agents of politics? Now, it is the time to make self-realisation for our future’s sake.
We have been playing ‘a deceptive game’ with each other just to satisfy our insatiable interest. When the political system is deceptive and so does the political culture. The instability of a game can invite many unsolicited disorders. No wonder, many nations have faced a mismatch between expectations and the results. Its cause is apparent: we all have climbed up to the peak of sophism from where we do not like to get down. As a result, failure is imminent, with disastrous implications for the society.

However, the sensibility of political parties and the structures of the political system can influence the image and performance of the political system. Political parties being a dominant actor of policymaking, their overall vested interests can reflect on national policies on a large scale. To develop the nation and provide a new direction, the political parties have to be pure like crystal which lets them stand out distinctly among others. Greek historian Xenophon said that the legacy of leaders is not an inherent property and they cannot be naturally qualified to run the public offices. To be a good leader, at least some essential qualities should be tried on by politicians, which do not let one be betrayal at all. Some sort of vicious circle of political affairs may appear frequently if the hovel for sophism’s gravity is allowed to work into politics.
Furthermore, Plato has said that human beings can contribute to a society according to their will and capability which can basically be applied to political parties. Both are grounded in the psychology of beholders. He said that leaders should have three qualities - rationality, spirit, and appetite. Do our representatives commonly possess the very attributes prescribed by Plato? The rationality of having power demands the genuine reason of holding such a public position, an attribute of spirit seeks nationalism from power holders and the desire strives for ‘hungriness of ideal state’/public welfare state from power exercisers.
If there were genuine answers to the very simple questions with politicians, the political system of Nepal would not have been so fragile despite the leaders’ repeated commitments to bolster it. At the same time, the attributes possessed by the public can also have significant sway on the political system. Political development in the United States of America clearly demonstrates how the public chose a credible leadership by ousting the imperious and populist ruler.
It means that the trap of false logic and arguments can no longer keep people silent and happy. Before spitting on a mirror, it is a good way to wipe out their own face. To know themselves, as of the leaders, the public should also have essential attributes for an effective and functional political system. If the public blindly supports a bad leader, their nation cannot move ahead. Healthy political socialisation and nurtured political culture can make a huge positive impact on the political system.
In Nepal’s context, there is a lack of good synthesis of cultivated political culture and civilised political system. Most of the things that have been lost from the political system are hardships of mutual co-existence among distinct thoughts, absenteeism of well political socialisation, and lack of political harmonisation. These are the fundamentals of the political system and in the absence of which it suffers from vacuums.

Ground reality
Again, if the basic elements of the political system remain dysfunctional, the national efforts to achieve prosperity, stability and durable peace go down the tube. If one of them remains absent, politics, structures of the system and administration fail to function properly. Unless things get changed positively, the political system can be at risk forever no matter what achievements we have made. It is imperative to grasp the ground reality to sort out the problems and institutionalise the system or else the sophists will put the skids under the nation-building drive.

(Sharma is associated with Public Administration Campus, Kathmandu)