Beyond the Horizon
By Pradeep Kumar
Is Democratic India a Fallacy?
By Nisha Samson
“For 66 years and 9 months, democracy has been a filthy word in India. We’re a country that’s crippled by corruption, plagued by illiteracy, ravaged by poverty, torn apart in political scandals, and of course, scams seem to be falling out of the woodwork. However, there’s a greater evil at work here. We may like to cry ourselves hoarse calling India the largest democracy in the world, but if we take a closer look at the Indian political system, we realise that we have an imperialistic rule. Dynasty politics is just one of the many woes that bleed this country dry.
“For a large part, democracy is a mere joke. So why do we choose to call India a democracy? It comes down to the fact that India has a multi-party electoral system, which allows Indians to go out there and vote their leaders into power. However, shouldn’t the follow-through of electoral promises give India her democratic status as opposed to just allowing her citizens to vote?
Technically, India is a democracy, but we’re far from a functioning one. In fact, based on facts and statistics that involve corruption figures, the level of poverty and illiteracy, it’s safe to call India a failed democracy. The Indian elections is what gives this country hope, but it’s what happens after that that will determine if we’re going to start becoming a successful working democracy or remain in the same rut”. (Courtesy: MensXP)
The United States of America is known as the greatest democracy on the earth and India the largest one. But why is a million dollar question? There are numerous examples as to why the USA is the greatest democracy.
Bill Clinton, who served as 42nd president during 11.01.1983 to 12.12.1992, before serving as governor of Arkansas during 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992, and followed centrist “Third Way” political philosophy, had left office with highest end-of-office approval rating of any USA president since World War -II.
George Walker Bush had served as 43rd president during 20.01.2001 to 20.01.2009, besides as 46th governor of Texas during 1995 to 2000.
Barack Hussein Obama II, an American attorney served as 44th president during 20.01.2009 to 20.01.2017 and also served as a senator of Illinois and a member of Illinois State Senate.
The trio were most powerful leaders of the world during their tenures, but are now leading normal life like any other American. Strange but that is American democracy.
Intriguingly, the common adage – “Everything is fare in love and was and politics,” the last word added by Indian politicians. Many elected leaders after the tenure are provided with high security coverage and call the shots as usual as if still in power. That is Indian democracy.
However, said former Lok Sabha Secretary-General Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap, associated with the Parliament for over 37 years right from Nehru to Mavalankar time and authored 100 books in English and Hindi, once told this editor that Indian democracy has to reinvent itself to gain the confidence of the masses.
Responding to question as to why Indian masses have lost faith in the system, in his candid reply, he had said: Though this is a very fundamental question which has no short reply, but, “the representative legitimacy of the representatives of this democracy is in doubt. Democracy is facing many challenges; the worst is nothing could be more tragic than the masses losing faith in their representatives. There is of course a way out for the democracy to reinvent itself to win the confidence of the masses”.
“The need of the hour is fundamental systemic changes, not from democratic form to presidential form, but to regain the faith make the masses the real masters,” he had said without mincing any words.
Those struggled for independence their resolutions favoured to adopt British system, institutions and education, but what India inherited is the colonial system the Britishers had evolved to rule India. The British parliamentary system has 12 main characteristics and none is applied to Indian democracy. The first fallacy is that the vulnerable founding fathers of our system accepted it and it continues till date, he reasoned. This means we defied and defaced the western concept of democracy.
“We don’t have a sovereign democratic republic in real sense. The rulers still are masters and ruled are subjects, where as in a sovereign democratic republic, the people are real masters.
“The people rule over them through their representatives, which is not true in India, as those elected are not their true representatives,” he had said. The promise of democracy is flawed as the White masters transferred power to the Brown masters and the slaves remained slaves in the slums and in remote rural India without feeling the glory of transfer power to become independent and true citizens, he argued.
“The slaves like what their masters do, eat and wear, after independence the middle class Indians are taking pride in their British style living and education instead of in mother tongue,” he said to drive home his point.
Those who struggled against slavery, they were not against slavery but wanted to take the place of the masters and have succeeded in doing so and that is democratic system in operation in India, said Dr Kashyap, who was honourary constitutional adviser to Gov of India on PRI laws besides heading many national and international bodies.
When his attention was drawn to money and muscle free elections in Mizoram dictated by Young Mizo Association supported by the powerful missionary groups, he admitted that that state is a role model in the entire nation and could serve as panacea to present ills of our democratic system.