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by Amit Parmessur

This story is mainly meant for those who are not interested in hearing it. For those who already know it, you may go home, have a nice shower and carry on with your own politics.

Wikipedia cleverly defines politics as a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. (I’m tempted to think of collective blunders!). According to the esteemed encyclopedia, the term is mostly applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in other group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions.

Wikipedia adds that politics consists of social relations involving authority or power and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.

Let’s face it – it is a very clear definition, but still can everyone really understand what politics is? The story I am going to tell you to define politics was told to me by a friend, who himself was told the story by his grandfather, who was told the story by his passionate and illiterate concubine.

So, once in a busy town, there was a not-so-curious child who wanted to know everything around him. One rainy afternoon, he asked his father solemnly, “Pops, can you explain the meaning of politics to me?”

After a heavy pause, the father answered calmly, “It’s simple. I’ll give you an example – our family.”

“Our family?” the boy demanded enthusiastically.

“Yes. I am the bread-winner, so I represent capitalism. Your mother handles financial matters so she is the government,” the father continued.

“Ah! Interesting! That’s politics? Indeed very simple.” The boy was lost in his thoughts and about to depart. “It’s not over yet son,” snapped the father. “Your grandfather who ensures that everything is going on smoothly is the Parliament. Our maid is the working class. We have all only one aim, which is your welfare, so you are the people. Your little brother is the future.”

The boy seemed excessively contented as the rain thinned outside. Night fell and everyone went to bed.

Suddenly the boy could hear his little bro crying bitterly. He got up to examine the situation. The baby had urinated all over its cradle and on the floor too. What’s to be done, reflected the boy wretchedly.

He went to his parents’ room only to find that his mother was sleeping all alone like a drunk cow. He moved to the maid’s room and there, gosh! He saw his father in the young and beautiful girl’s bed. While rushing back to his brother’s room he noticed his grandfather in the corridor watching the rain through the window.

The next day the father asked, “So son, any more doubts about politics?”

“Oh, not the least,” the boy said firmly. “Politics is so clear to me. Capitalism exploits the working class while the government is sleeping and the Parliament watches without saying a single word. What the people think has no importance and the future is seriously screwed.” He departed.