Weak Opposition, Polarised Country: Is India Really Democratic?

Posted by Hitesh Reddy in Politics
March 31, 2017

India is emerging as a global leader in global economic stability perspective but there is always a lapse in the study of science and technology in the country. I think it’s the people’s mindset that pulls us back. We never question before believing something, half of the people supporting Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill don’t have any clue of it’s implications on our economy and how this decision will affect everyday life and business.

Many Indians are criticising Americans, more so the Republicans, for voting Donald J Trump to power. What have we done is similar. Modi is no better than Trump, but we never agree to this.

As far as their lifestyle is concerned, majority of the Indians think, “this is how I live. My way of life is the right way of living. The others should live the way I do.”

Many problems in India arise from this attitude. Many believe they have an idea what a good and moral life is, and that their way of life is so morally sound that they have the prerogative to impose it on others.

If we changed our attitude to “live and let live,” we would solve many social problems. However, most Indians tend to believe that their lifestyle, deriving its strength from ‘Indianness’, is morally superior. We believe it is our duty to safeguard our lifestyle by imposing it on others and ‘correcting’ others.

We lack the maturity to deal with contradictory views and behaviours. We want everyone to be like us – we want everyone to eat vegetables and shun nude portraits of women and nude statues of goddesses. We want people to have sex only when it has been legitimised under marriage.

If anyone thinks differently, a ban is called on their behaviour. Banning beef is one of the best examples of this. I am a Hindu and I don’t eat beef but, that doesn’t give me any right to stop my friend from eating beef. It’s their choice to eat what they wants.

So, we can’t think what we want, we can’t speak what we want, we can’t do what we want and we can’t even eat what we want and we are the world’s largest democracy. I fail to understand what the government is trying to do and how majority of the Indians have supported the present leaders.

When I talked to one of my friends about this, he said, “we Hindus have to support this historic decision and stand with BJP, it’s pro-Hindu and if we don’t support the party, who else will?” I was shocked by his words and replied, “R.I.P. secularism.”

People are extremely divided in India. Normally, if two people fight the fight is limited between them, but In India, if they belong two different religions it will become a fight between two religions. If they happen to be of the same religion then it (the fight) turns into a one between two castes or two regions.

India – world’s largest democracy. Really, can you believe this?

People in India are lynched, murdered, at the slightest suspicion of killing a cow, considered a holy animal by the Hindus.

Wikipedia defines democracy as, “a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally – either directly or, through elected representatives, indirectly in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.”

If we were to strictly follow the definition, India is a beautiful vibrant democracy because we see periodic elections that mobilise 800 million voters! Every single person has a say in the governance and every single person can change their representatives.
So, don’t worry yet, India still is a democracy.

Let’s see each of the Constitutional fundamentals fare in reality:

  • We are sovereign from foreign rule but are still slaves of poverty.
  • We are socialist but we still have Antilla (Ambani’s own Burj Khalifa) and Asia’s largest slum (Dharavi) just 15 kilometres apart.
  • We are secular but leaders still depend on minority/majority vote banks, the people have minority phobia, reservation phobia, backwards class phobia.
  • We are a democratic republic but we can still be jailed for humorous cartoon or Facebook comments.

Now let’s look at Constitutional assurances:

  • JUSTICE: There are two levels of justice, normal for the common man but a celebrity or a VVIP hardly gets convicted. About 162 (out of 542) parliamentarians have criminal charges against them.
  • EQUALITY: Disparity is glaring, Indians have made debut in Forbes Billionaire’s List, but also have poverty levels of ₹32 per day for the urban area & corresponding ₹26 for the rural areas.
  • LIBERTY: West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, jailed a professor from Jadavpur University over his Facebook post of a cartoon making fun of her. She herself got away without legal action despite a public remark stating that a talk show panelist was involved in pornography.
  • FRATERNITY: Fail to understand the creation of more States based on linguistic/caste basis, the different applicability of Law for J&K state, appeasement of minority, the prevalence of fundamentalist groups of the majority community.

The media highlights Bollywood gossips and masala (“spicy”) news all day but mentions nothing about the important things above. Politicians are competing with each other to loot real estate deals. A CM is busy digging the education history of the PM as if that is the most important issue for the people of the nation.

We expect India to become a developed nation by 2020, we fools. If we don’t correct these structural problems right now, we will learn to correct it the hard way like Syria, Iraq etc. are doing.

We don’t have an ideal Opposition. The Opposition’s role and responsibility is to stand as the people’s voice, and question the government when something goes wrong while supporting healthy governance.

NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 8: TMC MPs protest against 3 months of demonetization near Gandhi Statue before attending the Parliament Budget Session on February 8, 2017 in New Delhi, India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke against corruption and black money during his reply to the debate on motion of thanks to President?s address in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Defending demonetisation, Modi said that the government?s fight against corruption is not political.
TMC MPs protest against 3 months of demonetization near Gandhi Statue before attending the Parliament Budget Session on February 8, 2017. (Photo courtesy: Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

It was January 2014, the Congress-led UPA government had announced that all currency notes issued before 2005 would be withdrawn by March 31, to be exchanged for new notes with more safety features. The BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi had ripped into then Finance Minister P Chidambaram calling the policy “Anti-Poor”. Isn’t BJP demonetising ₹500 and ₹1000 notes the same as what Congress tried to do? Hypocrisy at its best. As it’s BJP’s decision, it suddenly became pro-poor?

Congress is no better as an Opposition. When we can’t have proper Opposition, what is the purpose of having parties pulling each other’s legs? I think it’s better to have a fascist government, with one party rule.

I think the nation needs more leaders like Manik Sarkar, who has worked as CM of Tripura for four consecutive terms and still doesn’t have his own home, living a life dependent on CPI’s subsistence allowance of ₹5,000 per month. India needs leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri and Puchalapalli Sundarayya, neither Modi or Rahul Gandhi.