In a world where leaders' decisions shape societies and nations, the role of a politician holds immense significance. Politicians are the driving force behind policies, legislation, and the changes that impact our daily lives.
If you've envisioned yourself as a changemaker who can influence the direction of your community or country, then the journey to becoming a politician may be the path for you.
In this guide, we'll explore the steps and insights needed to embark on a career in politics, whether you're driven by a passion for public service, a desire to advocate for important causes, or a commitment to shaping a better future for all.
Top Political Science Universities
University of Princeton
London School of Economics and Political Science
University of Cambridge
University of Stanford
What is a Politician?
A politician is an individual who engages in politics, a field concerned with the activities, actions, and policies related to governing and decision-making within a society or government.
Politicians play a crucial role in the functioning of a political system and can be found at various levels of government, from local to national and even international levels.
Their roles and responsibilities can vary depending on their position and the level of government they represent, but some typical roles of politicians include:
- Representation: Politicians are elected or appointed to represent the interests and concerns of their constituents or those who live in their respective constituencies. They are expected to listen to their constituents, understand their needs, and advocate for policies and legislation that align with the wishes of the people they represent.
- Lawmaking: One of the primary functions of politicians, especially those in legislative bodies such as parliaments, congresses, and city councils, is to participate in the creation, modification, and repeal of laws. They propose bills, debate them, and vote on their passage.
- Policy Development: Politicians are often involved in shaping public policy. They may work on committees or in advisory roles to develop policies and strategies to address various issues, such as healthcare, education, economic development, and more.
- Oversight: Politicians in oversight roles, such as members of parliamentary committees or inspector generals, monitor the actions of the government, agencies, and other public entities to ensure accountability, transparency, and compliance with the law.
- Advocacy: Politicians often advocate for specific causes, ideologies, or interests. They may champion social justice, environmental protection, economic growth, or other issues that resonate with their constituents or personal beliefs.
- Negotiation and Diplomacy: Politicians, particularly those in executive positions like mayors, governors, or heads of state, engage in negotiations and diplomacy with other governments and international organizations to advance the interests of their country or region.
- Budgeting and Finance: Elected officials approve budgets and allocate resources to various government programs and services, especially at the local and national levels.
- Communication: Politicians communicate with the public through speeches, press conferences, social media, and other means to inform citizens about government policies, decisions, and activities. Effective communication is crucial for gaining public support and trust.
- Constituent Services: Politicians often support their constituents by helping them navigate government bureaucracy, obtain services, and address individual concerns.
- Campaigning: When seeking re-election or running for a new office, politicians engage in campaign activities such as fundraising, advertising, and canvassing to garner support from voters.
Process to become a Politician
To become a politician, one must embark on a rigorous journey that requires early preparation. Here are the fundamental steps to becoming a politician:
- Education: Aspiring politicians should begin their journey with a solid educational foundation. This typically involves completing their schooling, including the 12th grade, from a recognized educational board.
- Undergraduate Degree: For their undergraduate studies, prospective politicians can pursue a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, Sociology, Economics, Business, or International Relations.
- Postgraduate Education: After obtaining an undergraduate degree, individuals can further their knowledge by pursuing a master's degree in political studies. Additionally, they can seek internships related to politics to gain practical experience.
- Volunteer Work: Candidates should volunteer for social causes, ideally starting during their college years. Volunteering for social campaigns and community initiatives is a common practice.
- Networking: Building a network with established political leaders and parties is essential. This helps aspiring politicians gain insights into the workings of political groups and acquire valuable experience.
- Local Campaigning: Candidates should establish a local presence to kickstart their political careers. This involves campaigning at the grassroots level within their communities.
- Team Formation: As support grows locally, aspiring politicians should expand their efforts to higher levels of government. This often requires forming dedicated teams, which may involve securing funding.
- Election Campaign: Once the steps above are completed, the final phase involves running a comprehensive campaign on behalf of the political party the candidate represents. This includes delivering speeches, making campaign promises, and appealing to voters.
Popular Courses to Become a Politician in India
- Political Science: A degree in Political Science provides a strong foundation in politics, government, and public policy. Many politicians and government officials have backgrounds in Political Science. Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in Political Science are widely available in Indian universities.
- Law: A law background can benefit politicians, especially if they plan to become lawmakers or legal advisors. A Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) followed by a Master of Laws (LL.M) can be an excellent educational path.
- Public Administration: Courses in Public Administration or Public Policy provide insights into the functioning of government institutions and the management of public affairs. Institutions like the Indian Institute of Public Administration offer specialized courses in this field.
- Social Work: Social work programs can prepare individuals for community engagement, volunteer work, and social service, which are crucial aspects of political careers. Social work degrees are available at the bachelor's and master's levels.
- Economics: An understanding of economics can be valuable for politicians dealing with economic policies and financial matters. Studying economics at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels can provide relevant knowledge.
- Journalism and Mass Communication: Effective communication is a crucial skill for politicians. A journalism or mass communication degree can help individuals develop strong communication skills and understand media dynamics.
- International Relations: For those interested in diplomacy or international politics, courses in International Relations can be beneficial. These programs focus on global affairs, foreign policy, and international law.
- Management and Leadership Courses: Leadership and management skills are vital for politicians. Leadership, organizational management, and public speaking courses can enhance these skills.
- Political Leadership Programs: Some institutions and parties offer aspiring politicians specialized leadership programs and workshops. These programs often include mentorship and hands-on training.
- Political Training Institutes: Several political training institutes in India offer programs and workshops on various aspects of politics, including campaign management, political strategy, and public speaking.
Can anyone become a politician?
Yes, anyone who meets the eligibility requirements can pursue a political career. It's more about your passion, dedication, and ability to connect with voters than specific qualifications.
How do I start my political journey?
Begin by joining your community, volunteering, and networking with like-minded individuals. You can then consider running for local office to kickstart your political career.
What's the key to a successful political campaign?
A successful campaign involves a clear and relatable message, strategic fundraising, effective voter outreach, and a well-thought-out campaign plan.
How can I ensure ethical behavior in politics?
Maintain transparency, avoid conflicts of interest, follow campaign finance laws, and be accountable for your actions to uphold ethical standards in politics.