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The relationship between politics and business is both fundamentally necessary and frequently flawed. Understanding both aspects of this relationship is essential for righting many of the wrongs in our democratic governance, where corruption has become so widely, deeply and dangerously entrenched.
The life-breath of good politics is people's enthusiastic participation and their informed support. The vibrancy of our democracy, indeed its very health and growth, depends on people's participation. Politics loses its very raison d'être, if people are not put at its centre. Their concerns, problems, aspirations and dreams must be at the core of politics. Their thoughts, ideas and creative energy must get full and free play in politics. Rhetorical though it might sound, leaders and activists of political organisations should genuinely believe that people are their masters, and they are people's servants.
Leaders of political parties have the responsibility to lead and guide the public. Hence, in a sense, they naturally get to occupy a higher position vis-à-vis the people. But truly good political leaders or activists are those who have both the intrinsic humility as well as practical-theoretical understanding that they have chosen politics as their life's calling in order to serve the nation and its people, and not to exploit it to serve themselves and their kin. Promoting one's own and one's relatives' business interests through politics, and disregarding people's interests in the process, defiles the essential purpose of politics and business, both of which are essential for the society's wellbeing and progress. It also demeans the practitioners themselves, howsoever large their ill-gotten riches may be, and howsoever fearsome their power may be.
Corrupt political practice is, therefore, poison that destroys the practitioners from within, whether they realise it or not. Honest and service-oriented politics, on the other hand, morally elevates the practitioners and gives them deep personal satisfaction, howsoever agonising the challenges may be along the chosen path. Of course, such politics benefits society, too, in an enduring way, unlike the benefits of corruption-ridden politics that are ephemeral and often counter-productive.