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Is Democracy really dead in India?

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This is the biggest sweeping statement of the century according to me.

If a barrage of accusations do not work you make a sweeping statement- expecting to sweep the opinion of the world at large in one shot. A sweeping statement could be defined as ‘To make a statement which applies to all things of a particular kind, although no one has considered all the relevant facts carefully.’ Sweeping statement is more of a generalized statement, may be off the cuff or even a loose statement.

First thing first- if in a democracy anyone can say in TV debates, write editorial articles or shout in Dharana platforms that democracy is dead and you are still alive and thriving itself proves that democracy is not dead! If on Republic day- when Indian armed forces are proudly marching on Rajpath and the world is watching us – just a few miles away from this national celebration- a few thousand farmers take some flag other than the national flag, hijack the red fort, symbol of our democracy, and hoist it there and are not shot dead and, come back alive-injuring hundreds of police men in uniform- on duty that means democracy is not dead. One of the agitators driving a tractor at breakneck speed cannot control the vehicle and meets with a fatal accident and a senior journalist announces in his tweet that the farmer has been shot dead by police/security forces and farmers say this sacrifice will not go in vain and makes enough international sensation with a blatant lie and yet walks free.

After all what is democracy?

It is a common value shared by the entire world. It is a right for all nations, not a prerogative reserved for a few. Democracy takes different formats, nuances and there is no one-size-fits-all model that can be defined. It will therefore be ‘undemocratic’ to measure the diverse political systems and practices in the world with a single yardstick or examine different political civilizations from a single perspective.

Democracy can only be examined undemocratically-technically speaking.

It also means that the political system of governance of people of a nation state should be decided by its own people.  Yet in a complex and ever changing power equations and national interest which should be limited to your own interest, nations love poking their nose in others affairs. Actually it is in their national interest to poke nose in other’s national interest.

For instance the US so called the most powerful and developed nation, despite the structural flaws and practices with several fault lines in its own democratic system, always claims to be  a “model of democracy” a beacon of freedom. Of course it feels that its national interest lies in keeping other nations in check or worse keep them unstable politically- making them look undemocratic- voila! Therefore it has regularly interfered in other countries’ internal affairs and waged wars under the guise of “democracy”, creating regional turbulence and humanitarian disasters as if in a boiling pot.  

Democracy is a manifestation of the political advancement of humanity. It means “rule by the people” or “sovereignty of the people”.  Rome from the times of Julius Ceaser had a senate and senators who were ‘supposed’ to be representing people.

Today also senators or members of a legislative house are elected with ‘due processes’ of voting by the people to power- to govern them. 

Singapore is a vibrant democracy and yet made a very rapid development model which was put in place by their late Prime Minister Lee Kuan yew. He ruled with an iron hand yet elected again and again by the same people and was a guiding spirit for Singapore for 31 years – yes three decades. Lee Insisted that Governance was first and foremost about results and that is what people want. No doubt that superior performance by the government requires superior Moral Leadership, which can take tough and unpopular decisions. You cannot and should not compare Singapore to America- you will go all wrong. What applies to US does not apply to Singapore- as economic, demographic and social conditions and needs, priorities are entirely different.

The Indian scenario

As US and Singapore- both democracies- are entirely differently governed. It has to be ‘as it suits you’ model of governance despite being same broad framework of democracy and its tenets and spirit.

Then how is India different? We have our own problems. We speak different languages, we have diverse cultures, and we inherited problems like two states of Hindustan and Pakistan- sworn enemies. Yes we unfortunately wear the ‘secular card’ on both the sleeves and also on our shirt pocket and written all over our national Gandhi Topi too. We remind ourselves of this every day and others keep reminding us too- you created it- now you better behave. We are tolerant- because of this tag, self-acquired tag of honor- in fact have been over tolerant of ourselves and others as well.

We since the time of independence, made a hash of our economy, we had little respect for law within and our ‘nation first’ under the democratic stance took a battering as it was free for all. Why do you make a law if it is not implemented? America around two hundred years back was an anarchy in a way where the rule of the ‘fastest draw’ made it to the top. Sheriffs of counties were gunned down, ‘wanted posters’ were pasted outside saloons with rewards in hundreds of dollars – and they still take pride in having gun battles, of course of different kind. We Indians wear a moustache for pride- the bigger the better- they wear a gun even today as everyone is a gun slinging Ringo – More powerful the gun, the better. No democratic American senate has been able to ban this ‘Yanki Ego’ till date despite public out cries against mass shootings.

So let us not compare. They want a gun we want a moustache- end of the story.

We distorted our own history, we could not shrug off the “Mughal or even British Raj” tag of our shoulders and carried as a great chip on our collars and shoulders till someone came- duly elected by us- to wake us up. If a democratically elected government shakes you up to the reality, it does not become undemocratic.

The problem with the world powers and out of power Indian politicians is exactly this- how have you woken up millions out of a ‘well designed, anesthetically, opioid-induced slumber’, who are now questioning what was done to them while they were asleep? (Probably at worst a kidney was removed without consent)

Democracy is not dead but now it has become a vibrant governance of a vibrant people.

