Thursday, June 04, 2009

Off with the heads...

This TOI report says that as many as 145 of the 543 MPs elected in the latest elections had less than 20% of their electorate voting for them.

When you have a system based on ‘first past the goal post”, you can expect this sort of thing. Totally undeserving candidates can get elected.

But, then whichever electoral system you choose will, I am sure, have a flip side.

Unless you are willing to implement what the people in Italo Calvino’s short story “Beheading the Heads” practice in the distant future. Their method has no flaws whatsoever.

As the title subtly hints, the Heads would be beheaded, in full public display, on completion of the term in office.

But, why would anybody want to be elected, knowing what was in store?

It was a matter of honour. “Only heads of state can be beheaded, hence you can't wish to be a head without also wishing for the chop. Only those who feel they have this vocation can become heads of state, only those who already feel themselves beheaded the moment they take up a position of authority.”'

As one of the characters, a wise old man explains, “'Authority over others is indivisible from the right of those others to have you climb the scaffold and do away with you, one day in the not too distant future . . . What authority would a leader have without the aura of this destiny around him, if you couldn't read it in his eyes, his sense of his end, for every second of his mandate? Civil institutions depend on this dual aspect of authority; no civilization has ever used any other system.”'

“We can no longer imagine what it was like in the past, in times when public men died in private: we laugh today when we hear that they described some of their erstwhile procedures as democratic; for us democracy can only begin once we are sure that on the appointed day the television cameras will frame the death throes of our ruling classes to the last man, and then, as an epilogue to the same programme (though many will switch off their sets at this point), the investiture of the new faces who are to rule (and to live) for a similar period.

'When the fruit is ripe you gather it. You wouldn't leave fruit to rot on the branches, would you? Same with the heads of the Heads.

An excellent idea that can be implemented at the earliest, don’t you agree? Will make life more interesting for everyone.


Mambalam Mani said...

Aiyo. While you are day dreaming about beheading people after one term in the office, people who should have died long back are still ruling. What a gap between reality and fiction!

Balajisblog said...

Raj - Don't underestimate our wily politicians....they will accept this, and once in power, will enact a law extending the time frame to 75 years instead of 5 years ! We will loose anyway...Balaji

Raj said...

Mambalam Mani: Hope springs eternal...

Balaji: I will accept 75 years. let's make a beginning.