All Politics Is But A Stage

With apologies to William Shakespeare [Jaques’ soliloquy from ‘As you like it’] 

There are politicians who are exceptions to what is written below.  Apologies to them too.  But this is the general reality.)


 All politics is but a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

 They have their entries into political parties, and their exits, when another party makes them an offer they cannot refuse.

 And one man in his time plays many parts.

At first he plays the raw, starry-eyed new entrant to the world of politics. Dreaming of someday getting elected so he will be able to ‘serve the people’.

 And then the errand boy to some ‘leader’, waiting for his chance to step up the ladder to his goal.

 And then, slowly becoming accustomed to the realities of politics, he learns to wheel and deal and cultivate influential people.

Then he gets his chance to stand for election. Issues of principles, economics and development fly out the window and are replaced by those of castes, religions and ethnicities.

If elected, he slides into the next stage, that of amassing as much wealth as he can while he can. He realizes that an elected representative is in a position to dispense ‘favours’, and he does so, extracting  much in return as commission.

His influence begins to decline after some years, and he thinks of ways to retain his position. He may ingratiate himself to his party’s High Command, or maybe dig out some dirt on influential party members and threaten to go public if they do not support him.

The very last scene can be played out in either of two way- either he retires gracefully, or- which is more common- he clings to his chair until pushed out by a younger rival politician, and then disappears into oblivion.



  1. This reminded me of Yediyurappa! Each and every point applies to him, more than anybody else! There is no hope of a good politician, that too, with a conscience, in the future, here!

    Well listed definition for an Indian politician!


  2. But Manju, you have left one vital step in between. one that makes the remaining ones imperative. The money the aspirant has to fork out either to the party or to those holding the power in the party for a nomination. And thereby hangs the rest of the story The amount is so huge that he has no other option but to get back his ‘investment’ and so he begins taking bribe and ‘facilitation fees’ and from there it is a snowballing of greed till it devours him or her.


    1. You are absolutely right! The vicious circle of having to pay bribes and then demanding them to recover what one has paid out. Goes on in perpetuity at an increasing rate…….


  3. Manju, Shakespeare’s Sonnet XII says :

    When I do count the clock that tells the time,
    And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
    When I behold the violet past prime,
    And sable curls, all silvered o’er with white;
    When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
    Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
    And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
    Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
    Then of thy beauty do I question make,
    That thou among the wastes of time must go,
    Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
    And die as fast as they see others grow;
    And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
    Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

    This too can inspire some political sonnets as :

    When I do count the clock that tells the time,
    And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
    When pompous politics destroys all of the truth
    That which earlier inspired the common man,
    And now misleads with money the country’s youth,
    And for votes, supports, here, a fatwa, there, a ban;
    Then of thy commitment, do I question make,
    That thou among the deposit losers may go,
    Retire, oh politician, and go for heaven’s sake,
    you cant fool all, and now everone does know;
    And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence,
    Your terrible deeds now being examined under a lens…



  4. I wonder how many start their life in politics with the intention of serving the public. I sometimes think they enter into politics with the sole purpose of amassing wealth without serving the public. At least along the way if they do some service to the community, we could in part forgive them!


    1. I didn’t think of that. 🙂

      Especially in the current scenario, I don’t think many enter political life with the intention of serving the public.

      Though I do personally know a couple of people who did. This was long ago in my college days- and they are still in politics today. Wonder whether or not they have changed….


  5. May be you are missing one point.
    Those who have been in power for lo enough and are seniors do ensure the ticket,chair,loot machine,corruption is passed on to their next Gen.
    Look at any party——they are doing exactly that


  6. don’t apologize to politicians manju. they don’t understand it

    . having said that , let me say this – powerful businessmen become elected to politicians ( tell me which polticians are not business man and which businessmen are not politicans ( elected ) or an ally to politicians \ waiting to come in power .

    politicians serve the people more brickbats – that’s their job !

    and on another note – if you have read the book arthashastra, whose \interpretation would you recommend?



    1. It’s a rotten system. I’m not justifying the way politicians behave. 🙂

      I was thinking about how there don’t seem to be any sincere people in politics at all. Then I thought that even if a person started out with good intentions he would have to conform to the system or get out.

      I have read Arthashastra long ago, but it was a straight translation [Sanskrit-English]. I haven’t read any interpretations, so I’m afraid can’t help you there.

      I refer to Chanakya-Niti occasionally [for Subhaashits]. There is a good translation with explanations by Swami Satyartha Sutra.


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