Tuesday, August 10, 2010

India - A Fake Democracy

Often we pride ourselves with the fact that India is the largest democracy in the world. Theoretically, it is true, but practically, is there any democracy prevailing in India ?? Dear Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and guests, you might hold me guilty of being too cynical. But when I look around, I  start having serious doubts, about the relevance and meaning of democracy in this country.

Abraham Lincoln rightly defined Democracy as, 'Government, of the people, for the people and by the people, shall not perish from the earth'. He was indeed very prophetic, for the government, where people have a major say in  its working is bound to succeed and be popular. But does this definition hold good for Indian democracy ??

Is India really being governed by its people ?? A democracy means rule in accordance with the choice of the majority. While majority of our elected representatives are millionaires, close to 80% of our population still survive on less than one dollar per day. If you look at the statistics, these so-called people's representative holds approval of merely 10% of Indian mass. We project ourselves as a Young Country on world map with 70% of our population below 35 years, but two-thirds of our political-class are above 50. Some of them, including our prime-minister, are well above 70 and truly past their sell-by dates. But there is hardly any sign that they going to give way to younger generation.

Does the Indian government work for its people ?? When the entire country is reeling under double-digit inflation, we are still worried about fluctuating stock-market and Foreign Direct Investment in Insurance sector. Who cares about FDI in insurance sector, when thousands of children are dying of malnutrition every single day. When sugar-prices are shooting through the roof, our ministers are busy advising people How Reduced Consumption of Sugar is Good For Their Health. We want to ensure mobile connectivity to all parts of India, yet we don't have any plans to provide the poor with basic amenities like housing, food, water and electricity.

Is it a Government of the people ?? Three areas on Indian map stand out. Kashmir, North-East and Mineral-Rich Naxal-belts. We have tolerated  68,000 deaths in Kashmir over past couple of decades. We have a 700-thousand strong army calling the shots in valley, patrolling every single cordon. Even though, we have a democratically elected state-government, its powers are  severely curbed by highly undemocratic laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. To most Indians, North-eastern states are not even part of India. They feign ignorance, when quizzed about the problems faced by people belonging to these area. All of these states conduct elections and have installed democratically elected governments, yet all of them are policed by Indian Army. Can you imagine life being cut-off from outside world not for one day, one week, but for full 45 days ?? That's the plight of people belonging to one of the states in North-East, yet I don't see a single soul being moved. One third of India, mostly mineral rich forest land, is partially or completely under the control of Maoists, who have been left with no choice but to fight the mighty state to protect their dignity and freedom. We talk of having a society in peace, yet we are sending thousand and thousand of para-military forces to fight these so-called Maoist Insurgents. They have not descended from heaven, have they ?? They are nothing but our own people, the poor of the poorest. Yet we are trying our level best to annihilate them, if possible.

The pillars of democracy - Judiciary, Bureaucracy and Media are all in shambles and have failed miserably in performing their duties.

We have one of the lowest rate-of-conviction amongst all developing countries. In serious crimes, its merely 5 percent. There are cases, where our premier investigative agency have spent more than 30 years to investigate a genocide, but are yet to come up with a probe report. There are no signs either, of them completing the probe anytime soon. Our so-called fast-track courts take 5 cool years to deliver justice. We have more than 3 Crore cases pending in Indian courts. In some cases, poor people arrested on frivolous charges don't even get to see the light of Indian court-rooms and are left to die in prison, without ever being convicted. Yet, when it comes to resolving a billion-dollar  family-dispute involving Ambani-brothers, the same judiciary settles it within months.

Our media houses are more like corporate houses running after money and TRPs rather than following the 9is of investigative journalism. If a techie commits suicide, that is flashed as a breaking news. We have 10 farmers committing suicides every-day in Maharashtra, yet we see none of it being covered by Indian press. How many times you have noticed our media-houses busy covering a celebrity marriage and irrelevant news-items, side-stepping serious issues, which matter to public. When close to 1 lakh people died of flood in Bihar, we only had head-lines of it, but when an innocuous bomb-blast happens in Bangalore, supposedly the beehive of talented yet selfish IT-Professionals, media-houses make a beeline covering it. Media is living in a state of falsehood, reporting only the shallow exterior of face of nation and silently ignoring the dark underbelly.

About our bureaucracy less said the better. Its full of inept and corrupt civil servants, whose only aim is to earn more and more money by hook or crook. We have close to 50% leakage in all our government schemes, most of which have been converted into a honeypot around which these corrupt people have flocked. According to a World-Bank-Survey, out of 183 countries across the globe, India ranks 133, when it comes to ease of doing business. Even our troubled Jihad-affected neighbourhood country Pakistan is ranked 85, a cool 50 places above us, all thanks to this big-red-tape called Indian Democracy.

Should we still call India as the largest democracy in the world ?? I have my own doubts. To me, it looks more like a oligarchy, disguised as democracy. At best, Indian democracy is in  a state of emergency, urgently seeking attention of its people. If you stand at Greater Kailash in Delhi, it may look like a democracy, but if you go to Dantevada  or Vidarbha, its anything but democracy.

Over to you Toastmaster.

PS: This was my P2 speech@ PBC Orators  Toastmasters Session, which fetched me the Best Prepared Speaker Award :-)


Sanoop said...

The best organized speech I've listened to in our club. :)

Rupeyy said...

nice write up feel the same way, your write up is much more balanced than mine...

Rahul kumar said...

Thanks to present the real scenario of India ,where 30 % child are suffering from malnutrition,where leader is elected by most of the Eliterate people. Because most of the literate people have not to go for voting.