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A Conversation on Nepotism

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental

This is the tale of two best friends - Aryan & Dev. Aryan is wealthy, privileged, son of an MP while Dev is from a middle-class family, well educated, and has no political connections. They are both interested in joining their preferred political party and while Aryan gets a straight ticket to become a high-ranking member right after college, Dev is still struggling to make it. Below is a conversation regarding nepotism between both of them.

Aryan: Today was tiring, hey Dev! What were you up to?

Dev: Nothing much, was just studying a bit of sociology and wondering how I can devise a good public policy strategy to help the community once I become an MLA.

Aryan: Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s all chill. You relax and let everyone else do the hard work. Being an MLA is the easiest thing to do!

Dev: Easy for you that is. As the son of the head of the party, people respect you and your dad so even if you don’t do anything, people will be alright with it as long as you’re the face of the campaign.

Aryan: That’s rude, are you saying that I am here only because of my luck?

Dev: No, I’m saying that you have it easier compared to others because of your privilege of being the MP’s son. You don’t have to work hard and earn for it unlike the rest of us.

A: So what? My dad worked hard and earned his spot. So whatever is his is mine as well.

D: You and I both know that’s not true. You come from ancestral wealth and generational politics. Your granddad did do a lot for society as an MP but everyone else that followed was a part of the political party because of the success of your grandad. Your dad does work hard, no question about that but you need to acknowledge the fact that it is your privilege that helped you gain leverage over others.

While what belongs to your dad also belongs to you, you need to keep in mind that a party seat is not and cannot be owned by your father. Everyone in society ought to have the right and opportunity to contest for the seat and it cannot be passed on to an heir after your tenure is over. Generational politics is a part of the monarchy, and in case you forgot India is a democracy.

A: Yeah, I’m aware of that but how is it my fault that my father passed it on to me? It’s like a gift if anything and I don’t see why it’s wrong?

D: See, exactly! Your understanding of a party seat being a gift is problematic in itself. Like I mentioned above - we need more professionalism in politics. Strict rules ought to be made that a minister or any candidate should not have the power to pass down their positions to their children and they need to complete their political tenure to the best of their abilities and then resign gracefully.

Nobody should have the power to determine who and what category and kind of people can only be chosen as leaders. Everyone has equal rights and those who deserve it must get it rather than those whose claim to power is only because of their family and political connections.

A: So are you saying that I am a part of nepotism?

D: Definitely! If not for your dad or grandad, you would not be in the position that you are today. It is sheer privilege and nepotism that has worked in your favor. While I know that you didn’t really ask for it - you are robbing more passionate, deserving candidates of their right to contest for the seat.

A; But nepotism is there everywhere in our country, not just politics. So why are you just cherrypicking my and my families’ story to prove a point?

D: How course nepotism works in many if not all professional fields. From doctors, lawyers, engineers, actors - everyone tends to engage in a bit of nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism. Just because a lot of people do it, it does not mean it’s right.

For example, we all know the harmful impact of smoking. Most try not to indulge in smoking while there are still those who smoke. In the same way, there will always be a section that would be pro-nepotism but that does not mean that it automatically becomes a good thing or the right thing to do. If we don’t change ourselves first and instead choose the blame society as a whole, there will be no progress.

A: I think I understand now, I accept that I am privileged enough to earn a position that I did not deserve. Dev, how do you think we can stop nepotism?

D: I believe it is going to be a long and tedious job as we need to change it from its roots but it is possible of everyone does their part and work together. Some of the ways in which we can reduce it are by reinforcing the idea that while being a family member or a friend might get you through the door, you have to perform on par or ore exceptionally compared to others.

The way we elect leaders also needs to change - we should choose leaders who are educated, qualified, and are passionate about doing good for the society and not choose people who just want to make bucket loads of money for themselves and their families and spread nepotism so that their heir can follow their footprints and do the same deeds.

It would also help if the children of influential people work somewhere else first without the recommendation of someone and gain work experience and then maybe apply to the party/government and get a position on their own merit.

A: This makes a lot of sense. I’m sorry I did not realize my privilege and all the unfair opportunities I gained in that process. Thank you for opening my eyes, and I would love to be a part of that change. I want to use my position that I did not deserve but still go in the right way, so that more deserving candidates like you will have a voice to exercise their rights and get this opportunity and more. Thank you.


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