Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The tragedy of Indian democracy

By: V.Sundaram, IAS
March 03, 2005

The history of post-independent India is a dismal record of the weakness, frailty and death of responsible public opinion, masterminded and controlled by the shameless Congress Party from time to time.

If despotism fails only for want of a capable benevolent despot, what chance has democracy in India which requires a whole population of capable voters? Democracy in India substitutes election by the incompetent many for the corrupt few, not at King’s Command but at S’s Command, with a liveried Prime Minister standing by awaiting command from the Haven of UPA heaven.

The tragedy of Indian democracy is that we have not yet succeeded in effecting true democracy. The taste of democracy becomes a bitter taste when the fullness of democracy is denied by a politically nominated Governor on every consideration other than merit--judgment, courage, integrity and vision. Jharkand Governor Sibtey Razi is a classic instance in point.

He has trounced the Goan Governor Jamir by his historic proclamation! “I have invited the UPA to form the Government as I am satisfied that it can provide a stable Government”. He has also qualified for the award of Bharat Ratna on Republic Day in 2006! My school boyish approach to Civics and Parliamentary Democracy has made me come to the rabidly communal view that the majority of any political party after a free and fair election can only get proved or settled on the floor of the Legislature presided over by a duly elected Speaker and not at the place of residence of the Governor, regardless of whether it is called UPA Secular Raj Bhavan or NDA Communal Araj Bhavan.

The Governor of Jharkhand functioned as a landless tenant-at-will of the Congress Party by completely ignoring the fundamental fact that the BJP by winning 30 seats was the single largest political party which should have been given the first opportunity to form a Government. The fact that the JDU (U) forming part of the BJP led NDA coalition has won 6 seats and that 5 other independent members were also part of the List of 41 members presented to the Governor by Arjun Munda cannot be ignored. The Governor ignored the fact that the Congress Party by itself was able to muster only 9 seats. The JMM Party was able to win only 17 seats. To the eyes of the eyeless Governor, to the mind of the mindless Governor, the total of 26 seats won by the Congress and JMM together appeared to be greater than 30 seats won by the BJP by itself. The total of 36 seats won by the BJP and the JDU (U) together appeared to be less than 26 seats won by the Congress and the JMM. Thus one can see that the rules of secular mathematics practiced by UPA of which the Governor is the marketing manager are inconsistent with the rules of communal mathematics projected by the NDA and supported substantially by the people of Jharkhand. By inviting JMM chief Shibu Soren (Mahatma Gandhi of Jharkhand) to form a rickety coalition Government, the Governor of Jharkhand, has functioned like an unbridled tyrant asserting his gubernatorial right to constitutional freedom to kill for the moment the total human freedom of the common people of Jharkhand. Inscrutable indeed are the ways and mysteries of secular mathematics!

The secularly spiritual role of Lallu at the Centre and the secularly strategic role of Sibu Soren at Jharkhand are tradable commodities held together by the brand name of UPA SECULARISM. The man in the street in India has not lost sight of this irony --- a former Chief Minister charged on criminal offences is made a Union Railway Minister and a Union Minister charged on criminal offences and constitutionally removed from that post is now made a Chief Minister of a State (the criminal cases on both are still pending!!).

The wonder of our democracy is that such tainted ministers enjoy greater flexibility and mobility of employment, with infinite choices open to them under the over-arching umbrella and secular shade of UPA Government than thousands of highly qualified unemployed professionals from all walks of life in India. For the Keynesian dream of full employment for all, the UPA has the alternative of full employment only for Lallus, Sorens, Paswans, Biswases and Bakwases alike. As a citizen of India my only worry is that the World is watching us. Unfortunately I know my shame is bureaucratic and communal. I also know that their unabashed shamelessness is democratic and secular.

Leo Tolstoy had mean and unscrupulous men like the Governor of Jharkhand in view when he penned the following immortal lines in his Anna Karenina:

“Hypocrisy is anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and the most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised”

The myriad millions of India expect the good and noble President of India to intervene immediately in the affairs of Jharkhand (and may be later in Bihar also) to restore normal and sane democracy in Jharkhand as was done by President Zail Singh in respect of Andhra Pradesh in the early 1980s.

The quality of good, noble, patriotic, honourable, profound and exceptional patriots functioning as elected members of the Lok Sabha, nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and the State Assemblies transcending differences in caste, colour, language and creed in our country today reminds me of what Walt Whitman, that “Raucous Ribald” and the great poet of American democracy wrote about the congressmen in his own country in 1880:

“The members who composed it were, seven-eighths of them, the meanest kind of bawling and blowing officeholders, office-seekers, pimps, malignants, conspirators, murderers, fancy-men, custom-house clerks, contractors, kept-editors, spaniels well-train`d to carry and fetch, jobbers, infidels, disunionists, terrorists, mail-riflers, slave-catchers, pushers of slavery, creatures of the Presidents, creatures of would-be Presidents, spies, bribers, compromisers, lobbyers, sponges, ruin`d sports, expelled gamblers, policy-backers, monte-dealers, duelists, carriers of conceal’d weapons, deaf men, pimpled men, scarr’d inside with vile disease, gaudy outside with gold chains made from the people`s money and harlots` money twisted together; crawling, serpentine men, the lousy combining’s and born freedom-sellers of the earth”.--- (WALT WHITMAN: Origins of attempted Seccession,1880’)

The Moral of the Story: There are no morals in Indian politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.

V.Sundaram, IAS

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