“Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny; and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom“.
15th August 1947, the day a free India was born, dethroning its captors and thence ending the 2-centuries long unjustified rule of Britain. The struggle, the sacrifice, the resistance which left the British incompetent, gave rise to the Sovereign Republic of India, the world’s largest democracy.
But the question that arises is that even after 73 years of independence does India continue to uphold the very constitution of a democracy? Or has it succumbed to flawed misinterpretations by power satisfying politicians? I believe that the latter holds more truth today.
In a liberal democratic state, people’s power is supreme. It is the citizens who through the voting process choose the Government of the state. But what is the point of this power if the electoral system itself is unsound? The first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system seems to encourage polarization since, in a multi-corner contest, even a low vote share is enough to get you elected. On criminality, the proportion of MPs and MLA’s with criminal cases has been going up steadily, from 12% to 15% to 21% since 2004.
However, no reform has been made to curb the influence of criminals in politics and governance. Also, it is ironic to note that the Indian political system doesn’t prescribe a minimum educational qualification to contest elections in the country. Hence it is quite easy for an uneducated criminal to rise into power and gain control over the governance and rights of people. Is this not unjustified?
Another issue that requires attention is the continued intersection of religion with governance. Indian preamble proclaims India to be a secular country, but are the ideals of secularism being accepted by some political parties, who happen to be at the center of power?
In present governance, the formation of a temple acquires greater importance than Education and Economic reforms. For the vote bank, the policy of appeasement (which was even advocated by the British during their rule in India) is continuously promoted by several politicians. This clearly shows how secular the political system is. Hate crimes, political violence, and multiple riots hold grave evidence of this folly connection between religion and governance.
Besides this, even though democracy provides for fundamental rights and allows the government to pay extra attention to the socially backward classes, but the question now arises is that has reservation, from being the harbinger of welfare for the backward communities, upgraded itself as a tool to gain votes by politicians? Indeed it has. Many decades have passed but the governments did nothing to amend the creamy layer issue. The Supreme court had laid down a general guideline that reservation will not go over 50%, but unfortunately, it has. so what about the general class? What about the opportunities for them?
Not only this but many other important matters are left unquestioned and unanswered.
*Is the freedom of the press existent, or is it an instrument of corruption for image building?
* As a democracy, will the Indian legislature recognize and provide more rights to the LGBT community, or leave it for the judiciary to fight and consider?
*Will there be a day when India gives more budget and importance to education than defense?
Tagore observed that democracy could have full trial only when ambition has been disciplined, greed regulated. Democracy can be never true in a society where greed grows uncontrolled and people are drugged with admiration for power politics.
There is a need for large-scale reformation, for growth and adaptation of liberal and perspective ideologies, for change, to transform India for its better future.