In Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, we saw how the Sith Lord, Sheev Palpatine, became the emperor through his long plot to destroy the Jedi and how he actually succeeds through his famous words: “Execute Order 66”. Those 3 words turned the Jedi’s own army against their former Jedi Generals.
After the destruction of the Jedi Order, Palpatine finally got his wish to rule the galaxy by turning the Republic into the Galactic Empire and later declared himself the Emperor. And the people, particularly the senators, were celebrating this transition, not knowing the dangers it will bring in the future. Padme Amidala perfectly sums it up through the quote: “This is how the liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”
Now, this whole ordeal completely parallels Hitler’s rise to power and the rise of the Nazis, which eventually turned Germany from a weakened democracy (fall of the Weimar Republic) to a violent dictatorship. The Night of the Long Knives, Hitler’s own version of Order 66, saw the purge of Hitler’s former allies, enemies and even civilians to consolidate his position and become Germany’s dictator.
People celebrated this moment because they thought someone would finally change something, unlike the democratic government, and undo the humiliation of The Great World War. Little did they know it would lead to the Great War’s sequel, which would be known as The Great War: Electric Boogaloo, a.k.a. World War 2.
So what does this have anything to do with India’s democracy? The point I’m trying to make is that democracy is flawed, and at times, it can be thrown out the window and be replaced with something worse. India’s democracy has been turbulent ever since its inception in 1947 when the British Raj ended.
In the 1970s, we saw the emergency era and how democracy was hanging by a thin thread. In the 1990s and 2000s, we saw how political turmoil and religious strives had damaged the pillar of democracy in India. But somehow, it managed to survive that and it stood strong against these odds.
However, the past few years have been very different and cruel. In late 2019, the Anti-CAA protests started to gain traction in India. People were in an uproar regarding the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was considered biased and favourable to one side but not the other (the only reason I’m not talking about this in details is that I know I might be biased and also know that both sides of the political spectrum will maul me online. So please think before you call me a part of the problem. You can look through the hyperlinks to know more).
The whole situation escalated when riots broke out in North-East Delhi, which led to the significant loss of lives. And the Government’s inability to sort this out in a more diplomatic way shows a huge disconnect between the government and the protestors.
This isn’t the only time the government has done this sort of blunder. During the farmers’ protest, lack of governmental dialogue with the farmers led to violent clashes and riots between the police and farmers/protestors, which has led to casualties on both sides and shows a huge disconnect.
The government isn’t the only one at fault. Social Media has rub salt into injuries. The battle of Liberals vs Bhakts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., has done tremendous damage to our democracy. We get offended over a joke and drag patriotism or religion into the argument.
People paint the government as fascist and Nazis and preach democracy even though these woke mosquitoes aren’t aware that they use the phones made by the serfs in the faraway fiefdoms and dictatorships. They pretend to be rebels, revolutionaries or activists, but in reality, they’re just consumers.
They believe every info on Whatsapp and consider it a fact without doing proper research or bringing any proof to back up that fact. And this goes on and on. We have bhakts whining against the minority in the name of the majority and we have liberals whining against the majority in the name of the minority. This whole battle not only leaves any conversation, but any dissenting opinion against the two is like North Korea firing nukes at the U.S. unintentionally.
Tolerance is the most focal point of democracy and it is declining over time. The arrest of Munawar Faruqui over alleged jokes of religious deities or the murder of Rinku Sharma who was “killed over some business rivalry” (that’s what the Delhi Police say) (some people pointed out that his murder was primarily a communal one because Sharma was a member of the Ram Mandir Donation Drive). We might never know what really happened.
However, whatever happened to Rinku Sharma, Munawar Faruqui or others shows how our tolerance level has declined in the 21st-century internet age.
Is India truly a democratic country? The answer is no. And this answer applies to every democratic country in the world. The U.S., which is supposed to be the bastion of democracy, had its own turbulent time in 2020 following the George Floyd Protest and Capitol Building Riots, completely shattering the image of the U.S. as the protector of democracy.
Back in the Cold War, the U.S. preached the importance of Democracy and a free world. Yet, they have overthrown regimes that have had communist alignments just to set up their own anti-communist puppets, like in Chile or the Bautista regime in Cuba. The U.K., France, Netherlands and Belgium, who like the U.S., preach democracy in Europe, have done tremendous atrocities under the guise of imperialism in the Congo, India, Indonesia, Algeria, Vietnam and various Asian and African countries.
Russia, a democratic country, is also one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. And North Korea (because they do hold elections but only have one candidate, i.e. Supreme Leader Kim ‘Kardashian’ Jong Un) is a democracy? Don’t make me laugh. It only exists in their name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Pakistan has its own history of rocky democracy because of coups and dictatorships. Hong Kong’s Democracy has been silenced by the Communist Chinese Dragon and has brought its own draconian laws, which have been imposed in mainland China.
The COVID-19, which put a stop to the CAA protests, has become a major challenge for the democracies because people’s voices are being suppressed just so the virus can be contained. The rise of media trials and over sensationalism of certain issues like the Galwan Valley or the Sushant Case, how the media played a huge role in making our society and internet toxic and how people consider fanfictions, conspiracy theories and fake news, especially in Sushant’s case, have brought the worse of people, not to include the profound role of Social Media Trial in the Sushant’s case.
So, if the world’s democracies have been imperfect, how can we say that ours is a true democracy? Democracy is flawed. The system of “For the People, Of the People and By the People” has been challenging globally. It can’t be perfected, but it can be made better if we, the people and the government, work together.
The lack of communication must be cleared and we should try and improve our current issues in society rather than fighting and blaming each other. Democracy is not perfect, but it’s a better form of government than absolute monarchy or complete dictatorship.
India may not be a true democracy, but it is still the largest democracy in the world. We can still protest and criticise the government if they commit any blunders. India’s isn’t going to end up like Venezuela, Belarus, Qatar, Iran, North Korea or Saudi Arabia, thanks to our long-lasting democracy. Whatever turbulence it is going through currently, it will pass. I hope it happens soon.