Maligning politics and politicians has unfortunately, become a fashion in our country. Every kind of negativity is linked with politicians. The most common perceptions about politics are that it is all about gaining power to fulfil personal gains, that morality has nothing to do with politics and that everything is fair in the dirty power game of politics.
But I have always promoted the positive side of politics. While participating in various television talk shows, I urge politicians to do politics like they are performing a religious duty. Recently, I was invited to the National Press Club to address an event on media ethics. While acknowledging our media’s vibrant role in highlighting social and political issues, I urged that to achieve excellence in our lives, we must have strong moral values. We need to promote ethics, honesty and loyalty in every field of life. It has been a personal experience that anyone who possesses these good qualities always achieves their goals. We need to raise awareness that violence leads to more violence. In my view, a politician having positive values can face difficulties but will never fail in his struggle.
I believe that every religion stresses on how ethical politics is pivotal in ensuring peace and prosperity in society. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is known as the most merciful for all creation. The Charter of Medina is truly a remarkable political achievement and is still applicable in defining the state’s relations with its minorities. On the other hand, Rama Rajya is a political ideology of ancient Hinduism. Mahatma Gandhi, defined Rama Rajya as an ideology that transforms society into an ideal society based on pure moral values. In this regard, Gandhi’s tireless efforts to ensure equal rights to every person are on record.
The political views of Quaid-e-Azam were also very positive. In his August 11 speech, he categorically announced that every Pakistani citizen, whether from a minority or majority, will be allowed to play an active role in taking the country towards peace and prosperity. There is no doubt that Quaid-e-Azam, throughout his political career, promoted positive politics based on principles. He strongly denounced foul play in every field.
About 150 years ago, the US was divided in slave and free states. Abraham Lincoln sacrificed his life to outlaw slavery in the US. He successfully led the independence war with a commitment that the US must be free for all. His letter to the teacher of his son reflects how much he believed on ethics and positive values. Nelson Mandela is another example of a man of principles and dignity. He dedicated his life to eliminate racial discrimination in his country. Mandela was of the view that, “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Today, China has the second largest economy in the world, but it also once witnessed exploitation at the hand of several imperialists. Mao Zedong led a long march to establish the People’s Republic of China. He believed that politics is war without blood and war, politics with blood. His political theories, strategies, and policies are known as Maoism.
These politicians taught us that to bring about a positive change for the betterment of society, we should struggle to end discrimination and bias. They demonstrated that social justice and solidarity are key political values. They proved that politics is the best medium for empowering people. Despite all complexities and difficulties, politics is no doubt an essential human activity to build societies based on rules and regulations. Modern history tells us that peaceful solution to every conflict depends on political dialogue carried out by sincere political leaders. In any circumstances, we should never compromise on ethics, honesty and sincerity.
Unfortunately, in our country politics has become a profession. The opposition parties suppose that it is their right to create hurdles in the way of national progress. On the other hand, every government is accused of victimising its political rivals. Regrettably, politicians are also labelled as selfish, greedy and corrupt individuals whose priorities are to pursue personal interests instead of the country’s common good and welfare.
This public perception is partially correct owing to the presence of the so-called minority representatives in parliament, selected on the basis of personal liking and disliking of other political party leaders. They cannot be termed politicians unless they prove their worth within the community. I think such issues also need to be addressed so that the public’s confidence in genuine politicians is bolstered. Similarly, we should be courageous enough to support positive steps taken by anyone, regardless of our political affiliations.
Parliamentarians and politicians need to promote and engage in positive politics to serve people and solve their issues. This is a tough challenge that needs firm commitment of every politician and endorsement of the public.
The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.