The word nepotism is not a stranger to us. From the schools where principals’ children take over the captaincy to the rule of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in congress, nepotism has become a full course meal which is enjoyed by all the sectors industries. The suicide of Susanth Singh Rajput has exposed the true color of nepotism in Bollywood, making us dig deeper into this issue even outside the film industry.
If we take a close look at our society, we can actually see how we have normalized this issue to a greater extent. Right from the school days, we might have been subjected to this when the sons or daughters of the school principal or teachers took hold of the captaincy and we too agreed to this as it seemed perfectly normal to us.
Other than a little conflict, striking in our head, most of us would have never dared to show open dissent to the school authorities. Therefore, right from the foundation, the people itself tried to trivialize the issue of nepotism.
Do not mix nepotism with inheritance! According to Wikipedia, nepotism refers to partiality, to family, mostly by recommending or hiring them to any jobs or positions. Favoritism, cronyism and nepotism are all under the same branch and are completely opposite to the idea of equality, instead favoring only partiality.
Nepotism has prevailed in our society for ages and tracing back its roots, we end up in the old clergy system where only some families had the privilege to serve as bishops and priests. Indeed, this term originated because of the bishops who only favored their nephews to succeed them. Then, the churches were known for their family lineage. Even though nepotism started to plunge with the fall of monarchy, with time the graph started to incline again.
Why to go back hundreds of years in search of a clear view of nepotism? Indian politics is itself the biggest example. There is no wonder why politics is called a family business when political parties like Indian National Congress (INC) are building no less than a dynasty. From Motilal Nehru to Rahul Gandhi, the INC has been always reluctant to accept someone from outside the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Now the paradox is that the INC was neither founded nor primarily presided by anyone from this family.
Even with a lot of qualified leaders out there, why does only Rahul Gandhi get the privilege to be the Vice president of the INC, general secretary of All Indian Congress Councils, the president of youth wing of the Indian youth congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI)?
The drama within the party has caused the party to pay for the resignation of many members during the last two years. Amit Malik, the former Youth Congress president, now a BJP member addressed the press about the corruption within the party and how difficult it was to settle between the actions of a particular group. He recalls how Rahul Gandhi denied tickets to the youth workers for the Delhi MCD polls, even when in charge of the Youth Congress. But instead, these tickets were given to the latter’s close acquaintances and family members.
Even though BJP is a younger party than Congress, they have also built almost the same number of dynasties that Congress had built. In the beginning of the 13th Lok Sabha, 6% of the BJP’s parliament members were relatives of the former and sitting members. This is quite contrary to the BJP’s claim on nepotism. The party continuously criticized Congress for their nepotism in the long run and claimed that the former is against any kind of favoritism.
Later, the LJD party chief, Ram Vilas Paswan said that his family has been in politics for a long time and that his family was more deserving and qualified to take hold of positions. Anyway, many party workers have left the party because of his inclination towards nepotism. However, soon after these allegations were made, his son Chirag Paswan took the position of LJD’s parliamentary chairman.
Bihar has indeed accommodated itself to let its two main parties build their family dynasties. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is likely to become another congress with most in the Yadav family holding major positions in the party. More often Lalu Prasad Yadav was accused of the misuse of the electoral mandate as he posted his younger son Tejaswini as the deputy Chief Minister and his elder son Tej Pratap as the health minister. Their mother Rabri Devi had once expressed her fondness of the party and politics by referring herself and Tejaswi as a duo like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and since then she has been yet another driving force of the party.
The list doesn’t end here. In 2017, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayavati granted her brother, Anand Kumar, the position of vice president. Although Anand Kumar stepped down from the post a year later in 2019, she reappointed him to the same post and also her nephew Akash Anand as national coordinator of the party. The former CM of Uttar Pradesh said to the media that she and her party care little about the nepotistic remarks and was indeed proud that she was able to grant some prestigious positions to her brother’s family who supported her since 2003.
