School for future politicians

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I was super excited by the political experiments that were happening in the capital when Aam Aadmi Party was launched after the successful India-Against-Corruption movement. But my excitement didn’t last too long.

Personally, I felt sad that the Kejriwal goverment decided to quit. As an observer and eternal optimist I was hoping that this experiment would last longer. My own random ideas of what happened/should have been done e.g. –

  • AAP should have just focused on 2 or 3 problems and delivered on them.
  • AAP didn’t seem to have a first-100-days plan in place – I guess they were never hoping to form the Delhi Government
  • One cannot open up multiple simultaneous battle-fronts. You can not alienate everyone and make blanket accusations. They seem to have been in a continous conflict with almost everyone.
  • As a disruptive force their tactics were suited to be a good opposition player but not as the party mandated to lead the administration.
  • They needed a Chanakya – a sound strategist – who could make sense of all the chaos they were in and maybe compounding day-by-day
  • People will start discounting your words if you just keep on complaining. Share some good news, be generous in showering praises too. They failed miserably in doing so.
  • As a leader you cannot be dragged into every debate. You don’t need to respond to every accusation and charge. All extremes are bad. A prime minister who doesn’t say anything is as bad as a chief minister who talks way too much.
  • And many more…

But one thing was very clear. In the Indian context someone who understands the beauracracy might not always be a good leader. Difference between working and getting work done.

School for Political management

 

And hence I thought, why don’t we have a School for Political Management – something which arms future political leaders with the right kind of tools, skills, exposure. A school whose core objective is to churn out graduates who would be comfortable in the political arena, who would “understand the system” and hopefully bear strong moral and ethical standards.

I see it as a good business proposition. Imagine the kind of demand from political families where politics is what the next generation is supposed to get into. Its what the local strongmen would want to go to, to polish their rough edges. The school would give all graduates vaccinations against Foot-in-the-mouth disease, that plagues some of the top wannabe leaders right now.

The school could have an interesting mix of curriculum:

  • Indian Constitution and Law : Hopefully any grad from the school who takes charge of law ministry, would know that they cannot summon the judges. The Judiciary is not under their “control”. As the democracy matures, lawyers will continue to play an increasing role in politics. A strong understanding of the law can help draft stronger policies and hence action.
  • Basic Management principles : Esp stuff on leverage, delegation etc. As a minister, you cannot do all the work on your own. Your ministry is effective if you focus on removing hurdles, drafting right policies & programs and empowering an efficient administration that delivers on the ground results.
  • National and Political History:  Way too many lessons to be learnt from domestic and global history. There was a time when Lalu Chalisa was sold at Bihar railway stations and if someone had ever suggested that Lalu might be jailed, it would have been a case of very vivid imagination.
  • Public Speaking
  • Internships: Work along with a state or national level minister. Understand first hand the challenges in the ministry, how the administration works. There is considerable merit in the age old Marwari tradition of letting the next generation dirty their hands as an apprentice before they take charge of the business.
  • And since no college is taken seriously unless it has some global affiliation – this school would have tie-ups with the leading counterparts in other countries. Special sessions with visiting Presidents/Prime Ministers would be arranged – given that this college would produce tommorow’s leaders – it should not be impossible to arrange.

So what do you think? Would this help? Should it be a 1 year or a 2 year course?

How do we screen the candidates? Coz I believe we would get way too many applicants. And this would surely be a price-inelastic demand.