Thursday, December 9, 2010

Democracy and Corruption in India

KMS of Media Syndicate has posted an interesting article on corruption in India. He has raised some very important questions. And in his inimitable style left the answers open! A thought provoking piece indeed.

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty, we need to understand a few fundamental differences.

1. Republic and Democracy are not the same: A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).

1.a. India, although enshrined as "Republic" in the constitution, has effectively been functioning as "Democracy". Recall how the constitution is amended for trifling reasons. Indira Gandhi did it (changing India to Secular-Socialist... in 1972), Rajiv Gandhi did it (Muslim women protection-post Shah Bano case), they DO it all the time.

1.b. Vote bank politics is typical of extractive view of politics. Since the powers of the government are not restricted constitutionally, the "elected" representatives are free to do as they please. Thus those who vote them to power "extract" favors, and the elected grant them favors.

2. Universal Enfranchisement and Restricted enfranchisement are not the same: In most countries all persons above a particular age have the right to vote. In India it is 18 years of age. This is universal enfranchisement. I personally differ from this. I think that only those who have a stake in the survival of the nation and who are responsible ought to vote. For vote is power, and without the wisdom to exercise power, power is perilous, not just for oneself but for the rest as well.

2.a. It is common knowledge in India that the vote of many of the people can be bought with just a bottle of liquor and a blanket. Should such individuals have the right to vote? Government introduces some pension-benefit, or some women-benefit, in short some affirmative action, and the beneficiaries vote for the benefactor. Should such things happen?

2.b It is also common knowledge that in border areas, politicians grant ration cards and then voting rights to illegal immigrants, for example in Bengal. Should such things happen?

3. Electoral Process: Tamasha and Debate are not the same: In India, there are no debates between the contestants, there is only shadow boxing! At some rally Advani-babu will hurl a charge and at another rally sonial-madam will respond rhetorically. Allegations are answered by counter-allegations and not refutations.

3.a UPA will call NDA communal, and NDA will call UPA pseudo-secular; while both surrender to bullies, and resort to minority appeasement.

3.b People contest elections from jail even though they have been booked and jailed under criminal charges!

4. Parliamentary system and Presidential system are not the same: In presidential form, the president can be held responsible and accountable for whatever happens. In parliamentary system, the accountability is diffused, so despite having ministers like Raja and so on, Manmohan can survive, so can Sonia!

5. Incompatibility of democratic process and the high-command structure has already been highlighted by KMS in his article.

So all in all, we have a farcical system! Dumb-fucks claiming to be politicians and getting elected, and dumb-fucks electing them time and again! This has to end! So what's the solution? Please note that I do not have all the answers, much less all the correct answers; however we need to ponder over these questions. We need to propose tentative solutions, discuss and debate them, and then most importantly choose to implement them.

My take on the matter:

1. We need a new constitution.

2. We need a presidential form of government.

3. We need to be republic. And we need to restrict the powers of the elected representatives.

4. We need to restrict franchise.

5. We need have debates rather than mere political speeches!

And many more to be added ...

And most importantly, we need to draw inspiration and wisdom from our ancient civilization and other civilizations as well. Learn from their pluses as well as minuses! For the uninitiated this introduction of the term civilization will strike a jarring note, but bear with me. There is a lot to be gained by understanding human nature with both its virtues and follies, and what better way to learn than to use available knowledge in addition to what we know and have discovered?

1 comment:

  1. Appreciative thoughts by KMS and saMaLochaka.
    Let us move forward the thoughts with first point
    which I do agree that we need to revamp constitution as first step.
    i.e., let us start work to frame/Draft new constitution !


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