Although BSP broke their political alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) last June, they both seem to have a bond when it comes to nepotism. Even being a supporter of nepotism, Mayawati and Congress showed their discontent over the nepotism in the Samajwadi party. Now that’s why the saying goes “All are not saints, who go to church”! It is just like that the kingdom of SP has been inherited to Akhilesh Yadav from Mulayam Singh Yadav. Be it, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, AIADMK in Tamil Nadu,UDF in Kerala or any decentralized government of different states, nepotism has become a common practice throughout the length and breadth of the country.
The people are to blame because they have created some sentiment towards this matter. We easily favor a new candidate, when their family members were popular and prominent leaders, without even considering their qualifications. This social stigma has affected people from a normal background who wanted to make their mark within an industry.
The Indian judiciary system is yet another prey of nepotism. In 2013, a thousand advocates sent a signed memorandum to the then president of India, Pranab Mukharjee, regarding the alarming issue of nepotism in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This was because of the high committee bench’s recommendation of eight advocates to be promoted as the high court judges. All of the eight were related to former justices and lacked any proper qualification.
After a few months, the Supreme Court conducted a deep study on the issue and considered the concern raised by the judges by rejecting six of the eight recommendations. However, the judicial system of our country continues to show partiality when it comes to the appointment of judges. The trend repeated all over again when in 2016, seven out of 44 recommended advocates to the Allahabad High Court were related to the former judges. Till now, our judicial and executive system is passing over the nepotism in judicial appointments without giving due attention.
Unlike family businesses, nepotism is inappropriate and illegitimate in all other kinds of businesses. It is a call on demotivation for many zealous and hardworking employees who wish to reach at the apex. It is unethical to offer a position to an unqualified relative rather than a sedulous person who would have lifted the business to more heights.
The private and corporate banking sectors have been very keen in promoting nepotism. Anyway, some states have come forward to stop the favoring of “our own men’ in the banking sector. Kerala amended the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act, which warned the co-operative banks to ensure transparency in interviews and selection boards.
In 2019, the Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) heavily stole the spotlight of all the media. But this time it was because of the unexpected new secretary of the board. Not only the fans but also people all over the country stormed social media by questioning Jay Shah’s qualification in cricket administration. Unlike the former secretary S.N. Nair, Jay Shah is not well qualified or experienced other than being the son of Amit Shah. Shouldn’t it be called unfortunate for the richest cricket board to be run by politicians?
Rohan Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjarerkar and Arjun Tendulkar are some of the most overrated products of nepotism in cricket. The world is becoming an unfair platform for those who fought the odds all by themselves. The problems and insecurity arises when only some in particular fields are praised more. Why didn’t the Indian media celebrate the record of Pranav Dhanawade like they did when Arjun Tendulkar showed his bowling skills during a match against South Africa?
The issues of nepotism were unveiled with much more strength with the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput. The issue of nepotism and favoritism has ruled in Bollywood for a long time. The death of Divya Bharthi put the start to the steaming topic of nepotism. The sudden suicide of the 19-year-old actress shook the whole industry and the public as she had already made her signature in many popular movies like Sholay and Diwana. She had been taking medications during the last few months of her life and dface a lot of criticism within the industry.
Currently, many artists came forward to address the issue of nepotism and how the production houses are favoring only ‘star-kids’. With popular personalities like Karan Johar, Sonam Kapoor and Ananya Pandey being criticized heavily, artists like Kangana Renault, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Nigam and many more are sharing the struggles they had to face in the industry.
It takes two to tango. The audience plays a big role in undermining the quality of the film industry. No doubt that Bollywood will soon go downhill when films like ‘Student of the Year’ and ‘Veere Di Wedding’ are embraced more than films like ‘Caravan’ and ‘Masaan’.
Nepotism is injustice. What all the industries are thriving for is a revolution— a revolution to stop different industries and sectors from building more dynasties. A reform to bring the deserving and qualified people to the front. A resolution that nobody will have to commit suicide out of depression caused by labor pressure.
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