Owais Ahmad Shah
The subject of democracy is fascinating for scholars and journalists. Reams have been written to unravel the paradox of the country despite so many factors that belie it. The million dollar question of how Indian democracy can scythe its way through troubled times always remains unaddressed.
The kind of challenges India faced in the first two decades after independence would have left any scholar diametrically skeptical about Indian democracy’s success, one such proof positive is “India: The most dangerous decades” written by Selig.S.Harrison in 1960.In it, Harrison warned:”Odds are almost wholly against the survival of freedom….The issue is in fact whether any Indian state can survive at all”. Yet Indian democracy survived, surprising and confounding its critic’s.
The million dollar question of can democracy deliver in the backdrop of what it has promised to the people of India always takes the centre stage.
Democracy might offer the best solution to politics within the system, but how good is it at coping with politics of the system? Does the democratic process, particularly in a post colonial context, have the strategic room to maneuver to reform the political system of which it is a part? What additional resources might India need to repair the ship, while keeping afloat as storm clouds gather on the horizon?
In India, democracy is embraced only as an interest aggregation or accommodation but not as a liberal force that can pace the way for astounding success stories. Such criticism would sumptuously gnaw away at it and ultimately will reduce it to an empty shell.
Democracy is the most cherished and relished ideal of any country. Every citizen of any country has a yearning desire of a free and fair society that allows every individual to have a fair shake of hand in all subjects that form an integral part of this sacred institution. In a country like India, democracy has always been a red-hot subject that takes the centre stage to attain the glory. During the state of fledgling, the state of India saw many theories across. The so-called political masters ,intellectuals held the belief that it was a wild goose chase for a diverse country like India to survive. But this common fallacy was scotched that laid the foundations for a Grand India that not only survived but thrived to regain her past glory.
What led to many astounding success stories of India is her vibrant democracy. The critics of Indian democratic system cannot help conceding the fact that at the seventh decade of India’s independence, India has come a long way.
The stereotyping of Indians as snake-charmers, old fashioned and dyed in the wool traditionalists has been supplanted by Software technocrats, Business tycoons, Top-level professionals at the International level.
India has grown at gallop. Be it self-sufficiency in food production, development, cutting-edge technology, nuclear field, India has attained the feat.
There are two types of optimists who take a hard and a long outlook of the subject of democracy. One type of optimist believes that India is on the course to become one of the greatest and most powerful democracies in the near future.
The other type of optimist carries worry with the system.
The vexed, million-dollar question about the canker that is eating away at the heart of democratic ideals is looming large .Trust of the people in the political system has taken a downfall. The multiple menaces that have crept into the system have set major roadblocks for India to thrive and shine.
Corruption always takes the top seat that contributes to the major setbacks for any country. In the words of Edward Gibbon,” Corruption is the most infallible symptom of the constitutional liberty”. One has to bear it in mind that corruption is universal in nature and not specific to any particular country but the level of public corruption in India has reached gigantic proportions, shaking the foundation’s of liberal democracy. It has spread like a cancer in the entire political system and has cast a long shadow over the entire political system. Laying aside corruption, the recent examples of mob-lynching,Political vendetta, muzzling of independent voices and others also set major challenges for India.
Public accountability, welfare, sustainability and integrity of political class and bureaucracy has sucked into the abysmal conditions. It is not fair enough to condemn the whole political and bureaucratic class. In all fairness, a great number of fine men and women of unquestionable integrity, unfaltering commitment also tower over the horizon. The time is to accept the hard truth rather than trying to brazen it out.
It is a gospel truth that as a result of lopsidedness in the system, the public perception about the political class is at low ebb since independence. Massive scandals have tarnished the reputation of politicians and has corroded people’s faith in democracy. Given these circumstances, one can sum up that.
(The writer is Student at GDC Handwara.)