Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is Indian Democracy a Farce?

It all depends on how you define Democracy.

Lets try our hand at various definitions.
Democracy is where people vote, and elect a government.
By this definition we are a resounding success.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, and elect a government.
By this definition we are a reasonable success.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, with knowledge - to elect a government.
By this definition we are at best satisfactory.

Democracy is where people vote without fear, with knowledge, for collective development - to elect a government.
By this definition we are are a failure. (vote for development..? now whats that).

Ok... lets leave this line of argument aside. And flip the question to ask -
What exactly happens in Indian Democracy?

  • Elections are announced routinely (Good!)
  • Political parties field candidates (In UP Elections upward of 20% candidates had criminal backgrounds)
  • People vote and elect govt. - based on what - most recognizable face, caste, whatever? (The present UP Legislative assembly has substantial number of - upward of 40% MLAs - according to some media) with criminal antecedents - this is 'twice' the percentage of Indian Parliament. Media analyses and tells us - the Muslim, Dalit, Brahmin combination worked for the winiing party. Ah!).
  • The ougoing govt. relinquishes control (destory files - all there is to hide in govt. departments - yes thats what a SP minister in outgoing UP govt. was doing)
  • Chief Minister is sworn and Administration Begins (100 Bureaucrats are transferred within hours of swearing in ceremony - yes thats what Mayawati did. Cabinet berths are alloted .. no not to the most deserving.. but to balance the caste equations).
So what important questions never come up in most Elections?
  • Why do the city Roads look like the surface of the moon?
  • Why does India have one of the highest taxes in the world, and poorest infrastrcture?
  • Where will the power requirements of coming years be met from?
  • Why is it that 1/5th of humanity, satisfied with 0 Gold, 0 Silver, 0 Bronze at Olympics.
  • Why Corrupt/Criminal Candidates are standing in the elections?
  • Why is Primary Education so bad in our country?
  • Why do most Govt. Hospitals stink - and it is often considered even dangerous to go there?
  • Why is it that Indian Police perceived to be among the most corrupt in the world?
So, Indian Democracy has all the trappings of a functional Democracy. But just scratch the surface - and what you see is a big charade or a pseudo-democracy.


At 1:05 AM, Blogger Musings on India said...

fully agree with the views here. i somehow dont understand how constitutional is to have criminal as politicians? i dont think i can ever understand any argument rather WANT to. a murderer should not be allowed to be a politician. is there any regulation that stops the EC from ensuring this?

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Shruti said...

hmm,the biggest drawback of indian democracy that people dont have fighting spirits. They always find a subsitute to avoid the problem rather than finishing it...

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Pijush said...

Very Good post, something like Aparichita cinema, I started liking your blog. Tell me one thing, what can you and me do for India, can a individual change the democracy, what are you aiming to do in order to bring some changes in this country?

At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

USA is no better. The percentage of citizens going to polls hovers around 50%. The media is used for ads and sound-bites (mostly lies) to attack people (rivals) contesting elections. The congressmen take bribes from corporations to make laws that favor corporations. The third party candidates are kept out of any meaningful debate even though their issues resonate most with the citizens.

According to people like Noam Chomsky & Ralph Nader, a healthy functional democracy requires:
1. constant and continuous participation by its citizens. (our duty begins after we cast that vote and doesn't end with it.)
2. independent watch-dogs and observers who report on what the government is doing.

When we have (more of) these two, the democracy will become healthy too.


At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we cant call democracy in india a farce........ we might not be 100% successful as a democracy but still our public has the power to remove those who are wrong.... the only flaw in our democractic system is the inclusion of criminals.... but sorry to say this but this is only because of u and me, as none of us putting down his/her comments out here is ready to jump into politics.... none of us are ready to take the initiative to clean the system... we all are great critics but none of us is courageous enough to work toward removing those anomalies and therefore none of us have the right to speak against the indian democracy and the indian system...


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