Political Lessons

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

-  Mahatma Gandhi

Lal Bahadur Shastri

The second Prime Minister of India, popularly known as 'Shastri Ji', has been an epitome of simplicity and the best idol for the current and upcoming politicians. He taught us that a person can be at the pinnacle in politics as well as in life without compromising his principles and dignity. In the book 'Politics and Beyond’ - the author Sandeep Shastri has shared several examples which make us believe that honesty is the most powerful tool to change the politics & the country. 


Shastri Ji resigned as Railway Minister following a train accident in 1956 set a new benchmark of righteousness in public life. This reflected the level of professionalism, devotion, and compassion he had towards his responsibilities. He realized the challenges faced by the farmers & soldiers in the country in earning their livelihood and gave a slogan 'Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan' that means praising the efforts of soldiers & farmers and strived to resolve them. The government under Shastri Ji's leadership has been instrumental in developing the robust defence system. He signed various defence deal under his term that has strengthened the defence of the country. He was also the architect of surgical strikes that helped India in winning battles against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

Lal Bahadur Shastri initiated the 'White revolution' in India. He had begun to observe a revolutionary movement in a village in Gujarat in the form of milk cooperatives while Amul was still in infancy. Shastri Ji invited Kurien, then General Manager at Amul who was leading the milk revolution in Gujarat, and urged him to replicate his efforts across India. This initiated the White Revolution or “Operation Flood” which had positively impacted the milk production in the country and directed India towards self-sufficiency.

Lal Bahadur Shastri has played an instrumental role in the fight against corruption. He realised very early that corruption is omnipresent in India. to eliminate it, he formed a committee responsible for conducting raids & sting operations in the state departments. He also a think tank behind the Lokpal bill and tried to implement it but unfortunately could not live long to make it a reality.  


Shastri Ji's life is an epitome of honesty, patience, and true devotion towards work and restores our faith that politics can be made ethical and corruption-free with true dedication, strategy, and sincerity.

 

Nelson Mandela

The Former President of South Africa is the name that will be remembered forever in getting justice for the black people in the country as well as across the world. His successes with ending the segregation in South Africa also had wider implications for the country, namely turning it into a democracy. Nelson Mandela spends 27 years in prison and due to his efforts, the black people got voting rights in South Africa. He made sincere efforts to boost the economy of the country and lifted international sanctions such as trade embargos and the banning of direct flights. 

Mandela has played a great role in eradicating HIV & AIDS from South Africa by setting up charities such as the Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to raise awareness, allocating funds for research, and curing the infected people.  To pay homage to his work United Nations declared that Mandela’s birthday i.e. July 18 as Nelson Mandela International Day.

There is much to learn for today's politicians from Nelson Mandela. His life teaches us respect for diversity, fighting for injustice, patience, devotion towards responsibilities, compassion for values, honesty, and unparalleled leadership. These are exactly the qualities required to be an ethical politician.

Countries that have been Successful in Combating Corruption

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Afghanistan

Afghanistan has made significant progress in rooting out corruption in the last decade. This has significantly improved saved its public finance and brought transparency in its procurement system which was the biggest victim of corruption. Afghanistan launched National Procurement Authority (NPA) to eradicate corruption & bribes through robust oversight & monitoring and by making government data available to citizens which helped the country in saving US $270 million.

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Guinea

Guinea, Country in West Africa has also fought a long battle to combat corruption since independence in 1958. The country realised that there is deep-rooted corruption and a lot of fraudulent positions in the government departments across the nation. To tackle the situation, the government created a register to enroll all of Guinea’s employed civil servants in 2015 and launched a biometric identification system to conduct a census of civil servants with a motive to eliminate fictitious or fraudulent positions. The efforts helped the country in curtailing thousands of fake positions and saving more than 1.7 million dollars through discontinuation of the salaries.

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Brazil

Brazil has also been a long-time victim of corruption. The country launched a data analytical trial in one of its most corrupt state of Ceara. Mobile surveys and scientific techniques were used to catch suspicious conversations between public service providers & users. Survey data revealed a list of anomalies in the environmental licensing process. This helped Brazil in identifying the corruption red flag areas and conducting sting operations to catch the public service providers red-handed.