By: Anirbaan Hritiq
On the occasion of India’s 76th Independence Day, the honorable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi spoke about two reasons that stand as the primary hindrance to the country’s progress, they are corruption and nepotism.
Modi said corruption and dynast culture is eating us from the inside just like termites consume wood smoothly hallowing it from the inside. Though, his speech was widely appreciated by his followers as well as criticized by the critics which is a usual affair, without doing a post-mortem of his speech and finding out whether he targeted any selected politicians, industrialists, or individuals. Let’s discuss what exactly, does the word ‘nepotism’ means and why it is being widely used by the netizens these days.
The word Nepotism is derived from the Italian word ‘Nepotismo’ which is based on the Latin root that means ‘Nephew’. As per history, since the Middle Ages and late 17th century, some of the Popes and Cardinals had taken the vow of Chastity and therefore had no legitimate successors (blood lineage) of their own and gave their nephews all respect, and the position often offered by the father to their sons.
Keeping the origin of nepotism short, we can just have an idea that it basically had Italian origin and where nephews were given priority and chosen as the successors.
The British English version of present-day widely used comedy Hindi dialogue, “Chacha Vidhayak Hein Humare” was “Bob’s your uncle” which was used to criticize people who rose to power especially politically due to family connections or nepotism. The expression, “Bob’s your uncle” is thought to have originated when Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, promoted his nephew, Arthur Balfour, to the esteemed post of Chief Secretary for Ireland, which was widely seen as an act of nepotism.
The famous Greek Philosopher Plato also advocated against the dynast culture in his book, the Republic. He abolishes the family for the guardians to avoid nepotism and amassing of private wealth. Wives and children are to be held in common by all, and no parent is to know his own child nor any child his parents– “provided it can be done”.
The concept of Nepotism is condemned by many other philosophers as well citing it as an immoral and unethical practice but how far is it applicable in today’s world? Especially in the Indian context where parents pay for their children’s complete education and other expenses till an average age of 25 years.
Is nepotism just confined to the political and industrial backgrounds or it has become an integral part of the Indian lifestyle and is it that bad in the way is it being projected by public figures that we need to discuss in detail to understand what exact impact it has on us in our day-to-day life.
Nepotism or the dynast culture can be directly associated with the term greed, greed-based upon which humans want to make themselves immortal. As we are all aware of the stark fact that nothing lasts forever and many literary stalwarts have already tried to explain it through their writings. For example, in the poem Ozymandias, P.B Shelley described a King named Ozymandias whose mortal existence is over but his arrogance still stands in form of a crumbling statue.
Nepotism is also a product of the same arrogance and sense of continuity, where people think that their legacy will continue for generations to come via their legitimate lineage or their associates. In brief, it is an idea to continue living even after life which is a joke for a mentally stable person.
Coming back to the topic, nepotism can be in many forms and can be earned through mutual favors given to each other as well. It is seen in corporate, educational, spiritual, political, cinema, and other sectors these days. In simple terms, people blame those who become successful through family references, or for whom life becomes easier through already existing connections.
But, is it possible to succeed only with nepotism? Someone who isn’t talented enough, cannot achieve desired success only through connections or parental backing. As the honourable Prime Minister said, Nepotism is one of the primary factors due to which our country is unable to achieve the milestones it deserved.
India’s unemployment rate is mostly due to the lack of practical knowledge backed by the scarcity of opportunities. People with sound connections and strong backgrounds are able to achieve more than the talented mass.
Though, it is a fact that talent can never be overshadowed by anyone and is like a rising Sun which will glow and illuminate itself. But even the rising Sun needs a horizon to project its energy, which is snatched by ill practices such as nepotism.
Not every youth is equivalently well equipped with family support and financial backing to wait and struggle for his turn to showcase his talent. Meanwhile, unworthy candidates get an early taste of success.
We can clearly state that after corruption if something stands as the greatest barrier in the path of India’s success is the dynastic thought process and nepotism. Quoting, the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik’s take on the term nepotism, he says “I can tolerate anything but not corruption and nepotism”.