In­er­tia in In­dia

Southasia - - Comment -

Democ­racy has its lim­its and it does not mat­ter if you are the world’s largest. In fact, over time, a sense of tor­por sets in and be­gins to negate all the lofty prin­ci­ples and val­ues that the nation’s fore­fa­thers had not only preached but had also prac­ticed. This is what is hap­pen­ing to In­dia and to its demo­cratic tra­di­tions, pre­vi­ously pow­ered by a healthy sec­u­lar out­look and now tainted by an in­creas­ingly de­plet­ing vi­sion. There is no doubt that the con­sis­tent elec­toral process that the coun­try has fol­lowed over the years has raised the level of po­lit­i­cal aware­ness of the In­dian peo­ple but a look at the cur­rent trends in In­dian democ­racy in­di­cates that this process is be­ing grossly mis­used by even the ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties for their own nar­row ends. Now their sole aim ap­pears to be win­ning elec­tions and, in or­der to achieve this, they are will­ing to com­pro­mise on all the val­ues, ethics and moral­ity that was associated with them. The tac­tics that they have now come to ap­ply to achieve elec­tion vic­tory pro­mote noth­ing but casteism, com­mu­nal­ism, re­gion­al­ism and sec­tar­i­an­ism which they at­tain through in­dis­crim­i­nate use of money, mus­cle and crim­i­nal­iza­tion of pol­i­tics.

De­spite its run­away eco­nomic growth, In­dia suffers from the same mal­ady as any other de­vel­op­ing nation. The av­er­age In­dian cit­i­zen is hard-work­ing, dili­gent and law-abid­ing but he can­not do much about the babus in charge of the sys­tem, the busi­ness ty­coons, the high-end crim­i­nals and the power-hun­gry politi­cians. It is these el­e­ments who are now tend­ing to ap­ply brakes on all the eco­nomic mo­men­tum that the coun­try has achieved. The re­cent pe­riod in the for­ward march of shin­ing In­dia has, in fact, been termed as the ‘scam sea­son’ as it has wit­nessed a se­ries of earth-shak­ing rip-offs, such as the 2G li­cense awards in­volv­ing Rs.1.76 lakh crores and the Com­mon­wealth Games scan­dal. In the lat­ter in­stance, out of the es­ti­mated Rs. 70,000 crores al­lo­cated for the Games, only half the amount is said to have been ac­tu­ally spent on the event!

It is elec­tion time in In­dia when corruption hits its peak. This is be­cause big­time busi­ness mag­nates give funds to politi­cians to meet the in­creas­ingly high cost of elec­tions, ob­vi­ously with the ul­te­rior mo­tive of reap­ing much higher ben­e­fits later. Down the line, politi­cians spend huge amounts to buy votes, mostly from those who can hardly scrounge two square meals a day. It is pi­tiable that the coun­try’s mid­dle class, de­prived for a long time of ba­sic com­forts of life, now has money in its pocket and is be­com­ing in­dif­fer­ent to the elec­toral process. They would rather pay more at­ten­tion to achiev­ing their own lit­tle ma­te­rial ideals rather than wor­ry­ing about ful­fill­ing the na­tional obli­ga­tion and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence where it mat­ters. Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh is an hon­est man, a man of eco­nomic mir­a­cles, but it is ob­vi­ous that he is pow­er­less amidst all the graft and loot at the na­tional level and there is not much he or other straight politi­cians can do about the ram­pant corruption that is im­pact­ing all spheres of life in In­dia.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal

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