25 June, 2021

Democrazy & Sons

Dynasties rule the world over but nowhere more than in South Asia

Democrazy & Sons
Dynastic politics is common enough throughout South Asia not to shock. Father to son or daughter, or spouse to spouse, the handover of government and party leadership through patriliny or matrimony is a constant. The United States seems the only other place in the world where political dynasties have delivered governors, senators and presidents with similar regularity.

There is family rule elsewhere to be sure, not forgetting Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Kim Jong-Il in North Korea, Megawati Sukarnoputri in Indonesia, and Raul Castro, who has just followed brother Fidel, in Cuba. But it is in South Asia that political dynasties find the soil to be the most fertile, and the glamour of the political nobility rivals only that of the long-standing monarchies of Bollywood.

The lineages of today are obviously a throwback to the monarchies that have been part of our history and cultural lore. We recreate the ruling class of our past—the nawabs, rajas, rajautas, maharajas, peshwas, ranas and all other kinds of king-emperors and...

More from Kanak Mani Dixit

Latest Magazine

June 28, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section