Saturday, January 24, 2009

Should there be a retirement age in politics?

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh undergoes his second bypass heart surgery and the entire country prays for his speedy recovery. Although a good leader at the age of 76 he isn't getting any younger and it might be the right time for him to quit form active politics. Dr. Singh is one among the L K Advanis, Karunanidhis, Deve Gowdas and the Bal Thackreys who are in that stage of their lives when mind and body tends to give up.

So the question arises shouldn't there be a retirement age for politicians? Every job in the organised sector has a retirement age so why are the politicians given such a concession. Is leading the nation a much easier job than doing something clerical in an office? Why are grey hair, weak legs and a bald scalp considered signs of maturity in this country?

Ironically the only situation in which a young man in his 40s can become the Prime Minister of this country is if he is a Gandhi (Rahul Gandhi any ways is our next PM). Or else he has slog through the channels of his party for all his productive life and than become a top rank leader only when he has diabetes, coupled with high blood pressure and cardiac problem.

Some critics would say that age has nothing to do with decision making. True, then why not treat all other jobs in the country the same way. Why isn't politics treated as a profession in India rather than a service to the people. Considering the complexity and important nature of the job politics should be treated with more seriousness than it is treated right now.

It is no surprise that in developed countries like UK Tony Blair had his third child after assuming office ofs the PM where as in India being a grandfather is a must have qualification for any of our leaders. Vladamir Putin and Barack Obama have been photographed flaunting their six pack abs where as our defence minister falls unconscious on a hot sunny afternoon while taking a guard of honour.

India is a young country with more than 60% of the population under the age of 35. We need young people with wise and stable minds coupled with lots of energy to lead us. As for the the old brigade in politics their experience can be of help any day provided their don't hold key posts in the government.


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