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The Irrational Politician

Thursday December 9 2004 09:18 IST

By Karmayogi

A nation is led by its politicians, not by its scientists or professors. Not even the sages of a nation can rule a nation. It is common sense that the wisest should rule a nation. In reality, it is not so.

Athens, where democratic culture was born, was not ruled by her wise men, but those who ruled her were called wise men. They killed the only wise man of Athens, Socrates. Often we find the politician is not informed. Even when he is informed rightly, he chooses to speak what is convenient to him, not what is right.

The saying that politics is the last refuge of scoundrels has come to stay. How then does he reach the pinnacle and rule all the others who are wiser than him? The period of 1815-1830 is known to historians as the period when the modern world society was born. The same historians have said that until then, no intellectual had ever reached the higher offices of the British Government. This remains a contradiction.

The spiritual wisdom says that behind the irrationality of men lies a higher rationality. When a ruler oppresses people, they appeal to him for justice, explaining their grievances. The population rises in revolt when no justice is rendered. A nation conquers another nation and exploits it. That raises a freedom fight. Slave nations fight for freedom as freedom is sacred.

It is not something to be lost. During the first decade of the 20th century, Sri Aurobindo entered politics. Someone who knew his yogic bent asked him why he came to politics from yoga. He replied, ?When an Asura is sitting on your Mother who is prostrate, how can anyone think of anything else?? Freedom first, anything next is the sacred formula for those who love their motherland.

In fighting for freedom, men feel righteous, noble and proud. There is something more deeply seated than the national freedom. It is ones self-respect. There are moments in history when a population or a section of population is HUMILIATED in such a fashion that they cannot publicly acknowledge it to others or even to themselves. At such moments, men lose their balance and readily grow irrational.

When leaders are absurd, irrational and still have a vast universal backing, it means there lies a deeply buried injustice. Such movements will always win and long rule over the territory they won. Ireland was one such. Irish Catholics were, by law, banned from judgeship. They were prevented from becoming bishops. They were called stupid and ridiculed.

The Irish too acknowledged it to be true, but could not openly acknowledge it. Hence the ferocious fanaticism. Humiliation is one of the causes of fanatic ferocity. Thus the leaders become irrational.

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