Democracy has become a fig leaf to cover India's failures

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Democracy has become a fig leaf to cover India's failures

    India has been in a state of denial for years. It is rightly proud of its vibrant and chaotic democracy which is on show in the current general election and has survived and been accepted almost without question since Independence. But it is in denial because it has not been prepared to recognize that the vagaries of democracy are providing smokescreens that obfuscate many of the negative aspects of how the country works.

    Consequently, democracy has become an unchallengeable fig leaf covering what is not achieved. It allows the negative and under-performing aspects of Indian life to flourish. It blocks change and acts as an excuse for ineffective government.

    This helps to explain why India punches below its weight, failing to achieve what it could and should be doing with the vast potential of a billion-plus people and abundant natural resources. It constantly disappoints admirers and validates the views of critics. Most recently, with declining economic performance, poor governance and endemic corruption, people have begun to ask, 'Why is India proving such a failure?'

    Narendra Modi's answer to that question is of course to vote for him to lead the country to growth and glory. Progress, he implies, will automatically follow. The Gandhis offer repetitive sops and promises, which show that the Congress, and the family, need a time in opposition. Arvind Kejriwal and his collection of broom-wielding Aam Aadmi volunteers offer the basic political upheaval that India surely needs if it is to shake itself free of widespread corruption, crony capitalism, and poor governance - but that is a long-term play with all the risks inherent in necessary but unpredictable disruption.

    Modi does not have anywhere near all the answers, and in particular will not dig deep into crony capitalism and political and bureaucratic corruption, though he will presumably have a "cleaner" cabinet than Sonia Gandhi has allowed Manmohan Singh to appoint. He will also do more to project an incorruptible image.

    After a time, however, Modi too will no doubt follow the general line and blame democracy for India's shortcomings. Manmohan Singh has attempted to pass off prime ministerial vacillation in policy and questionable decision-making as the inevitable result of the democratic compulsions of coalition government, and has allowed opposition from other parties to become an excuse for years of policy delays. A strong prime minister, supported by adept top ministers and a powerful and persuasive PMO, would do better but coalitions are here to stay.

    Democracy has also provided an excuse and a cover for the gradual criminalization of politics that has been allowed to grow for decades to such an extent that election campaigns are distorted, large bribes are paid when coalitions are being formed, and many members of parliament and state assemblies have criminal charges pending against them.

    Democracy is also a drag on development because, while it has rightly opened the way for dissent and opposition to changes in land use and environmental concerns, no effort has been made to curb its misuse by vested interests who corruptly manipulate not only policies but their implementation. This has contributed to India becoming an increasingly unpredictable, unreliable, uncompetitive and difficult place to live and do business.

    Because of all that, India has given up trying to compete with China's far faster economic development, shrugging its metaphorical shoulders and saying that of course China is ahead, it is not a democracy! The excuse allows lessons that could be learned about China's administrative systems, technological abilities and other pluses to be ignored.

    Democracy also creates an environment where jugaad fixes are easy, and where the failures of the system in terms of poor governance and weakened institutions make the fatalism of chalta hai a welcome safe haven. A system that relies on an ability to fix things and then assumes that all will be eventually well whatever is or is not done, surely cannot be a success.

    This is not an argument for doing away with democracy, but to recognize and change the negative way in which it operates. Democracy has helped to hold India together since Independence, providing an outlet for people's frustrations and anger, ousting prime ministers, chief ministers and their governments. Though far from perfect, it has given the great mass of the electorate the feeling that they have a say in how the country is run, however faint and rare that may be, and however much they are cheated and maltreated by those they elect.

    t is not democracy that is at fault but a lack of leadership and a failure to shape clean transparent systems and procedures that operate effectively without being manipulated and hijacked by vested interests and those who resist change. That is the challenge for the next government.

    Elliott, a journalist who has worked in India for 24 years, has written 'IMPLOSION: India's Tryst with Reality'

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    A very correct analysis of what India has become and the reasons why the voters desire change.
     
    Peter likes this.
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  3. Peter

    Peter Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is really true.Democracy is good but in India it seems the darker qualities of this great form of government has risen.Maybe in this election things will change for the better.
     
  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    [Political] Democracy is just the name under which a 'Raj' is ruling since 1947, During since all kind of techniques are developed to make sure the Raj continue, Let it be Bribe during elections for poor vote-banks, Let it be illegal immigration vote-banks, Let it be religious vote-banks, Let it be ST/SC vote-banks, Let it be anything that insures vote for continuing 'Raj', We are namesake ' Democracy ' and perhaps consider largest one. [/Political]

    ^^ Unsubscribing from thread now ..
     
  5. jackprince

    jackprince Turning into a frog Senior Member

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    The author seems to be wearing a blindfold and dumping every ill of the nation on the political n bearuocratic class w/o realising that these system is nothing but an extension of the form that exists in the society at large. The change in social systems is very slow in this nation which in turn reflects in the govt. He talks about china's rapid growth. But he does not even hint at the vast difference between chinese totalatarian and completely 'un'democratic political system which has been always ready to trod upon any no. people to achieve the 'national' goal; and indian system which being democratic and being an entity with a goal to balance the capitalistic and socialist achievement does try to maintain a semblance to be pro-people attitude to governance. I am not a economist but I think all the businesspeople talking about privatisation of everything is more interested in gobbling up their cut of pie like what halpened in Russia after soviet fell; than futhering natio al goal. India is moving forward albeit slowly, but that slow speed is more because of the paricular kind of people at the helm than the 'type' of democracy it has.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Obviously, no one is perfect and 100% correct.

    Yet, what has be said that is wrong?

    If we are only to cater to social sops, but cannot have it implemented because of leaks in the system, which we refuse to control since it is done by our own political acolytes so that they are kept happy and satisfied, to achieve the aims, is that not a fig leaf to justify democracy?

    What is secularism? Only sops to the 'minority', which is another fraud when they mean Muslim? Others are not minorities and don't they deserve something too?

    Why should those who are the 'majority' but economically down and out and abjectly poor bequal deprived of the piece of cake given to others? Is that democracy?

    Why cannot India rise above all these self proclaimed 'equality' indices and not treat all Indians and Indians and a homogeneous whole beyond caste and religion?

    Democracy is FOR the People, OF the People and BY the People.

    If after 65 years of Independence we are still at Square One, then it cannot be denied that we are kept in a limbo only for a political 'harvest' of votes and fooling the people.
     
  7. Jagdish58

    Jagdish58 Regular Member

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    Democracy is good , but it seems faction leaders, communal vote bank policy & dynasty politics has found the excuse to flourish in democracy:thumb:
     

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