Earlier democracy was used in India to serve individuals and their families. This has yet not been fully eradicated. Americans did have their Kennedys and Bushes but the baton was not handed over like kingdoms. In India it was and it still is, which the people want to change. Through the democracy. To the vested interests this too is unacceptable.

National pride needs three things. Past (Culture and heritage), Present (security, progress) and future (A clear road map to flourish). If these things are met a common man is happy. The problem is that people are reasonably happy. We had been asked to struggle only for Roti, Kapada aur makan and our aspirations were limited or stunted to this level for almost seven decades. We remained Bonsais in our thinking.

Today you are looking at the biggest, tallest, longest and fastest- be it highways, trains, statues or economy of the nation. We have started thinking big at last- that I feel is the biggest achievement of people through this model of governance. When 1.4 billion people have this bounce in their spirits and thoughts- world will be at our feet and that is the worry of the world!

And that is why this cry wolf of dead or deadly democracy.

Yet democracy is dead

You can abuse the elected government, criticize the judiciary and the Prime Minister whenever and wherever you want and you say freedom of speech is curtailed. You want to pelt stones at will on police and armed forces and expect the law agencies to garland you. In the US If you do stone pelting and injure a man or woman in uniform you can be sentenced for life, Israel it is 20 years. Most democracies have 5 to 15 years jail sentence for this. But in India you think and want you should go scot free! If this is democracy then sorry we don’t want to have. Slogans to break the nation in pieces, if this is democracy then sorry we don’t have. If making uniform laws for all is not democracy then sure we should not have. You insult the nation, then there will be no democracy for you.

Yes democracy is dead because more than 2000 people have been evicted from government accommodation they were illegally occupying for decades.

Yes democracy is dead if everyone has to pay taxes.

Yes democracy is dead because GST was implemented and it worked well.

Yes democracy is dead because government servants and political leaders have been made accountable.

Yes democracy is dead as middlemen sucking money out of the system have become unemployed.

Yes democracy is now dead as youth are asked to become entrepreneurs and become job creators and not job seekers.

Yes democracy is dead because income tax returns no more require middlemen to help you and no one can take bribe.

Yes democracy is dead if goons/ gundas are scared of the law.

Yes democracy is dead when women are feeling safe to walk on the roads.

Yes democracy is dead if haj subsidy has been done away with.

Yes democracy is dead because article 370 has been abolished.

Yes democracy is dead if you are no more allowed to pelt stones on uniformed fraternity.

Yes democracy is dead if armed forces have been given a free hand to deal with the enemies at borders.

Yes democracy is dead if the foreign policy is now guided by our national interest.

Yes democracy is dead if the PM in an open forum asks the vigilance and enforcement agencies to do their job without any fear.

Yes democracy is dead because every Indian has become nationalistic and wears it on his sleeve.

Yes democracy is dead when a true proud Indian doesn’t let you abuse his country.

Yes democracy is dead if 20 crore flags are hoisted by Indians at their homes on 15th August.

Yes democracy is dead if unaccounted money is brought to the book by raids on the corrupt people.

Yes democracy is dead if 80 crore people below poverty line have been given rations during and after pandemic.

Yes democracy is dead because names of roads and cities have been changed from that of invaders to patriots.

Yes our democracy is dead if 200 crore Covid vaccinations have been administered despite negative publicity by opposition trying their best to dissuade people.

Yes democracy is dead if 1.4 billion people supported the Prime Minister for demonetization and didn’t come on the roads despite all the clamor by media and opposition.

Yes democracy is dead if Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s statue has been installed on Raj Path.

Yes democracy is dead because the tallest statue in the world has been built as statue of liberty.

Yes democracy is dead because you can write to the PMO office directly and expect a response.

Yes democracy is dead if the Prime Minister is behaving and acting like a Prime minister.

Yes democracy is dead if all the ministers are giving due respect to the PM and are accountable.

Yes democracy is dead when secular is being truly implemented as secular.

Yes democracy is dead as a common man gives two hoots to award wapsi?

Yes democracy is dead because your fabricated ‘intolerance‘is not being tolerated by billion plus Indians.

Yes democracy is dead when Indian diaspora also supports the government and is ready to support the nation sitting thousands of miles away.

If so, let democracy be dead.

Koi shakk?

Whether a country is democratic should be judged and determined by its own people as is happening in real time and, not by a minority of self-righteous outsiders.

Ask a common man, he feels democracy is vibrant and he is proud of his country today as never before.

Why do you have a government- it is elected to govern? National interest has to be decided by the people you elected and not by every individual.

Virender Kapoor
Virender Kapoor
Virender is an Indian who wears many hats. An educationist of repute, Masters in Computer Science from IIT Bombay, he also holds an MA in International relations. He was the Director of a prestigious management Institute under the Symbiosis umbrella. He has emerged as a leading think tank in human behavior, motivation and success. As a celebrity author, his name appears with the likes of Thomas Friedman and Dale Carnegie. His books are now available in eight regional and foreign languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati ,Telegu , Malayalam , Tamil, Punjabi and Vietnamese He has authored more than 36 books as of now which are on Amazon worldwide and several of his books are in the pipeline.

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