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Youth Following Machiavelli?

Saba Hussain for Hyderabad Youth Mirror #

Machiavelli, the first political thinker of the 16th century is responsible, apart from few other political scientists, for separating politics from religion and morals. More popularly, his political philosophy promotes the concept of “might is right” as true and justified concept of the modern political system. He refused to consider the excellence of the moral virtues as superior to the political virtue.

According to Machiavelli, every possible means should be acquired in order to maintain and retain power. In his book “The Prince” he thoroughly condemned the moral principles and advised the prince (political authority) to practice every possible means for the consolidation of power and expansion of the dominion.

In his own words, “Let a prince, therefore, aim at conquering and maintaining the state, and the means will always be judged honorable and praised by everyone, for the vulgar is always taken by appearances and issue of the event; and the world consists only of the vulgar, and the few who are not vulgar are isolated when the many have a rallying point in the prince.”

Obviously, in Machiavelli’s political system moral judgment, religious precepts or ethical considerations are frankly subordinated to exigencies of the political interests. If the safety of the country is at stake, one should not consider what is just or merciful, every cruel means should be taken to save the life, power and independence of the country.

He advised the government not to keep promises that concern public interest and will always be without a shame be broken in order to maintain their power. Not only this, he also inculcated the feeling of mistrust and bluff in the mind and the heart of the ruler by playing with their religious and moral values in order to influence people for the sake of his own interests by shrewdness and a calculating ruthlessness can the individual hope to cope with his environment and satisfy his appetite and instinct.

If we introspect the condition of today’s youth we find that acceptance of muscle power as paramount element in politics is common which resembles the “might is right” concept of Machiavelli’s concept. Yet it does not sound justified to accept that all of youth are following the Machiavelli’s thought.

We are aware that India is a nation of religion and ethics. Since times immemorial its politics revolves around religion and ethics is considered important element. Indian youth have been inculcated from the childhood about the ethics and religion. Thus, it appears unsound to reach to the point that majority are following Machiavelli’s concept. But other side of the story cannot be ignored when it comes to organized youth forum actively involving in politics.

The two biggest political wings of youth particularly the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) are found to involve in violent activities as well as searching for muscle power. More or less we have witnessed these organizations shedding ethics for the sake of power. Therefore, it is difficult time for the youth to stand against the Machiavelli’s political thought that does not belong to the traditions of east rather it stands as an imperialist tool of the west. Indian youth must stand to support ethics as prime element in politics for nation building.

[The author is a student of M.A. (Political Science) at Aligarh Muslim University.]

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