21 October, 2020

Family Entertainment

In India, dynasty politics is strangling democracy

Illustration by Sorit
Family Entertainment
Last night, my friends and I drank a toast to the late Benazir Bhutto. Some ten years ago in London, Ms Bhutto had asked me why I was returning to India after working abroad for so many years. Jokingly, I told her it was because my husband, then a London university professor, was thinking of going into politics. It was quite telling how, without missing a beat, Benazir responded to my comment: "Is he from a political family?"

At that time, I still believed that, while being from a political family was a definite leg-up into mainstream politics in India, it wasn't the only route. There were enough people in Parliament who had not inherited politics as the family trade. But after the swearing-in of the new MPs, Benazir's words kept sounding in my head. Never more so than when Agatha Sangma appeared to stumble over the phrasing of the secrecy oath. The audience, comprising her father's current and former friends and colleagues, looked on indulgently. When she finished, they clapped. The anxious faces, the relieved applause—it was like...


To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

Latest Magazine

October 26, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section