Inertia in India
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