West indian culture

India and the “Revari Culture”

Political largesse, public funds, to serve their selfish electoral ends has reduced the garib janata (poor people) to beggar rather than rational citizens exercising their right to vote to elect the best representatives,

A few days ago the Prime Minister warned the people about what he called a ‘revari (soft) culture’ in which votes are lured by promising freebies to the electorate and said it could be “very dangerous” for the development of the country. . People heeded their prime minister‘s warning, but are still lured by lucrative allowances during hustings. Revari culture has been practiced by many politicians for decades in many states. Various state governments distribute free cookers, televisions, tablets, bicycles, chulhas, sarees, school robes, shoes, rations, etc. for decades, with southern states leading the pack. The development indices have not experienced the required improvement. Therefore, the solution was even more giveaways to attract voters. Now even free water and electricity, advertised through daily newspaper advertisements, have been added to the list of freebies by newly minted politician Kejariwal. Lofty claims are made that all of this is done to benefit the miserable millions and to improve their living conditions, but it is undoubtedly done only to garner votes at the expense of public funds – since the governance is lamentable – whatever whichever party seizes power. Then the projection and the one-upmanship become critical. Therefore, the culture of media giveaways has become a vital complement, accompanying the “Revari” culture prevalent in politics. Full-page newspaper advertisements are now published, almost daily, on one pretext or another by many state governments and, again, Delhi’s leader Kejariwal, whose face continues to lean regularly in national newspapers. Isn’t this another freebie / revari at the expense of the taxpayer? Political largesse, public funds, to serve their selfish electoral purposes has reduced the garib janata (poor people) to beggar rather than rational citizen exercising their right to vote to elect the best representatives. The selfish, amoral and inept ideology of governance, of which the “gifts” are but a mere manifestation, dangerously undermines our democracy in all areas.
The dictionary meaning of the word freebies is “something given to you without your having to pay for it, especially to attract your support or interest in something”. Certainly defaulters, recipients of tax cuts, recipients of duty reductions, and recipients for whom government policy is “adjusted” are much larger recipients of freebies than the population, because they pocket thousands crores of rupees without having to pay for it. All of this is done ruthlessly in the name of the public interest and to revive the economy! The question is why any benefit given to the poor is called a gift and when given to the rich, to further increase their wealth, it becomes an “incentive” and a “sweetener”. This chasm is due to a deep-rooted political and economic ideology – one that brazenly favors and embraces big money and is not at all centered on the “poor”. The result is unprecedented progress of the haves at the expense of the unfortunate vulnerable have-nots – who still languish in impoverishment and line up for the various allowances that the merciful may baap Sarkar, even from debt-ridden states, liberally dispenses to them to keep their bodies and souls and their most precious voices together.
It is their future or lack thereof that should define our current debates. Will the “gift culture” solve it? It only reflects the crisis of our governance – unless it is imbued with ethics and morality, it will continue to embody selfishness and profiteering. As Gandhi pointed out: “A person cannot do good in one area while trying to do evil in another area. Life is an indivisible whole. “It follows then that if there is no principle, there is no true north, no honesty to the public, there will be nothing iconic in the personality of leadership. Neither does the focus of governance shift to building an ethic of character – with the creation and reinforcement of an image that sells well in the social and economic marketplace.
It is a commonplace to see politicians spend millions of rupees to create an image, even if it is superficial, lacks substance but is very effective in obtaining votes and winning coveted positions. It leads to a political system operating independently of the natural laws that should govern – which are the very foundation of our constitution – with salient ethics and morals. Our constitution makers were clear that all men are created equal, that they have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The constitution proclaimed obvious, exterior, observable, natural, indisputable laws. Our constitution along with all of our accumulated civilizational wisdom underscores one truth – that the key to a healthy progressive society is to align the social will, the value system, with ethical principles.
But unfortunately, we have developed a sick social will at the same time as a totally unprincipled political will. We have gradually degenerated into a society with very distorted values. For example, the professed mission and shared values ​​of criminals who loot and loot can be very similar to many mission statements, which use terms such as “teamwork”, “loyalty”, “profitability”, “innovation” and “creativity” to decimate the public interest. The problem is that their value system is not based on natural law. This is the challenge we face today: to restore the morality of governance.
In his book Moral Sentiment, which preceded Wealth of Nations, the father of modern economics, Adam Smith explained how fundamental moral ethics are to the success of our systems: how we treat each other, the spirit of benevolence, of service, of contribution. If we ignore the moral foundation and allow economic systems to function without it and continuous education, we will soon create an amoral, even immoral society and businesses.
In such an immoral and unprincipled society, questions about ‘freebies’ are bound to arise, as these questions are also devoid of morality or ethics – which must first and foremost be based on governance. Instead of wasting our energy on this frivolous talk, all our efforts should be directed towards cleaning up the rot that has taken hold of our social, moral and political landscape. The real challenge is to clean the rot from politics and that will only be possible when ethical people enter politics. We must take into account the father of our nation, who wrote: “I could only lead a religious life if I identified myself with the whole of humanity, and this I could only do if I participated in the Politics.

The writer is a former secretary in the government of India.


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