India: Powerful Nation, Pathetic People, Failed Democracy

Posted on August 13, 2010


A nation of 1.2 billion population – a reason good enough to call ourselves the biggest democracy in the world. However I often feel this democracy is literally only on papers and not practically achieved and never will be achieved in the coming days too. One could wonder how much this statement is true, but anyone could understand after reading the rest of this article.

I am neither a political analyst nor a politician myself, but just a common man who keenly observes the happenings on this large nation on a day-to-day basis. The term democracy comes from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dēmokratía) “rule of the people” – this means to say that whatever the majority of the people wish, will be taken into consideration by the government. This system of elected governance has however utterly failed in our so-called largest democracy.

If you analyze the events that unfolded over the past few years you will come to agree with me on when and why this democracy failed resulting in failure of justice. Rather it amounts to untold misery and sometime avoidable killings of the innocents. The failure of the system cannot be attributed to one party or just the politicians. Various other factors have also contributed to failure.

Firstly, we have to analyze the failures and then about the causes. The failure of this democratic system actually reflects on the states first rather than the nation itself. As India is divided into many states and union territories governed by the regional or the national political parties formally elected by the people, the inconvenience of the people has to be addressed by the governing states first. If the issue cannot be addressed by the states, then the issue has to be resolved by the centre. This is how the system is set up. Either the centre or the state should come up with the solution thereby fulfilling the end wishes of the people. But what happens when both the centre and state are against the wishes of their own people. Do the people have any choice? Now whatever protests made by the people becomes meaningless.

Even now people do have a chance to fulfill their dreams by casting their votes to the opposition party. However, they have to wait until the next elections. Now what happens in this election is that the ruling state party needs the support of central parties in order to form the government in the state. This alliance is established at the cost of compromising the real demands of the people. This situation is the state of reality across several states in India, where the ruling regional parties have become powerless to address the real demands of its people.

Ironically, the state parties tend to take an anti-people policy to safeguard the interests of the central political partner. This situation is true in states like Tamil Nadu where the ruling DMK party compromises with Congress party. Situation is worse if the state and the central parties are out of alliance. Both the parties play opponents and game continues throughout as both of them slams each other. This results in the central party sending a team to probe the activities of the state party. This situation can be seen in Karnataka, UP and in Gujarat where the ruling state party does not comply with the central party.

As money and power plays an important role within the political parties of India, often the wishes of people are neglected. Politicians are interested only in safeguarding their position rather than addressing the core issues of the people. For the past 40 years people of India are suffering at the hands of Indian political system and not just from the politicians.

The Indian system of political administration can be one among the big reasons for this chaos and confusion. Both the central and the state governments have actively played their role in maintaining unrest within the people of the Indian soil. As India is not just one country with one language and culture, often friction arises due to the differences connected with these issues. India comprises of different nationalities like the Tamils, Kannadigas, Marathis, Keralites, Telugus etc, and each of these identities have their own history.

The one thing that is common within all the states is the religion called Hinduism though the practice of this religion differs from region to region. However these practices are accepted as parts of Hinduism, regardless of whatever methods of worship a community follows. But the core fundamentalists of this religion have made all the people of India to think that that Vedas and Bhagavat Gita as the only authority of Hinduism and it is not my prerogative to deny it.

However there are millions of Hindus – rather sons and daughters of this soil who have not touched these books in their life time, but still follow the same old style of worshiping their Gods in ways not endorsed or relevant to the methods preached by Vedas or Bhagavat Gita. Therefore in my opinion, religion is not a common factor that links all the states of India, if we consider the fundamental religious practices followed by the people of India.

At the moment Indian government does not want to see this unity in diversity. It simply cannot stand this term ‘diversity’. It wants all the states to speak one language and follow one culture. Therefore it often uses the term ‘Patriotism’ and ignites the feeling among all Indians that they should be patriotic to support the decisions of the central government though these decisions are anti-regional. The Delhi agents of the Indian government makes people to think Hindi as the national language of India though it is not so per Indian constitution. The central ministers, every now and then want to impose Hindi on all non-Hindi speaking states in order to achieve this pseudo unity. \

The central government does not want to promote the regional language as it is not their language; instead they want to promote their language Hindi as a link language. This is not a language imposition, but also a cultural invasion. As the languages are intertwined with the cultures, the imposition of languages leads to cultural invasion. UNESCO has predicted that in a hundred years, the regional languages of India would be extinct. The pathetic part is that many of the Tamils, Telugus etc think that they have to welcome Hindi into their states and should converse in this language.

Least they realize that they are being made a frog in the boiling water. As the water boils slowly, the frog dies slowly also. The same way as language invasion happens passively, our languages are dieing slowly. Death of a language amounts to death of an age old culture. For this very reason, many Tamils blew the whistle to not take up any language that is being imposed.

