Indians mock their corrupt politicians relentlessly, but they regard their honest politicians with silent suspicion. –Aravind Adiga
In a democratic system, politics is supposed to echo the voice of the people. Politicians are expected to correspond to the expectations of the voters that voted them to power. However, this is hardly happening nowadays. In India, as in many other countries, politics has become a business, often a family business, where a group of cunning people controls the affairs of the state, somewhat like an oligarchy, for selfish interests – monetary or otherwise.
Soon after the post-Independence era, there came governments after governments that were hardly better than the last one. People never had any better choice either. Even now, the circumstances are not tolerable. In the recent past years, several scandals, including paying of commissions, payoffs, and kickbacks, have been reported in the country. Mostly, it is the ministers, party leaders holding important political positions, and their accomplices who are found to be involved in these massive scams.
In such a time of ‘organized loot’ and ‘legalized plunder,’ there are still people holding the rope of Honesty and Virtue tightly. Uttar Pradesh’s Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’ is one such inspiring example. A four-times MLA and minister for two terms, the 92 years old leader has been one of the cleanest politicians of the post-Independence India.
Jamuna Prasad was born in Khinni Naka, in Banda. His father worked as a junior clerk. A principled socialist from his young days, Prasad started his political career by joining the progressive movement. He began to contest elections in the 60’s of the last century. His friends mostly sponsored his election campaigns. However, nothing came off as his first Lok Sabha election in 1962 resulted in a loss. In 1967, Prasad contested again, and later he fought the assembly elections in 1969. The results were, anyway, the same; Prasad lost on all occasion.
Becoming a Leader
Hell-bent on his political mission, consecutive failures could not check Prasad’s passion for serving people. With much support from friends who used to campaign for him and people’s faith in him, Prasad eventually won the MLA seat from Banda Sadar in 1974. Later, after winning assembly poll in 1977, Prasad was appointed as Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural development.
In 1989, Prasad was included in the Mulayam Singh Yadav cabinet and served as Minister of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry.
Working passionately for the poor section, Prasad earned the title of ‘Bose,’ which is interestingly a comparison to the freedom hero, Subhash Chandra Bose.
The Road Taken was Rough
The journey of Jamuna Prasad had always been a rough one. He had to sell his parental house for his sister’s marriage in 1955 and shifted to a rented room. He survived on his salary which he received during his service in politics and used to donate much of his earning to poor folks. Always committed to ethical beliefs, Prasad never had time for other business. Consequently, he couldn’t buy a home for himself.
A Man of Values
Here we see that many with red beacons on their state-provided cars secure the future of their relatives once they get elected to office. Their family members get government jobs and are placed in creamy positions. On the contrary, Jamuna Prasad Bose never misused his post for self-benefits. In fact, he had three sons, but none of them got any political benefit from their father. In this deeply nepotistic system, Prasad remains a symbol of hope that such people still exists, and that too within this corrupt system.
For the locals, Prasad is another Subhash Chandra Bose. People still see him as their leader. Though now in his senility, Prasad still does whatever he can for his people. Most of his pension is spent on his medicines, yet he still helps needy people with whatever is left to him.
Prasad’s vision in life seems to be a straightforward and universal one, that is to insist upon the belief that by doing good deeds and positive thinking and actions, we can change things for good. If the country has to develop, if we have to compete in this modern age, we need leaders like Jamuna Prasad ‘Bose’, who are not only honest and dedicated but principled too. The sense of responsibility that the individuals like Prasad show are of the highest degree. That sensibility towards common welfare must be promoted among our generation and the coming. So the country would see more leaders and politicians like Jamuna Bose who would cleanse the disgraceful spots of corruption and communalism now tarnishing the noble architecture of Indian democracy.