Sunday ka Funda

“The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers become rulers in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.”

― Plato, Plato's Republic

Power and the divine right of kings also happens to be a philosophy. And, Plato contradicted himself when he wrote in the section The Theatre of the Mind:

“In practice people who study philosophy too long become very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who are the best of them are reduced by...[philosophy] to complete uselessness as members of society.”

Today's Republic Day speech by the President, besides the usual homilies, had at least a couple of interesting observations:

"Some cynics may scoff at our commitment to democracy but our democracy has never been betrayed by the people; its fault-lines, where they exist, are the handiwork of those who have made power a gateway to greed. We do feel angry, and rightly so, when we see democratic institutions being weakened by complacency and incompetence. If we hear sometimes an anthem of despair from the street, it is because people feel that a sacred trust is being violated."

"Equally dangerous is the rise of hypocrisy in public life. Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one legitimate target: those in power."

No. Often, the target are the citizens. Indirectly, even the fallout of the rage affects only them. For, whether in power or out of power, the leader can shrug off promises, unlike the people for whom the promised could well be a matter of survival, if not hope.

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