Future of Democracy in India?
         Date: 06-Feb-2019
The future of Democracy in India seems rather gloomy and quite bleak especially in the face of a growing band of well-entrenched dynasties, and unscrupulous politicians, a overweening judiciary with its skewed perception of divinity et al…
The future of democracy appears quite bleak and grim considering the few Dynasts and criminals who are hijacking it in the name of “Save Democracy” and “Save India” slogans. Even a layman on the street knows that there will be a “No-Holds-Barred 2019 Battle of the Ballot Box” between the Modi-led Government and the pseudo secular opposition parties and Left-of-the-Centre. Their “Modi Hatao; Desh Bachao” campaign was announced during a rally of the Opposition parties organised by Mamata Banerjee on 19 January at Kolkata.
Citizens, the ultimate arbiters of the future of democracy in India, must remain more vigilant than ever before. Options before the people include: “Change or Status Quo?”; Stability or Instability; and “Dharma or Adharma” or “Good or Evil”. If citizens fail to make informed choices, chaos and anarchy that are detrimental societal and national security interests will become inevitable. Bitterly fought elections based on a fractured verdict are sure recipe for chaos and political crises.
Today’s politics are extraordinarily complex, fluid and most bizarre sans ideologies. Ethnic and religious tensions are spiking. The spectre of long-term demographic changes disturbing the prevailing equilibrium, rapidly depleting natural resources and lack of job opportunities are realities. Naturally, caste, communal and ethnic divide and majority-minority complex and tensions are escalating what with politician’s recourse to populist appeasement politics to win votes and attacking independent institutions. Reforms, perforce, will remain on hold. So also, modernisation of security forces will also continue a non-starter despite tremendous advances in adversaries capabilities.
disruptive and destructive politics would be the order of the day during the 2019 pre-poll stage. People are the ultimate arbitrators for the nation to traverse in the post-poll scenario – messy democracy or real democracy or enlightened authoritarian despotismPolitical interference has become blatantly open in important national institutions like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Judiciary etc. The credit goes to Indira Ghandi during Emergency. Every political party was culpable for the “crisis of credibility” both at the Central and State governments levels.
Democracy, albeit appearing to be beat a retreat, will survive in whatever mutilated form it may emerge alongside woefully politicised institutions including judiciary and media. For the size of the diverse demographics and territory do not provide viable political order alternative.
Although Modi-led BJP fared poorly in the most recent state elections in December, the BJP remains the favourite party in the 2019 national election. Hindu consciousness has emerged as a powerful political force in India. Unfortunately, people get swayed by “populist freebies” like farm waivers announced just before elections, cash, liquors and other inducements during the last 48 hours before they cast their votes. To expect political sagacity to identify pretenders representing them as their elected representatives to deliver a knock-out blow to them is an unfair expectation.
Be that as it may, with the ongoing visual and social media blitz, one should not rule out the possibility for the “aam admi” decisively scripting the path or course of the nation to traverse either on the way to stability or towards anarchy and chaos resulting in India imploding.
In the past even during the hey-days of print media and the All India Radio (AIR) being the mouthpiece of ruling party, the peoples “wave” delivered a knock-out blow to prospects of so-called invincible powers. So, no one should rule out the possibility of such prospects in the outcomes of the 2019 elections.
Look at the range of Opposition leaders who attended the Kolkata rally! HD Deve Gowda, HD Kumaraswamy, N Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal, MK Stalin, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Sharad Yadav, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Satish Chandra Misra, Ajit Singh, Jayanta Choudhary, Mallikarjun Kharge, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Shatrughan Sinha, Arun Shourie, Yeshwant Sinha, Gegong Apang, Hemant Soren, Babulal Marandi, Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani, PU Lalduhoma so on and so forth.
At the same time, the rally has exposed the deep chasm in the opposition camp. Many of these parties are just squabbling with each other. The Left simply turned down the invite. In UP, the Akhilesh-led SP snubbed the Congress. The TRS of Telangana, the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) etc., also did not participate in the rally. Be that as it may, political opportunism is rearing its ugly head. No convergence of ideologies. Their collective motor is “Modi Hatao”.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati did not attend the rally. Why? Quite obviously, they do not want to be seen in the company of Didi, who is openly staking her claims to be the future Prime Minister of India. Instead, they sent their leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Singhvi as their representatives. Similarly, Satish Chandra Mishra was the representative of Mayawati with her alliance partner Akhilesh Yadav of Samajawadi Party also attending the rally. Shatrughan Sinha, the BJP rebel, has laid claims to be the champion claiming to present a new leadership to the country. The mood of the nation is clear. It is 'change'. He has thrown a challenge to the BJP to expel him from the party. It clearly reflects Shatrughan Sinha’s narcissistic and megalomania attitude.
Arvind Kejriwal was at his usual best dubbing Modi a ‘dictator’ in the making without looking inward at the sorry state of affairs in his own Aam Admi Party. Ab initio, all the stalwarts who had supported him initially have or are deserting him in droves including its co-founder Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Vishwas Kumar, Ashutosh, and the latest exodus from Punjab AAP for his dictatorial ways.
