Updated: May 20, 2020
The situation in India has been very difficult at least as of now since the country is fighting with the deadly Coronavirus Pandemic. With an increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19 every day, it is nothing but a horror show which has no immediate end to it. But let’s deal with the elephant in the room. How the political parties at a different level are dealing with it? How can Media turn situations of turmoil into a matter of political and religious dispute? Why can’t they deal with the situation and focus on the fast recovery of the patients and think about how to control the virus at their maximum capacity? Why is the simple matter of illness and death turning into matters of dispute and political agenda by them? So, does that mean that India is not a democratic country? But gladly, I would like to tell that India is a democratic country but it has a lot of flaws into one which leads to the problems we face every year during elections.
Let’s put facts on the plate now. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is a UK based firm that decides upon the Democracy Index of 165 independent states and 2 territories of the world. They allot points to every country based on around 60 parameters which comprise of the Electoral Process and Pluralism, the functioning of the government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. So, the marks are given out of 10 points. It is done every year so according to the data of 2019, India was categorized in the Flawed Democracy. It ranked at 51st position with 6.90 points. Not bad isn’t it but do you think we would have improved on this number since 2019? I don’t think so.
Democracy stands upon various principles first of which is the voting mechanism. We shifted to EVMs post ballot voting technique which was found to be a disaster and hard to track the voters. But did that solve the problem? Well, no the first problem is that India has only one powerful leader as of now, Narendra Modi. Other than that, there is no other worthy leader who can represent a nation of 135 crores population. So, does that give us a choice, no right? The entire voting mechanism revolves around a single person who has become such a public figure that people start to worship him in various parts of India. Other than that, the voting mechanism is seen to face issues such as booth capturing, bribery to the poor and deprived section of the society to gain their votes.
There are 3Ms: Money, Muscle or Mafia and Media. There 3Ms hampers the security of the voters of the society. So, what is happening given the fact that people are becoming more and more aware? No denying that the youth who is voting now, knows inside out about the candidates and political parties standing for elections. When they know the reality, they prefer to choose NOTA despite recklessly voting for a political party, unless they know who is the deserving candidate. This brings in the chance of winning for parties using 3Ms highly probable. This is what is happening to the country for years. India follows the concept of Representative Democracy. It focuses on creating a grass-root leader which would rise to represent the people of the country rather than political party choosing a person who is capable enough and then helping them to evolve as a leader.
Other issues include political vendetta along with assassinations and violating the moral code of conduct. The campaigns are not fought with integrity anymore, there are rude and defamatory political slogans. The biggest example was Chowkidar Chor hai by Rahul Gandhi which turned into such a violation that the Supreme Court had to step in and issue a formal contempt notice. There was a time when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister and there was nothing as hurting as this one. A great leader brings in great opposition as well but does that mean that anybody will fall to such levels as to start accusing on the moral character of the person. But then all it comes back to this is politics; everything is fair in Love and War.
But that isn’t the only reason why democracy is a flawed one. Corruption is another such issue. All the bureaucracy and the under-the-table transactions that people do just to make sure their work is done smoothly without hindrance. This cannot be corrected anytime in the future because it has been so deeply rooted in the country that you cannot reach on to those core reasons at all. But it is simple, corruption starts from us. We prioritize the work to such extent that we would not like it if it's stuck in between processes and approvals. Human life in India has become so cheap only because the judicial system has also been flawed. Otherwise, the judicial system was considered to be an autonomous body but corruption has affected such pious institutions as well. I am not saying that all of the representatives of the judicial system are indulged in all these practices, but the maximum is. People have stopped trusting such institutions because justice is now defective and delayed.
The other concern for the flaw in democracy is the media handles. We cannot trust media completely on the news being provided to us because maximum media channels have investments from political parties and corporates which compels them to show news which mostly favors their investors. Other than that, the news that is told to us is mostly, completely different from what has happened. The use of fake stories by media channels tries to intimidate the sentiments of some sections of the society which makes them indulge in riots, chaos and mob violence (**well, this is the extreme case**). Forget about us, we try to dig deeper into any news and try to know whether the displayed content is a genuine one or not. But think about the poor sections of the society, how will they come to know about the reality behind the news.
