Sunday 26 May 2024


Dear Friends, we are going through the season of election and mixed feelings of hope and despair, enthusiasm and disappointment, etc are prevailing across the nation. Both the main stream and the social media on the internet are also extremely busy with it. The whole thing is played out against the dire social, political and economic reality. Some feel so hopeless that they don’t go for vote at all. And, yet, the trend that is being witnessed so far shows that more than 60% of the population does exercise their right to vote. Therefore, the present blog is extremely relevant to my readers – no matter which group they belong to.

The point of this blog is that the entire electoral process, and the kind of polity it is part of, are absolutely vain and meaningless. We, the Indians, call ourselves the largest or the second largest democracy in the world. Of the people, by the people, for the people…General public has been parroting this humbug right from the time we won freedom from the British. The reality, as we see it today, is quite bleak. We can’t blame the politicians alone for it. We have no less to blame ourselves for it. The mute question is, “What exactly went wrong and where?”

In order to answer this question, I’d like to present my readers with the unique case of Israel. You may get surprised to learn that Israel existed as a nation hundreds of years before the Christian Era began in the same place where we see it today. And they existed as a nation with no ruler to rule over them, no administrator to administer to their diverse needs. They even existed without regular army! At that time also Israel was surrounded by enemies on all sides. Nevertheless Israel fared better then than she does now. How? Please pay close attention to what I am going to say to you now.

At that time there was no meticulously thought-out system of governance. But instead of political figure, she had prophets! This is not to say that these prophets functioned as political figures. No! Sometimes these prophets lived in the society along with common citizens of the nation; whereas sometimes they lived reclusive life in the wilderness. They would approach the people only when they received any message from God and had to convey it to them. Once they delivered their messages, they returned to their reclusive life. When a social dispute of any kind arose, these prophets got involved as arbitrators in the matter.

Thus, the citizens of Israel went about their business, social life, etc all on their own. They were happier than the surrounding nations which had kings over them. Whenever, Israel was threatened militarily at the time, she faced the threat as a society. The decision whether to offer armed resistance or establish treaty was reached depending upon the message received by the prophets from God. However, at no point of time that decision compromised the sovereignty of Israel.

To put it plainly, this nation was indeed ruled by their God and their conscience. When they did anything against God, He gave them into the hands of their enemies. When they would seek His forgiveness, He would restore freedom and normalcy to them through individuals who were not professional soldiers but had fear of God and did what pleased Him. In other words, He (God) raised righteous men to defend the nation against the enemy. Not mighty and politically shrewd men but righteous men defended the nation. That’s the point.

Thus, the people of Israel were very happy and all was well with them. So far so good. But in the time of a prophet called Samuel a significant change occurred. The Book of Samuel, Chapter 8, in the Bible describes it in the following manner:

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’

‘However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.’

So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, ‘This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.’

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, ‘No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.’”

So, Samuel found out a king for them – a king named Saul. In due time, this first king who made Israel a kingdom for the first time in her history, exactly fulfilled the prophetic utterances of God regarding a king. God’s description of a king stands justified in all ages and in all places. The character of a king remains the same everywhere in the world. Even the democratically elected representative of people cannot be otherwise; simply because once we cast vote, it becomes a power in the hands of our representatives from that point onwards. We have absolutely no authority over them. They become kings without crown. They lack in quality because we lack in quality. We choose a person to represent us. And if a person who represents us is wicked, it only tell-tales the people whom he represents. In the above given instance of Israel, the people of Israel chose a king to rule over them instead of God!

As long as Israel lived as a nation without any government that was based on one or the other political ideology, she was totally dependent on divine dispensation through prophets. The same divine dispensation removed the prophets who proved they weren’t worthy of their calling. It brought into existence a nation that was driven by two things: faith and conscience. Human nature remained the same as ever but faith and conscience so molded the character of a nation that it successfully overcame the human nature.

The divine plan was to develop the nation of Israel along this line in order to move them from the mundane to the spiritual plane that Jesus would initiate them to in order to seek after the Kingdom of Heaven where nothing was temporary but everything was eternal and in an ideal state that the mankind has been yearning for. It was the declared intention of Jesus that He had come into this world in order to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by moving the people of the world from the world to the Kingdom of Heaven. When the people of Israel tried to make Him King over them, He resisted their attempt and clearly told them His Kingdom was not the kingdom of this world. To the very end, He preached about the Kingdom of Heaven where all are equal, all are rich and happy, all are immortals, and there won’t be a trace of sorrow; because all are living in the presence of God. It was the development of character that was required for this purpose. Right to vote for a politician of one’s choice cannot build a nation. By the same token, no political ideology or system can help build a nation if the citizens’ national character is lop-sided.

That’s the point. Building a character is an essentially spiritual exercise.


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