I congratulate all AIPC Fellows who have contributed to the first edition of AIPC’s magazine, Inspire!.
Ever since the inception of AIPC, we have tried to come up with new ideas and initiatives to engage our Fellows and help spread the message of the Indian National Congress to professionals and entrepreneurs. Inspire! is one more step in that direction.
I would like to use this opportunity to reflect on the importance of connecting professionals and entrepreneurs with politics. It is difficult to overstate the need for more expertise and diversity of perspectives in Indian politics. After all, healthy political life should depend on a loop of consistent feedback and course correction. What better way to do this than increasing engagement with India’s professionals, an underrepresented group in our political discourse?
Like cricket, for many Indians, reading about and discussing politics is a national pastime. Many educated professionals deeply care about policy and political issues. Yet, they are too often put off by political mudslinging or fail to find accessible spaces to engage. Expanding this space and reducing the perception of its elusiveness will give way to a national debate that is broader, more nuanced, and more representative. I am confident that Inspire! will be an invaluable asset in AIPC’s work towards this goal.
Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru were both professionals. In fact, the very fabric of modern India and the Indian National Congress have been shaped by professionals. Gandhi’s 25 years as a lawyer prepared him for his life as a satyagrahi. Ambedkar wore many hats as a jurist, economist, and journalist, and Patel, early in his career, built a reputation as an unassailable lawyer.
India requires and wants more than just career politicians. We want to be a nation where concerned citizens with life experience beyond just politics are permitted to play a role in shaping this nation’s political life. We must create a more inclusive polity. Only then will we be able to demand and deliver sound public policy, public goods, and good government. As a political party, the Congress stands to benefit from our engagement with professionals and entrepreneurs.
We are in a battle for the soul of India. The ongoing culture of poor and hasty policymaking, divisive politics, and the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed the vulnerabilities of our systems, economy, and society. We may have to spend years or even decades reckoning with and correcting these missteps. Now, more than ever, we must galvanise professionals to participate and engage in politics. India needs their fresh ideas, dynamism, expertise, and real−world experience to tide over the many challenges that lie ahead. AIPC provides a unique platform to leverage the energy of professionals across the country.
We at AIPC have an exceptionally talented team that I am confident will develop engaging content for all of us to enjoy and benefit from. I am grateful for the Inspire! team’s spirit of volunteerism, the months of dedicated work, and focus on creating a quality product. I hope this inaugural edition heralds the foundation of a vibrant space for exchanging ideas and information.