Of course Indian democracy is questionable

A good thing that has happened due to the recent A Roy fiasco is that people are actively talking about the Indian democracy and how valid it is.  Is India really a democracy?  I think it is a trick question considering that the country has been ruled by a particular family for the past 50 and more years.  So to that extent I really agree to what Roy says that Indian democracy is a myth and actually there is no democracy. We prefer to live in a hallucination conveniently driving ourselves into believing that every five years elections are held and a new government is elected through a democratic process. It doesn’t matter how the government performs and it doesn’t matter how our politicians leave no stone unturned in order to keep a majority of the population backward and illiterate, we keep electing them to power election after election.

We all know what sort of elections are held in the country and especially in the villages and small towns (I guestimate that 80% of our population lives in villages and small towns). So one thing should be clear to us that it is not a democracy in a true sense.  Just today I read on Google news that the son of an SP MLA’s opened fire in a showroom, killing one person.  These incidents are commonplace in our cities, towns and villages because once these people come to power (in fact they don’t even have to come to power if they are local  goons protected by local politicians) they enjoy unparalleled impunity.  Of course such things can happen in any democracy.  But the tragedy in India is that these people get elected again and again by the so-called "mandate".

Nonetheless, it is not even like a banana republic as people like A Roy often accuse it to be. It is a pseudo-democracy, sometimes it seems like a pretense of a democracy, but it is far better than many other countries ruled by  despotic leaders, tribal warlords, communists and dictators. We can say whatever we want to say (at least those who have a voice and the medium). We can openly question and accuse the government and get away with that (although it cannot happen in villages and smaller cities and towns).  People are not executed at one pretense or another.  Of course thousands of tortures and unlawful killings take place in the name of law and order and people responsible for this must be severely punished, no matter what religious or political views they subscribe to.

All in all, despite appalling corruption, disheartening hunger and daunting backwardness, there are ample traces of democracy in our country and we should be thankful for them, and we should protect them at all costs.

Democracy, we have learned, is not an event.  It is not something that just happens.  It gradually takes shape, it gradually grows like a tree.  Sometimes when a tree is growing it doesn’t get sufficient nourishment, it has to face severe storms sometimes and risk uprooting, termites attack sometimes, and sometimes pestilent vines try to suck life out of it. Despite all these odds the tree grows until it is massive and strong.  The same goes for democracy.  Instead of constantly berating it we should strive towards strengthening it.

One thought on “Of course Indian democracy is questionable

  1. Mai Harinder Kaur

    It is the nature of government to be corrupt. Finding an uncorrupt government is about as likely as finding a mouldy Twinkie. Democracy doesn’t change this truth one whit. It only gives us some control over the exact type of corruption that will govern us. (Or perhaps it gives us the illusion of some control.)

    As you know, I am a Canadian currently residing in the USA. This is as true about Canada and the USA as it is about India. We will all just continue to muddle through doing the best we know how.

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