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Nepotism: Giving Undue Patronage To One's Own relations

Nepotism is a practice associated with the special evil of corruption. Nepotism means favouritism shown towards one's own relatives. According to the dictionary meaning, nepotism refers to giving undue patronage to one's own relations.[1]

Nepotism As Social Evil

Like corruption, nepotism is also a social evil. It is an evil practice in which persons in some public offices bestow patronage on their own relatives in consideration of the family relations and in disregard to merit. In this practice, something is done or undone under the influence of the family relations and in disregard to the accepted norms.

Nepotism due to the New Trend in One's Loyalty?

Favouring one's own relatives or showing favours to one's own kith and kin is not an uncommon practice. It is not a new trend. It represents one of the oldest forms of corruption. Sociological analysis reveals that social bonds and kinship play an important role in corruption. There seems to be a change in the individual's primary commitments or loyalty. Today, family considerations, kinship ties, friendship obligations, caste, religious and parochial loyalties get precedence in public servant's mind.

One's commitment to rules, regulations, laws, values, ideals, morals become secondary. The first obligation of a modern administrator is to his family members, followed by close kin, lineage, or ethnic group. Such ties are more compelling than administrative rules and procedures. [2]

The person in the public office who shows favours to his own kith and kin does not consider his act as a corrupt practice, nor as a deviation from rules, but as family obligation. It appears that nepotism has become widespread today because of this new trend in one's loyalty.

This tendency of nepotism is very much rampant among our administrators, bureaucrats, political leaders and now in film industry of India. In fact, it is connected with power and authority and originates when it is misused. It has become a common thing for our people to expect favours from their relatives who happen to assume public offices or superior position in society.

This explains corrupt actions of many a public servant both at the lower and the higher levels. Hence, men in high and low positions have often indulged in nepotism. Politicians in office, the high-ups in the bureaucracy or officers at lower levels have often been found guilty of nepotism.

Types of Nepotism

  1. Political
    Nepotism is a common accusation in politics when the relative of a powerful figure ascends to similar power seemingly without appropriate qualifications.
  2. Organizational
    Nepotism can also occur within organizations, when a person is employed due to their familial ties. It is generally seen as unethical, both on the part of the employer and employee.
  3. In employment
    Nepotism at work can mean increased opportunity at a job, attaining the job or being paid more than other similarly situated people. Arguments are made both for and against employment granted due to a family connection, which is most common in small, family run businesses. On one hand, nepotism can provide stability and continuity. Critics cite studies that demonstrate decreased morale and commitment from non-related employees, and a generally negative attitude towards superior positions filled through nepotism.
  4. In entertainment
    Outside of national politics, accusations of nepotism are made in instances of prima facie favoritism to relatives under film industry as well.

Some Instances of Nepotism

Recent history of Indian politics and public life gives ample instances of corruption which could be listed under the heading of nepotism. There are chief ministers and ex-chief ministers who have openly shown illegal favours to their own sons, daughters, and wives. There are any numbers of ministers who are protecting their kith and kin who have indulged in immoral and illegal activities, by bestowing on them special favours.

There are vice-chancellors who have abused their power and position in giving appointments to their own children and relatives by denying the same opportunity to the more qualified and meritorious persons. At the bureaucratic level, nepotism is not uncommon. Ministers, judges, police inspectors, company directors, deputy commissioners, college principals, vice Chancellors, and such other persons occupying responsible public offices, are often found to be guilty of nepotism.

Nepotism as a Common Practice

Nepotism today has become a common practice. Nepotism has come to be accepted as a form of prerogative or a privilege inherent in office and the man in office feels himself free to exploit it to his maximum advantage. Like corruption, if not checked at top, it percolates to the lower levels with sanctity. [3]

Evil Effects of Nepotism

  1. Nepotism negates talents, abilities, merits and efficiency.
  2. Practice of nepotism abrogates rules, neglects laws and brushes aside morality.
  3. It damages the activism and enthusiasm of the really talented people who are discriminated against to favour somebody.
  4. It spoils the morale of the people, makes them to give up idealism and commitment to values and induces them to become opportunists.
  5. Nepotism adversely affects the general credibility of the public servants and makes the general masses to become cynics.

Corruption goes hand in hand with nepotism in India. It goes on in government and private jobs both. Nepotism is common in politics, judiciary, and business and in the film industry. It goes on even in religious circles, arts, industry, and other types of organizations.[4]

It is necessary to stop this evil practice. Organized efforts on the part of the people are required to combat nepotism. Strong public opinion is to be created against the practice of nepotism. Modern media should take a leading role in exposing the immoral practice of nepotism. Though it is difficult to root out nepotism, it is possible to control it through collective efforts.

End Notes:
  1. Chambers 20th Century Dictionary [1964]. Page 715
  2. Prof. Ram Ahuja Society in India. Page 403
  3. Kachroo and Kachroo Society in India. Page 415

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Mohd Aqib Aslam

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