Updated: Aug 8, 2021
In a country like India where hereditary politics and nepotism is the said norm - how does professional politics work? Or rather what even is professional politics?
A professional politician can be defined as an individual who tends to have some set or sets of values and characteristics that are widely held and which define what it means to be a “professional” within that field - in this case, the field of politics. This term is mostly used in sociology and academics to label and capture the emerging tendencies and trends in campaigning and changes in political communication happening in many political spheres across the globe. The concept of a ‘professional’ politician denotes the changing characteristics of eligible candidates and MPs to demonstrate the shift from amateurs to full-fledged career politicians.
When all other professions have standards and institutions to train to become competent professionals in the field - why not politics? There is a serious need to implement a standard in India that is plagued with inept and unskilled individuals parading under the guise of being politicians. Even though one’s marks do not define them, many politicians in India are seriously uninformed and unqualified and have a job only because they are affiliated with politics. This poses a huge problem for the country as these individuals focus on minting maximum money during their tenure and pass on their “legacy” to their legal heir. They do not understand or work towards the betterment of society but rather engage in eyewash and pretend to contribute only when elections are around the corner. The blatant misuse of taxpayer money, incompetency to service, and robbing opportunities from people who deserve to be in that position are some of the major drawbacks of amateur politicians who are a product of nepotism.
There are many major drawbacks on why the current method to elect representatives and politicians is incorrect in our country, one of them being the inequity in opportunities as the privileged have a higher chance of getting into politics through bribery and recommendations of influential people already part of the system. This makes our democracy less representative and unfair as no one group ought to dominate and rob opportunities of more deserving candidates.
The values that are learned being a professional is unparalleled to novice political representatives as the skills learned are important as they affect the likelihood of success and dedication towards society. When leaders of our country have no direct experience or expertise in issues concerning the common man, how can we expect our country to progress forward and observe socio-economic-political change?
The benefits of professional politicians are the technical skills they bring to the table that is learned through experience, years of academic training, and the management expertise that is deeply inculcated and they possess a community-wide perspective toward policies and programs while having a serious dedication towards public service. This translates to excellent public and visionary ideas that show real results by tackling problems at the ground level. These professionals balance their own aspirations with that of society but put the overall welfare of the community first.
In the words of Max Weber who was a German sociologist, “The career of politics grants a feeling of power. The knowledge of influencing men, of participating in power over them, and above all, the feeling of holding in one's hands a nerve fibre of historically important events can elevate the professional politician above everyday routine even when he is placed in formally modest positions.” Therefore, as citizens of the country, we ought to elect people who are more competent and dedicated and urge the government to establish certain institutions and standards to train individuals to become professional politicians.