Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Democracy needs to be redifined in India

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By Indranil Banerjea

 Sometimes when I am in a soothing vale of delicious indolence, when I have a temporary relief from the routine and stereo-typed affairs of life, I go on thinking about the fate of our democracy. I am proud of the fact that at least when I am free I think of my nation. But our power lords, who have been saddled especially for the purpose of taking care of the interests of this motherland, do nothing of the sort. They are adamant on damaging it instead. Certain questions crop up in my mind in regard to the standard and austerity of democracy that our country claims to be ruled by. Is ours a 24-carat pure democracy? Don’t we make a mockery of it when we commit a series of unpardonable sins and crimes? Doesn’t the blood of slavery still run in the veins of our democracy? If this democracy is corrupted, who is responsible for it?

Are our people serious about the rehabilitation of the original democratic structure? As far as my knowledge goes, democracy is “By the people, for the people and of the people”. Now, ours is the second largest population of the world and we are a democratic nation. So in that regards we can claim that, ours is the largest democracy of the world as the other competitor in demography; China, is a Communist country. Till date, in the enlightened century of twenty-first, there are many countries that are governed by different modes and manners. There are Kingdoms-ruled by the kings and queens; the whole country belongs to one family and whatever the one person says and does is always final. Everyone of that country is at the mercy of one person. There are countries ruled by the Communists.

In this system, the country is governed only by one political party. The members of that Communist party elect their leader and then he has the absolute power to rule. He can do or not do anything that he thinks fit. In my opinion, that system is the dictatorship of the party leader and far away from anything to do with “for the people and by the people”. Now, there are countries that are ruled by military Junta. That is another form of dictatorship. It is the same, in a way, with the Kingdoms and communist ruled countries. Some of the Kingdoms have a system where the democratically elected Governments usually are solely responsible and empowered to rule and the Kings and Queens are just symbolic; like the United Kingdom.

This type of democracy is usually known as Westminster type of democracy-because this is reported to have been invented by the parliament in the UK, which is situated in an area in London that is known as Westminster. The democracy that is followed by the Communist countries is known as “Democratic Communism” as was invented by our late Comrade Joyti Basu. An ignorant person like me has never understood this, as communism and democracy are diametrically opposed ideologies. It is almost like trying to mix water and oil together.

If I say that, that theory of Basu was nothing but hypocrisy; my communist friends will be up in arms. We have adopted a Westminster type of democracy. But again we have no King or Queen. We have had hundreds of kings and we have already done away with them. So we have now the President, who is elected not by the people but by the elected legislators; and then he usually be elected by the party who has the majority legislator in his favour. This is so much complicated a system that I have never understood; but again, I need to have some grey matter in brain which I think is in short supply. But when I think it is “by the people and for the people”, I start getting confused.

Some of the truly democratic countries of the world that I have read about have a different scenario. Most of the inhabitants of those countries are highly educated and fully understand the meaning of democracy and the right of the people who live in that set-up. So, when they cast their ballot paper they are fully conscious about whom they are voting for. They fully know that in a democratic system they can choose a person whom they think most suitable to be their representative in the law making house. Laws made in the legislative houses govern the whole masses of the country. Now, in the largest democracy of the world how many people are actually educated? We are told that, even after 65- years of independence almost 50 per cent of our population cannot read or write. Now, a person who is totally ignorant, how will he understand who will genuinely work for him?

Another problem is that, in the developed democratic countries; means, in the countries where most people have more grey matter; I mean, the people with proper education, usually make sure that they exercise their right of votes in well-planned and judicious manner. But, in my country it happens quite on the contrary. The educated ones mostly feel that “going to the booths for casting votes” is a waste of time. For most of them that day is a holiday; which means to go for a picnic with family in a flashy car. For them, politics is a dirty thing and the politicians are corrupt.

I fully cannot blame them, as India is very high in the list of the countries where most of the corruption takes place and this corruption trickles down to the ordinary level through the corrupted politicians. Now, I fail to understand, if the educated and wise people shy away from the arena of politics then who should fill up the blanks? Then the system is likely to fall into the cobweb of those who are criminals, who have no sense of responsibility to the electorates, who only want to make money through political power, who will like to orchestrate old scams like Bofors, fodder scams, recent as 2G scams and many other scams that have given plenty retired Justices jobs. The small numbers of educated and wise people of our motherland do not want to be politicians and also do not wish to vote. So, this Herculean task to maintain our largest democracy on the planet earth has fallen into the hands of a majority of illiterate and semi-literate politicians elected by the same voters. None of these two groups understand the meaning of democracy (by the people and for the people). Now, the law of nature is, nothing can remain void. So, if the educated and wise do not like to take care of our motherland and the democracy then hypocrisy must fill the blanks and the whole society suffers from the ill effects of the hypocrites and not by the democrats. Once we are engulfed by the hypocritical rules we must prepare to dispense with democratic rules and norms. We must prepare to be ruled by one family and its descendants, the power hungry money oriented politicians, unscrupulous government servants and the hooligans. That is where our destiny lies. In our country the voters have dwindled from a power source to a mere commodity to be put to auction during elections. INAV

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