How many of the leaders from 22 diverse political parties gathered on the stage at Kolkata rally under the Sharada Chit Fund Scam tainted Mamata Bannerjee" masquerading as the leader to "Save India; and Save Democracy" can lay claims to be men of integrity. No one can claim to be of such high order of leadership quality.
No need to single out anyone among them as what all of them want is power, wealth and status. How short-sighted the assembled leaders are in highlighting the destruction of “Institutions” of governance like the RBI, CVC, CBI, ED, and so on. People are no fool. All “Institutions” stood destroyed long ago and are in collusion with political leaders to make “hay while the sun shines”.
In sum, where is the face of “new leadership?” Majority of them have enriched themselves by corrupt means not only for themselves but also for successive generations of progeny to follow at the cost of common man. By the past political history of the stalwarts on the stage, one shudders to think what would happen to the nation.
Let me also highlight that moral integrity was once considered the cornerstone of power in politics. Through reputation one attempted to win elections in the past. In the past, one attempted to win election through reputation, honesty and integrity. They are wrong. Today, fraud is the only virtue. Without money and muscle power it is difficult to succeed in present politics.
Nearly 50 years ago, I came across the statement that “Fame is based on fraud.” How true it appears to be today in modern India? Majority of our political masters are today the biggest frauds - adept at hiding their weaknesses and exploiting their strengths. Some media houses unwittingly or even deliberately build up images of political aspirants by focusing on them."
How can a leader whose grandson, barely three years old, as per media reports with assets worth Rs 18.71 crore in his name is six times richer than his politically illustrious grandfather? Similarly, the case of Mallikarjun Kharge, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and even Mamata Banerjee. Yet, people hold them in awe and will elect them. Such is the irony of democracy in India.
Unless people raise like in Rai Bareilly in 1977 against Indira Gandhi (36.89 per cent votes) and elected Raj Narain (53.51 per cent votes), and throw all corrupt and criminal leaders, there is no hope for the “Aam Admi” to improve their lots.
It is the ‘Age of Kaliyug’. Power has always reigned supreme in politics. Mao’s views that “Power flows out of the barrel of the gun,” which is obsolete. Even in China, “Power flows out of the barrel of wealth”. So, for the sake of power and wealth, particularly in the mutilated form of democracy practised in India, to expect entrenched dynasts, corrupt and criminals turned neo-Maharajah’s, to stay away from power and wealth acquisition by ‘hook or crook’ would be naïve to expect. Moreover, propriety as a word does not figure in the dictionary of politicians. What to talk of politicians abhorring the term, even a few of the highest of the judiciary who should uphold the richest traditions of morality, have become masters of double standard.
Thus, the intent of the “Grand Alliance – Mahaghatabandhan” is status quo ante – “No Change” except for “Hatao Modi” to enable them to get back to ‘loot and scoot’ the national resources with utter disregard for sustainable development and livelihood requirements of future generations.
Has anyone among them scripted the chart or strategies of “Change” in all fields – politics, social, economy, technology, judiciary, media, security forces etc? Even they do not want to nominate a Prime Ministerial candidate in pursuit of nurturing opportunistic ambitions for the post.
What was on grand display was narcissistic megalomania what with speeches full of innuendos at their arch rival Modi. And, they have seized on Leftist leaning intellectual N Ram’s article on Rafale to level charges of scam despite N Ram’s admission in the last sentence “no money trail has been discovered so far in the current case”. Of course, N Ram admits that the “last of l’affaire Rafale”. Even he too would be in the forefront of spinning “fake and fraud” stories due to his anti-Modi posture.
In retrospect, Indian heritage is a continuous struggle between Dharma and Adharma, corruption, treachery and intrigue, idealism and realism, insular isolationism, multi-linguism, multi-radicalism, multi-communalism and multinationalism. Never ever, democracy prevailed in our ancient or medieval history. Factually, serfdom was universal. An absolute moral code for the staggering array of diversity is needed, which is a utopian expectation in a fractious democratic polity.
Shri Aurobindo prophesised that "what we now see is a shadow of what must come". Ironically, Adharma has regained ascendancy over dharma or righteousness (positive values) with a vengeance. No wonder, there is a rapid explosion of crises and conflicts.
JK Mukherjee stated that “the maladjustment between the individual hopes and needs and aspirations and the demands of the organised society” has become extremely pronounced. The State is unable to fulfill the goals of the Society and diverse people’s beliefs, needs, and aspirations of people or their values in harmony and perfection.
To sum up, desperate, disruptive and destructive politics would be the order of the day during the 2019 pre-poll stage. People are the ultimate arbitrators for the nation to traverse in the post-poll scenario – messy democracy or real democracy or enlightened authoritarian despotism. All one can do is to pray and hope for the best for the future security of the society and nation.