democracy double edge knife

January 29, 2012
By Mousam Shah GOLD, Mumbai, Other
Mousam Shah GOLD, Mumbai, Other
12 articles 0 photos 0 comments

At about this time 62 years back, Nehru's famous 'tryst with destiny' speech heralded the entry of our country to the legion of democracies, having attained freedom after a long and hard fought struggle, with the sacrifices of countless people. At this justifiably proud moment of celebration, if we were to ask this question and try to find a honest and truthful answer to it what would it be? No doubt it has been a boon to varying degrees to everybody who would be reading this and their families, but what about the hundreds of millions of Indians whose hopes and aspirations were never realised, untouched by the purported freedom attained by India? Has democracy not meant the voice of the rich, powerful, 'connected' is heard/represented more than that of its impoverished millions? Has the power of being able to 'vote out' every 5 years the non performing politicians/parties become a joke, with nothing to choose between the devil and deep sea? If we are proud to be the world's largest democracy, should we not be collectively ashamed to be in the bottom of the tables in so many development parameters?
1.Over the decades since independence, we have become a nation run by 'lobbysits'-they have a disproportionate say in bringing in/bringing down governments- be them powerful industrialists, politicians practising caste/religion/region based politics. One thing common amongst them is that they place their interests above the nation's and work feverishly towards attaining it by hook or crook.
2.Even if the country has at its helm of affairs, people of great caliber, unblemished and with unimpeachable personal integrity, why is it that everybody below is into corrupt practises, so blatant that they 'lobby', for the most lucrative ministries and posts and loot and plunder the nation, this goes on under the very noses of our leaders with unimpeachable integrity and percolates to the lowest level of governance.
3.Millions live in conditions of such impoverishment and hunger and poverty and the nation if it had a collective conscience, would have taken it up on a war footing to bring them up to atleast a 'human' level of existence.
True, we may console ourselves, be optimistic that things are changing albeit slowly,and we will be there some day- when is that some day- 250 years from now?, at the pace of change we have seen thus far.
Democracy has meant rights for some at the cost of the majority of its populace, and while responsibilities and duties should have been the other side of the coin, it has conveniently been cast aside.
We are great at lip service- notice the big speeches delivered on the independece eve, from the president and PM, you could record them and play them all over without having to see the next version.
I donot know what is a better alternative, of this I am pretty sure- democracy is a failed experiment for India thus far.
May be we need a 'guided democracy' for some time, may be an altogether new model,which may not even have a parallel.(I am not advocating communism/dictatorship/theocracies/monarchies etc, which have all failed miserably).

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