Recently, two reports were published.
Firstly, the Pew Report states that over 50% Indians believe that an autocracy or military rule would be good for the country.
Secondly, the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer states that there is an overall decline in the trust among Indians about their institutions (governments, courts, legislature and media) as compared to previous year.
If we go through both the surveys, we’ll probably find that the number of people who participate in the survey are very less compared to the population of India. However, these reports coupled with many factors like the increase in the use of NOTA in recently-held elections shows the growing distrust among voters towards their political leaders. The increasing number of agitations across the country also show that the citizens of the world’s largest democracy have started losing faith in their institutions. I am not saying that they have totally lost faith in these institutions, but they have started doing so – and it’s a matter of concern for the world’s largest democracy.
After reading these reports, a very basic question struck my mind. What is making the citizens of this country behave in such a manner?
I believe that there are many reasons behind this.
1. The most important reason, in my opinion, is the failure of successive governments (the central or the state government) to fulfill the aspirations of people in terms of employment, quality education, basic human needs or the overall development of nation. According to a report, 31 million unemployed Indians were seeking jobs by the end of February, 2018.
2. The rapidly-surfacing large number of corruption cases involving the so-called elite class (political leaders, rich business houses, etc.) and the failure of the government to effectively deal with these cases in the interest of nation. A looting pattern has developed and crony capitalism has hit the country. One who is influential gets the maximum benefits by violating norms, and they are always finding ways to escape from the clutches of law. It looks as though norms and rules have been made for the common masses only.
3. The functioning of the opposition have always raised questions about its credibility. The political system of independent India fails to fulfill the aspirations of the common man. People who enter the domain of electoral politics often desire to gain power. Often, they work not for the sake of nation, but for their self interest. Just to fulfill their desires, they make fake promises to the general public, raising their hopes and aspirations. But these are all forgotten once they come to power.
4. Lastly, the popular opinion in the minds of the masses is that only two major political parties are going to come to power alternatively. This has majorly resulted in the lackadaisical, unconcerned and hopeless attitude of the common people.
For me, revolution is the need of the hour. This revolution will come around by introducing a culture of justification. Every individual, whether it is a government official, political leader or any common person, must justify their actions – and this justification has to be in the interest of the nation, not self-interest. Saying this is easy compared to implementing this on ground.
For making this a reality, constitutional reforms are needed. Our Constitution talks about three pillars of democracy – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. All the three organs are supposed to keep a check on and balance each other.
However, practically speaking, we find a lack of accountability in these organs, mainly because of nexus between the three. The executive often lies in the hands of legislators – and thus, its accountability towards the legislators ends here. However, retired judges of constitutional courts are often appointed to various posts by the executive. Thus, these judges often lack the will to act strictly against the executive.
In my opinion, it’s time to have a discussion on constitutional reforms which will, in itself, include electoral reforms, while also completely separating the three organs of democracy. Higher the post, higher will be the responsibility. Accordingly, the punishment for a person committing wrong while holding a high post must also be severe. For every action, every official must provide reasonable justification If they fail, the appropriate punishment should be given to such officials. The same principle of justification should also apply to media houses. If any media house runs fake news, they must be held liable for the same. Only then will citizens regain and retain their faith in the institutions.
Lastly, I would like to share one of my thoughts. I have always wondered why freedom fighters sacrificed their life during the British era. Was it to get freedom only from the British or also from their policies of loot and suppression? Just think about it once.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.