There is a democracy because people can do what they want freely, raise opinions about famous people of India and throw all mistakes they have done in their life right on their faces. Nobody is stopping them from doing that, this means that there is democracy. But the purpose of the political parties for forming the government has been declining every passing year. The purpose of the political parties is only to gain their vote banks nowadays. Anytime when they feel that their purpose is being defeated, they try to stop the reason leading it through informal practices. Let’s take the recent example of Maharashtra. Anant Karmuse, a civil engineer who uploaded an objectionable picture of Jitendra Awhad, Housing Minister of Maharashtra, on his Facebook profile. This when came into the eyes of Jitendra, took it to another level. On April 5th, Anant Karmuse was allegedly taken from his home and thrashed badly by the goons of Jitendra Awhad. Okay, so was this needed? If that picture was so humiliating then they would have asked him to take than down in some other manner. Was beating the shit out the guy necessary?
I know that many people will think what if Anant Karmuse was not that innocent, then? What if this also was fake news? This wasn’t fake news because 5 people have been put into custody but if we see the statement of Jitendra, he has claimed that this was an act of Right-wing and BJP to remove him from the cabinet. But isn’t this the problem addressed? Will people resort to such things only to make things right? Is violence the only way out? But this isn’t the only case in India. There have been numerous cases which have come into the limelight but there are thousands or maybe more than that, which we don’t even know about. So, the reality has been hidden from us due to various reasons one of which is to overcome panic and chaos, but does hiding the truth make you the right person?
Many of us have also seen recently that the government interferes with various ‘fake’ news being spread to the country and clarifies that it is not genuine. I am not saying that only the media handles are responsible for that. There are certain groups of people who also do it because it all comes to their Return on Investment. Whether it is political parties, their focus is to secure the vote bank and the media’s focus is to increase their TRPs. In the end, it is all about money.
There is one more problem that what political parties favor more than Representative Democracy, there is something called Dynasty Politics in maximum states. They believe that leadership can be entrusted by Birth but is that the case? Leaders are not born; they evolve as a leader in their life. This doesn’t rectify the problem. Did any of the descendant of Gandhi were the same leaders as he was? No right. Hardly anybody knows what happened to them later but neither of them turned out to be an as good leader as Gandhi was. But thankfully, it has been changing for India from the last few years. Narendra Modi is not a descendant of any famous leader. The efforts that he is taking for the country right now is applaudable. No leader is perfect but the least we can do is appreciate the genuine efforts that he is making for the country right now.
As far as BJP is concerned, it is not perfect as well. Only because the leader is so strong and visionary, it doesn’t mean that the entire party is of the same personality. There are people like Pragya Singh Thakur who have so many criminal allegations to her but still, she is an MP representing Bhopal. If people like them still exists in the government, the concept of ‘Of the People, For the People and By the People’ will keep on deteriorating to such level than the prime focus of all election campaign; interest of the public will be diluted. But I am not just saying about BJP, it is about all MPs and MLAs of various states' parties.
Does this mean that there is nothing called perfect 10 on 10 democracy? No, sadly it is not. Even Norway, the country who tops in the democracy index is the best because of its reason. It doesn’t have a population like India. With such small countries, the management becomes easier and therefore, democracy is applied effectively. The good thing is that it is better than that of China, which has an authoritarian government where the power is restored to one person and no matter what decisions he takes, people have to follow it there. In India, if the government takes any decision, we can see protests as well. Different opinions of the people can be seen put upfront and encouraged by people from different parts of the country. You should see Social Media channels, people openly put forward their views about political parties, media people and celebrities every hour. Some trending hashtags humiliate at least one Leader of the government or the opposition every day.
It is a free country, you can put down your opinions anywhere, at any point in time and in any manner. Nothing in this world can be perfect, not the government, not the Prime Minister, not the Opposition, and not even the democracy. But this is one of the problems of India which is very hard to resolve at least as I see, not in the foreseeable future. So, what do you think, are there chances that democracy will restore to flawless? If so, how do you think this can be possible?