During the Indian Freedom Struggle, there were a lot of professionals and academicians who traded their professional ambitions and success for a life of struggle and uncertainty. Many prominent names sacrificed their careers for the country such as Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Motilal Nehru who were all eminent lawyers.
Other freedom fighters such as Morarji Desai and Subhas Chandra Bose gave up their civil service careers. Before becoming Gandhi’s compatriot in jail, Jamnalal Bajaj had a vast business empire. Ram Manohar Lohia and Maulana Azad were popular academics and had they all not joined Indian politics, they would have gained fame in their respective fields.
Other prominent women also gave up their professional success for national freedom such as Sushila Nayar and Soundaram Ramachandran who were doctors and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya who left theatre in order to go to jail.
Many other eminent personalities outside the Congress worked towards social service such as BR Ambedkar who gave up his legal career in order to bring emancipation to the Dalits. There were several prominent Communist leaders too who had flourishing careers in academics or journalism.
However, over the course of years, Indian politics has become self sufficient as it has given way to hereditary MPs, making politics a family business. For others, politics has become a lucrative career path that allows them to amass wealth while in office. There have been studies conducted by the Association of Democratic Reforms which depicts how the wealth of the ministers and MPs rises between the elections steeply. There also occurs the selling and buying of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats- which make politics a corrupt career on the whole.
However, looking at the list of candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, it is heartening to see that professionals are aiming for politics this year, and there seems to be a revival of the original idea. Sugata Bose, professor at Harvard University, has taken leave from that prestigious institution to contest as a Trinamool candidate. AAP’s candidates, Rajmohan Gandhi and Rajagopalachari and Medha Patkar bring more credibility to the upcoming politicians owing to their background.
Likewise, the Congress and AAP have taken in two of the most prominent professionals as their candidates. Nandan Nilekani was the CEO of the IT giant Infosys before he made a foray into the government with his UID programme. If he were to get elected, then the Parliament would receive the views of a successful IT entrepreneur.
Likewise, Medha Patkar, the prominent social activist, is currently fighting the election for AAP. She has lived her entire life fighting for social justice when it comes to social welfare issues. There are others like Rathore, the army officer and notable sportsman who have made their foray into politics.
There is a new hope that is emanating from these more credible professionals who are aspiring to make it big in politics and help eradicate corruption and bring in more professionalism into politics. The dynasty of Gandhi’s has now been overtaken by that of Narendra Modi of the BJP and Arvind Kejriwal of AAP who are making their individual names I Indian politics and are propagating new ideas for the nation.