Incumbency Factor in Global Politics

Incumbency factor plays a crucial role in politics. A party, a group, a community or a nation had to pay the price for ruling a particular region, country or a large part of the world for too long. In democracy we are very much familiar with this terminology.

Written by


Published on

Incumbency factor plays a crucial role in politics. A party, a group, a community or a nation had to pay the price for ruling a particular region, country or a large part of the world for too long. In democracy we are very much familiar with this terminology.
A close analysis of the Medieval history would reveal how the incumbency factor is working against the Muslims, who were virtually the global masters for about 1,000 years. While the good work done by them was silently adopted by the successive powers – European nations in this context – what was left to highlight about them was their negative aspects. No nation – not just the rulers – can remain world power for so long without having great qualities and achievements. But they all are being simply ignored, forgotten or cunningly absorbed by the West later on.
True, Muslim rulers were not epitome of virtue as most of them had little to do with Islam – which in fact does not have any place for monarchy – yet objective historians (their number is very small) still feel that barring a few they were much more scholarly, talented, open-minded and liberal than their counterparts elsewhere in the world. Take the example of England. It cannot boast of even a couple of capable kings or queens in 700 to 800 years of history. Save Richard-I they cannot boast the name of anyone for heroism or any noble act. You cannot find any single king in the world who like Aurangzeb, Nasiruddin Mahmood and several others, earned their livelihood by sheer hard work – working as calligraphers, artisans etc. Yet in the last 300 years – Aurangzeb died in 1707 – he is, thank to the British historians, the most malign of all the emperors in Indian history. This notwithstanding the fact that Aurangzeb did nothing unusual during his rule. He fought for his empire as emperors often do. Not a single case of massacre or large scale loot and pillaging can be cited during his 49 years old rule. The only move for what he is pilloried is that he imposed jizya and suppressed the rebellious Marathas and Sikhs. Monarchs – or for that matter any other government – are supposed to crush any revolt. In that way Aurangzeb was nothing more or nothing less.
In contrast we have a king in Russia, who is called Ivan The Terrible – also known as monster – as he had not only terrorised his subjects but his own family members, principal advisors, etc. – killing a son and other close relatives. Russia had in the 18th century at least four eccentric queens. One of them Anna (1730-40) used to enjoy the torture of people. “She once had two midgets married and than presumably for fun had them frozen to death in an ice palace.” (See John Gunther’s book Inside Russia). You would not find such queens in the entire Muslim history. Various Russian Czars and Czarinas are known for all their demented acts.
There is no dearth of kings and queens of France, Austria-Hungary, England, etc. who were known for sheer madness and gruesome acts. In the 13th and 14th centuries and even later England had several virtual beasts as their Kings. These European kings were notorious for burning people at stakes and throttle their pursuit for knowledge. Yet unlike in the Muslim world kings were considered the representatives of God in the Christian world. After the monarchs came the monstrous dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, etc. They had the credit of massacring crores of people during their reign.
The barbarism of British, Belgians, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Dutch colonists had few parallels in the world. Yet they all had been forgotten and buried deep in history. Even in Mongolia and China, emperors were notorious for their unparalleled brutality and terrible acts. Who can forget Changiz Khan – he was not a Muslim.
True, we had our own quota of Nadir Shah, Taimur, etc. but their barbarity can never match that of the other emperors of the world. Be it in India, Persia, Turkey or Central Asia one cannot cite any Muslim ruler who burnt people at stake simply for pursuing knowledge as it happened in Europe till 200 to 300 years ago. Even the later Mughal emperors – known for all their luxurious and corrupt life-style – never opposed new thoughts and ideas as many biased historians would like us to believe. Bahadur Shah Zafar had all the disqualification yet there is no denying the fact that he was a great scholar who spoke five languages at a time. Most Mughal queens and princesses were great writers and intellectuals.
The moot point here in the article is not to explain to the world in a childish way that ‘look our kings and queens were better than your kings and queens’. What needs to be discussed is that notwithstanding relatively better record the Muslim monarchs are the most maligned species in the modern world. Not only that faults are picked in everything which the Muslims – as a society – did in the last so many centuries.
This is the price which a community or nation had to pay for being a world ruler. The incumbency factor gets prolonged in case of Muslims because the West still thinks that there is a potential of their bouncing back to the world stage.
This phenomenon of incumbency factor can be understood from Indian examples. In democratic Bihar, for instance, Shri Krishna Sinha, ruled for the first 14 years after independence. But since 1961 till date, though the state had more than two dozen chief ministers of all castes it does not have another Bhumihar occupying that chair. The incumbency factor is loaded so much against them that even during the Mandal era –when the upper castes got united – no prominent Bhumihar could emerge as the state level leader. All the other castes get ganged up against them.
The same holds true with the Brahmins in many places, for example, Tamil Nadu. Yadavs in Bihar and to some extent in Uttar Pradesh too are paying the price for being a ruling or dominating caste for too long in the recent past. The posterity remembers them more for their wrong acts and much less for their positive contributions to the society. This notwithstanding the fact that – unlike in the case of Muslims, who were brutally replaced by the European powers – they were succeeded by the same set of Indian population and with the help of ballots.
The examples of Muslims in the larger context or of Bhumihars, Brahmins, Yadavs in much smaller frame, are reminders for the present powers of the world. Once they will be disempowered from the world stage – every civilization had its high and low – the future generations would judge them very ruthlessly. They would not be known for the better contribution to the society. After all who eulogises the achievements made in the field of science, technology, battlefields, etc. by the Soviet Union, which collapsed as late as 1990.