Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dissatisfied with Indian Democracy?

I would like to start by recalling a couple of instances –
  •  I was present at a meeting where 2012 pass-outs from the premier educational institutions were present. It was a sort of formal session where “whether India should continue to be a democracy” happened to be discussed.
    A nerdy guy stood up and started to speak of the injustice caused by reservations. (Disclaimer – I am no beneficiary of the quota system and initially wanted to use the word crib here such was the nature of his 5 minute talk). He went on and on claiming the good that will happen if we were ruled by a single person (a polite substitution for Dictator).
  •  In one such casual discussion in office with someone who had returned from abroad, the nature of Indian people was immediately called into question. The person claimed that people overseas were extremely honest and even taxi-drivers were reliable and trustworthy. He expressed his secret wish that we turned away from democracy which would accelerate our rate of development. The place he was drawing his inspiration from was China.
The above are a few of the many such conversations I have been party to and the participants can be easily clubbed into the top 10-15% of our population educationally and perhaps even financially.

It surprises me no end to see people advocating against democracy. That too, when we have had the momentous Arab Spring and Jasmine Revolution in the near past. We have had in our neighborhood (Myanmar), Aung San Suu Kyi be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – for her tireless efforts in freeing Myanmar from the military rule and bringing back the democracy. Alas, her praise-worthy efforts failed to rub on some of the souls here.

It is understandable that everyone wants growth, development but very few think about at what cost? It seems like the meaning and ethos of terms like “Inclusive Growth” or “सबका साथ सबका विकास still hasn't settled upon many. People fail to realize that any other form of government system (apart from democracy) has a lot of risks – primarily being that a particular section of people will be kept away from the benefits  by the person in power. Moreover, there will be no possibility of change and no one can be held accountable for their mistakes like we presently to do in our general/assembly elections.
[All this happens to be present in the IXth standard Social Science book with lucid examples. J]

Even more so, George Bernard Shaw said –
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

And if we happen to believe that our leaders are corrupt, selfish, power-sucking human beings – then we ought to look nowhere but ourselves as those great souls have come from amongst us only. It means that our society has such creatures in such abundance.

In a country like ours with a broken administrative system, I am sure that almost everyone would have been deprived some time or the other of the services which were to be provided by the State. But this sense of wrongness shouldn't sway us into under-estimating the importance of Democracy. The fact that I am able to write this freely and you’re able to read it and can even criticize it if you want – is the beauty of democracy. So value it!