It sounds just dandy. The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, will now come out with a course for women on how to launch a political career. It includes such topics as the theory of politics, the economics of governance, gender issues, ideologies and working with the media. And for good measure, the course involves a seven-day programme in Singapore to understand how public policies are practised in developed countries.
But we find a few lacunae here. Does the course, for instance, tell you how to get a party ticket in the first place? Here, a woman, or for that matter a man, with no connections will have to surmount the avalanche of relatives of established netas to get a foot in through the door. Once having got a party ticket if you are lucky, the course needs to tell women how to soothe ruffled feathers and work out the caste and community equations. A swing around Singapore will not do much good when faced with a Kurmi-Koeri-Ahir combine in the dusty plains of UP. Then comes the somewhat touchy issue of dealing with other candidates some of whom may be fresh out of the clink, or resident in the local jails even as elections are on. Yes, the IIM candidate will need nerves of steel to deal with this. Then comes the strategic mud-slinging. Anyone who comes into Indian politics and wants to play by the rules will find herself the target of well-aimed barbs questioning a number of things which are best not mentioned in public.
But, if it works, this is a great idea. Maybe, then we could also have courses for male politicians. But we do have a very major concern. Those who get into the IIMs do not usually have a political career in mind but a mega-salary job in a blue chip company. To think too many would have the courage or the inclination to brave the minefield that is politics today would be a triumph of hope over reality. But still, this could be beginning of a professional cadre of politicians, something that could one day, in the very distant future, change the face of Indian politics.