The Curious Cases of South Asian Politicians

In this screen grab from YouTube, Indian politician Sadhu Yadav speaks at a press conference in Bihar.

If you're 41 years old in 2005, naturally, as it would only make sense, that you would be 46 years of age in 2010, right? Apparently not. Unless we've been getting our math wrong all along, the answer seems to be 49. At least that's what election candidates in the Indian state of Bihar want us to believe.

Election candidates in India appear to be growing younger and older at considerable speed if their personal details are to be believed, reports the BBC.

An election watchdog has called for action to be taken against a few politicians are their ages are falsified in their poll documentation. With no clear indication as to why they would lie about their ages (as no political gain seems to be the reason), candidates have been questioned, with answers still pending.

If you believe the affidavits they submitted to the election authorities, a number of Bihar's politicians have grown younger and older since their last election. For instance, Ajit Kumar Singh from a ruling Janata Dal party was 37 years of age during the 2005 polls, and seems be 37 in 2010. Singh doesn't seem to have aged a day. Similarly, Sadhu Yadav from a Congress party was 44 when contested general elections in 2004, and six years later, he said with utmost confidence: "I am 40." Oh, right.

But does this mean they're disqualified? Probably not. As long as they are above the legal age of 25 to stand in elections, they're possible candidates. Also, no one seems to be complaining about their falsified ages, so no charges have been pressed.

You're probably thinking India's politicians are a tad shady, and you're right. This is bizarre, but probably not as bad as their neighbors, Pakistan.

Pakistani politicians are notoriously falsifying much of their personal biota in order to pass minimum requirements to become parliamentarians. Over 1,100 politicians' university degrees have been investigated, a majority of which have been deemed as "fake."

Shumaila Rana, a Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Pakistan's Punjab province is one such case. After being arrested by the police for stealing two credit cards and then going on a shopping spree with them (and then being caught red handed via CCTV), the governmental recently realized her college degree was fake. Although her political career was short-lived, this adds one more shocking store to what is already a litany of sorts.

When corruption plagues governments like this, how can countries like Pakistan and India move forward?