It is by no means perfect, but India is indeed a functioning democracy. The fourth pillar of democracy, our news media, is propping it up, even though there are some cracks in the pillar.
The world’s largest English language newspaper is printed in India. There are hundreds of daily newspapers, printed in a number of languages, expressing all kinds of viewpoints. Newspapers are widely read in India; people like to sit down with their morning cup of tea and go through the daily news.
In the West, newspaper readership is on the decline, and major newspaper chains are struggling just to survive. In India, there is no such recession in the news business.
More and more TV channels keep opening up, even the news radio business is growing rapidly. As long as the news media business is growing, democracy will stay on a very strong, stable foundation.
That said, some of the media outlets are strongly biased. There is very little unbiased reporting, some of the TV channels are just a cacophony of strong opinions voiced very loudly.
However, with such a large number of news outlets, the biases tend to cancel each other out. People may be able to influence some portions of the media using money power, but no one entity can control it all.
Hence different voices, different points of view continue to be heard and there are healthy, and, sometimes, unhealthy debates on a variety of topics.
As long as the Indian media is strong and in good health, we will continue to have a vibrant democracy in India.