At the moment fifty percent of spoken Tamil is mixed with English words because of the wide use of English language. If Hindi is also imposed on the people of Tamil Nadu, there is a good chance that it will lead to the decay of Tamil language.  Tamil is not the only language to take this beating; it equally applies to all regional languages of India. Bengal, Orissa, Maharastra, Gujrat, Rajasthan, Assam and many more states have already lost their ground in sticking on to their mother tongues as they watch only Hindi movies, Hindi serials and speak only Hindi at public places. Tamils is probably the last frontier and an identity that has not fallen.

Yet the state pf Tamil Nadu has developed in leaps and bounds. Now it also serves as a commercial hub for many North Indians who travel to the  Tamil land everyday for better life. Thanks to the Social Justice movements by the Dravidian think tanks who vehemently opposed Hindi imposition on Tamils. Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister CN Annadurai said

‘why provide two holes for a two cats – one big another small to come inside our home when just one big hole is enough for both?’

He meant to say why India needs two link languages English and Hindi when just one is enough.

The Dravidian movement founded before the independence of India’s by E.V. Ramasamy also known as Periyar actively alerted southern Indians that they have the right to protect their language and culture from the invasion of Hindi language.  In due course the movement called for the unity of South Indian states to challenge the imposition of Hindi language and even the decisions of the central government connected to the southern states. Had this Dravidian movement been successful, south Indian states would have resolved many of the present unsolved issues like the Cauvery issue, Godavari issue, Mullai Periyaru issuse, Telengana issue, Eelam Tamils issue etc, etc. But the central government carefully diluted that unity of uprising among the south Indian states.

The Delhi pundits considered the emerging unity among the South Indian states at that time as a major threat to the authority of the central government. It was perceived that the unity of regional groups will also give rise to a new nation within India which will take its own social, political or economic decisions. Hence the Delhi political pundits cleverly managed to maintain unrest, disunity and enmity within the neighboring states. Hence several core issues between the states remain unresolved.

The power circle in Delhi, wants all its states to depend on the center to negotiate disputes rather than negotiating the disputes themselves. The central government acts as big brother and makes sure that it is the boss and people of the states are mere servants.  This mentality of the central government would be more evident whenever the ruling central party wins a majority. When the government is stable and strong, without the support of the states, it actually behaves as a monarchy.

The Social Justice movement of the Dravidian parties, unfortunately confined to Tamil Nadu alone also slowly subsided after the evolution of the political entities DMK and ADMK. Now the Dravidian movement is just a name sake slogan used by political parties in Tamil Nadu. The present day Political parties in Tamil Nadu associate with any political party in order to capture power. Hence the state political parties too greatly failed in their attempt to provide real security to the language and culture of the people.

As we have seen in our days, how the state and the central political parties have failed to serve the people, it is my humble conclusion that never ever, Indian people will find peace inside India. We have to accept that democracy in India has literally failed and non existent. In addition this failed democracy can never be resurrected. The real security for our people may lie in the hands of multi-party coalition governments both in the centre and in the state. The simple reason is, if a single party majority government comes to power, then it can certainly afford to ignore the wishes of the people as its authority cannot be challenged during its tenure. However, if a minority coalition party assumes power, then people could demand their wishes more authoritatively as the government is more dependent and answerable or I should say citizen friendly in its day to day dealing of issues.

At the moment, India is only concerned about posting the magical 10 % GDP growth and a stable stock market. But this is not going to serve the common man who desperately need help. India now boasts of having highest number of people in the world who starve for everyday food.

In spite of all these facts, politicians want Indian youngsters to sing the national anthem and say ‘Jai Hind’ in our school. Politicians make people believe in patriotism, but the real patriotism for India means business. Whether it is the Moaist issue or the Eelam Tamil crisis,  India shows tremendous business interest in the affected areas. In both the cases, India wanted to crush the rebels who claim for their  basic rights. But India sees them as terrorists and wants a clean solution of wiping them from the face of the earth. It is understood that in this pseudo democratic land, there cannot be any protests or agitation or uprising anymore. India does not want an uprising nor does it want to provide a solution. This is evident with India’s foreign policy towards Srilanka. Everyday Tamil Nadu fishermen are either attacked or killed by the Sri Lankan navy. However, India pays no attention to this problem, rather it warns Tamil fishermen not to fish in waters close to Srilanka sea limit.

This is just one such problem. There are hundreds of other unresolved problems which keep on piling for which solution cannot be found in the current political framework of India. India is too big and complex and not organised enough to handle all the states. We should accept that the people are pathetic as they will slowly lose their rights, language, culture and their ancestral signs.   We can only expect something magic to happen among Indians who can suddenly wake up from their deep sleep to resurrect justice, secularism and true democracy.

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Posted in: Indian Politics