Democracy Has Existed For 2500 Years But How Long Will It Survive In India?

All of us are familiar with the most favourable form of government called ‘democracy’, which prevails in most countries in modern times. Since its inception in ancient Greece, several hundreds of years ago, it has continued to exist in this modern era popularly, although a lot has changed in its modern variation.

Since its inception in ancient Greece hundreds of years ago, democracy has continued to exist in this modern era popularly.

Moreover, ‘democracy’ is the only political idea whose completion of 2500 years was popularly celebrated all over the world in 1992.

The emergence of modern democracy can again be traced to the West, in the aftermath of the Civil War in Britain, in the seventeenth century.

With the industrial revolutions and political revolutions in the eighteenth century, more countries such as France and America succeeded in attaining this popular form of government.

Well, in the aftermath of World War I, in order to bring peace and prevent war further, world leaders started promoting the ideals of democracy across the globe.

Unfortunately, with the rise of Fascism and Nazism, a devastating war broke out again in Europe in 1939, later spreading in almost all major countries of the world.

India, then a British colony also had to participate in the great war. However, finally, it attained independence from the British, and eventually, emerged as a sovereign, democratic, and republic nation.

As such, the period of decolonisation saw many newly independent nations in Asia and Africa emerging democratic.

Democracy After 1947: India

With India’s independence, our leaders of the freedom struggle envisaged an idea of inclusive India – a country for all, irrespective of faith, caste, creed, class, etc. and wrote a constitution, incorporating the best ideals of the constitutions of over 30 countries.

Many had then opined that this democracy wouldn’t survive, keeping in mind the diverse populace in the country. But, today, even after seventy years, we, the 133 crore Indians, are proud to boast ourselves as the largest democracy of the world.

India has always stood united, setting a perfect synonym for ‘unity-in-diversity’. For this, it’s never enough to recall that India, where we are proud to live in, is because of the contributions and sacrifices of scores of men and women of a different faith, sects, caste, creed, etc. who all named their lives for the country.

Moreover, independent India, under the first Prime-ministership of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, rightly paved India towards a successful democracy in its initial decades. Nehru’s domestic and foreign policies, both, including the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) placed India in a new independent order.

Perhaps, these were what sustained India’s democracy in its very years, unlike in other countries, such as Pakistan or Sri Lanka, wherein in a very short span of time, democracy saw its worst resulted by military coups and alike.

History Of India’s Crumbling Democratic Crises

However, India’s democracy has also undergone crucial phases in the past decades. For instance – during Indira Gandhi’s regime, clashes between the government and the judiciary saw great heights.

The emergency years marked various unfavourable instances and unfortunate sufferings across the country.

But, eventually, judicial interventions, time and again, have strengthened the democratic and constitutional fabric of the nation. Notwithstanding, the emergency years marked various unfavourable instances and unfortunate sufferings across the country, which had then, certainly undermined the democratic values and left scars in the political history of India.

As it is known, a major drawback that appears in a democratic government is when a single majority party comes in power and forms the government. They get the power to bring any law or regulation, which many a time, may not be favourable to its own people.

For instance – among many of the laws and amendments brought by Indira Gandhi’s legislature, the exercise of power arbitrarily sought in aiming certain political interests. Fortunately, the judiciary successfully overruled many of those legislations.

Subsequently, in the later period of post-cold war and unipolar world order, democracies saw binding with each other: be it in economic or political aspects, through international organisations creating a new order in the world democracy.

Under the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime, formed by the thumping majority, we are witnessing an unfavourable scenario in India’s polity.

It seems, as believed by the liberal political philosophers, that the nations which are democratic are more likely to progress and flourish in the global village.

But, yet again, at the domestic front, under the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime, formed by the thumping majority, we are witnessing an unfavourable scenario in India’s polity.

All of this is happening at a time when the economy is undergoing a regressive slowdown, legislations such as a religion-based Citizenship (Amendment) Act and nationwide NRC create a hue and cry amongst the common masses.

For the first time, the religious parameters of the legislation have left questions on the table of the apex court to test its constitutionality. And as far as the state of Assam is concerned, the CAA violating the historic Assam Accord has to meet serious judicial intervention.

Also, under Modi’s regime, there has been a rise in the political ideology of Hindutva, across the nation. It remains to be seen how long India’s democracy and constitutional ideals will sustain.

Well, as of now, it is high time the other pillars of the democracy – judiciary and the press – serve their independent and unbiased positions.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below