Have politicians decided to compete with Bollywood in nepotism?

ROHIT CHANDAVARKAR
Wednesday, 1 January 2020

The first casualty of blatant nepotism is merit. Wherever we see nepotism thriving, we also see decline of merit and ultimately decline of the sector. India is today doing so well in cricket because the cricket administration in the country has ensured merit-based selections of players and has stayed away from nepotism. Our Bollywood continues to see decline year after year because it has indulged in extreme nepotism. Our politicians have to decide whether they want to be like our cricketers or like Bollywood personalities!

The swearing in ceremony of the new ministers in Maharashtra became newsworthy nationally last week because of two reasons, firstly because of Governor’s censure to some ministers suddenly adding some political statements to the prescribed text oath which really annoyed the Governor and secondly because the list of 43 ministers looked virtually like graphic of the family tree of some senior politicians of Maharashtra!

National media picked up prominently how over 50% of the faces of minsters in this Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government are sons, daughters, grandsons or nephews of old politicians who ruled the state for decades before BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis government came to power in 2014. The extent of dynastic politics is seen reaching such levels in this government that it now seems like our politicians in Maharashtra are in a mood to compete with Bollywood in nepotism!

One of the main reasons why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in 2014 elections and in 2019 too succeeded, was because he made a serious pitch against dynastic politics that prevailed in the country. The main reason for him to gain popularity in the country was that he exhibited his humble background and people appreciated it. This country clearly shows a tendency of being against dynastic rule, yet the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP have indulged this time in senseless nepotism while forming the government in Maharashtra.  

Similar trend has been seen in Bollywood. In 2017 the total ticket sale of movie tickets in the country was close to 24 crore, in 2018 the total ticket sale fell to about 18 crore and in 2019 this ticket sale is projected to have fallen further. Apart from web based entertainment taking over and giving serious competition to Bollywood, trade experts say the reason behind this fall is big budget films flopping one after the other. This trend they say emerged because of dynastic families in Bollywood imposed their sons and daughters in lead roles in big budget films. Bollywood has seen a trend of smaller budget films which have actors with no family background in Bollywood doing well. This clearly means people are rejecting actors who have no talent or skill but are featuring in big films only because their fathers or mothers have been successful Bollywood personality.

In a country which is politically so active and alert, the new alliance in Maharashtra exhibiting blatant nepotism is surprising. People may go against this and reject this politics. If a newcomer MLA who has got elected for the first time is made a Cabinet minister (instead of being made a MoS, as is the convention) only because he is from a particular family, it is clear and blatant nepotism.  
 
The first casualty of such blatant nepotism is merit. Wherever we see nepotism thriving we also see decline of merit. India is today doing so well in cricket because the cricket administration in the country has ensured merit-based selections of players. Bollywood continues to see decline because it has indulged in nepotism. Our politicians have to decide whether they want to be like our cricketers or like Bollywood personalities!

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