Is it the Death of Democracy in India?

The ultimate paradox: India is a democratic country, but common Indians can’t live democratically. The Congress-led ruling party in India is all set to give a new definition to democracy.

By Rakesh Raman

The new government diktat amounts to saying: “You’re free to express your views openly. But take care your views must not be against the government bosses even when they’re corrupt of the highest order.”

This is evident from the high-handedness of the Indian government that has allowed the Delhi Police to arrest social activist Anna Hazare, who – supported by millions all across the country – decided to sit on an indefinite fast, raising his voice against the rampant corruption in India. Hazare’s fast was to begin today, August 16, a day after India celebrated its 65th Independence Day.

[ Also Read: 5-Point Formula for Anna Hazare to Kill Corruption ]

The protestors, who have been demanding a strong legislation in the form of a Jan Lokpal Bill, have rejected the Bill proposed by the Indian government, saying it’s too weak to control corruption. They say another freedom struggle has begun after six decades to get rid of corrupt politicians and government officers at the helm of affairs. 

The Hazare team wants to bring even the Indian Prime Minister under the purview of the Bill claiming that there have been a spate of major corruption cases – telecom scam, Commonwealth Games scam, etc. – that have happened right under the Prime Minister’s nose and he failed to stop them.

In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh admitted that his government doesn’t have any control on the mounting corruption in India, saying: “government had no magic wand to deal with corruption.” Then the question is: Why do Indians need such a government and such a Prime Minister?

[ Also Read: How MMS becomes the Prime Minister ]

Toothless Manmohan Singh and his spineless government may not have a magic wand to deal with corruption, but they’ve an iron baton to use against the peaceful protestors who dare to raise their voice against corrupt government forces.

Anna Hazare, 74, is not the only one who has faced the Indian government’s wrath. In June, Yoga Guru, Ramdev, who began his hunger strike against corruption was forced by the police to end his protest.

Ramdev was demanding that the black money amounting to billions of dollars stashed away by the corrupt politicians and others in foreign banks must be brought back to India and should be declared as national asset. (Read: One-day Protest of Baba Ramdev Ends)

[ Also Read: 10 Simple Reasons I Love My Country India ]

All these dictatorial actions of the Indian government are destined to kill the democratic system in the country. And these can be equated with the haughtiness of Chinese authorities who sent human rights activist Liu Xiaobo to jail.

Liu has been spearheading a peaceful movement in China to see democratization of the political process in that country. And last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. (Read: Nobel Peace Prize for Chinese Human Rights Activist)

Similarly, the persistently callous behavior of the Indian government can be compared with Myanmar’s military junta that arrested Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1991) Suu Kyi who has been spearheading a movement to achieve democratic system and protection of human rights in her country.

For nearly 15 of the past 21 years, Suu Kyi has endured unofficial detention, house arrest and restrictions on her movement. (Read: Human Rights Outfit Welcomes Suu Kyi Release)

Then how is Indian government – after arresting Hazare and crushing Ramdev – different from other dictators? The Indian government, like other dictatorships, has been ruling with an iron fist to silence any voice that is directed toward its follies. And cunningly it has been committing all these excesses under the garb of a democratic system.

But isn’t it the death of democracy in India?

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of Raman Media Network.

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One thought on “Is it the Death of Democracy in India?

  • August 18, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    JANLOKPAL movement getting broader by space and content – the government hara kiri

    August 18th 2011. Two days after the Anna-arrest and release episode, the Government (though till now the government ‘accusing’ the Delhi police of the sham) is struggling to get to grips with the events as it unfold one after the other. It wouldn’t need an astronomical vision to see what is in store for our aspirations in our democracy.

    Only on August 14th, Congress spokesperson Digvijay Singh said that Team Anna is a crowd of 10,000 people and he thought that isn’t any representation to give consideration on their Janlokpal. Another spokesperson of the Congress, Manish Tiwari accused Anna Hazare of being corrupt from head-to-toe. Both have vanished since then. Senior govt. ministers in the form of spokespersons came; Home Minister said that it was DCP who made the decision of arresting Anna even before he stepped in to commit that unlawful protest; Kapil Sibal said that only Parliament can make laws and Team Anna was already given enough opportunities to work on the proposed Lokpal bill and well heard. Ambika Soni reiterated that government wasn’t involved in Anna’s arrest. The support for Team Anna who were arrested, grew during the day. Later in the evening, when Anna’s Tihar jail remand for 7 days got reversed, Congress and its mouthspeak like CNN-IBN and NDTV credited Rahul Gandhi for the release of Anna. But Anna refused to leave and continued his fast in Tihar Jail. On the morning of 18th August, Anna decides to leave Tihar Jail and leave for Ram Lila Maidan to continue with his fast.

    From Jan-Lokpal issue for which the fast was considered necessary by Team Anna, the Govt. of India couldn’t have worked harder to shift the issue to Anna’s arrest and fast details. Team Anna is today is more visible than the real issue when the team announced its fast on August 16th. The same is largely responsible for the sea-change of civil liberty leader Anna from being a crusader on behalf of a few thousand Indians in two days’ time turned into leader of a few lakh people of this country; from the kids to youth to middle-class families to the aged, everyone is keen to tag his or her name with Anna under a popular slogan ‘I’m Anna’.

    Let’s look at the obvious, not being on short of sight. Now this movement just merely require an impetus; towards gaining support of all those ‘below poverty line’ citizens of this country. Team Anna if I understand, is moving towards the goal, step-by-step. The day when the majority of those 350 million poor citizens of this country begin to realize that their future cannot but rise with Team Anna only, this movement would have dealt a blow to all those political parties for its present structure of functioning and people’s representation. The below-poverty-line citizens have the passion to fight-to-finish which perhaps India’s middle-class may not entirely have it in them. The growing difference between the BPL and those rich and middle class life of this country can also help this Team Anna movement. Then, even resolving of JANLOKPAL wouldn’t matter.

    The present government has inherent deficiencies. First of all, it has a Prime Minister who isn’t a PM himself, alone. He needs the unquestionable guidelines issued by Sonia Gandhi from the sidelines every minute and therefore his occupation of the post is more due to lack of application of his own mind. Two, every cabinet minister function like a prime minister on his own and hence there is very little co-ordination. Three, the government is intentionally geared to perform under chaos and with Sonia and her family gains the business part of it without having to feel the heat of responsibility. Then, there are these spokesperson who arrive with their boot on the faces of most of these media personalities and deliver the sermon for the public and names for the opposition. In fact, most of our countrymen would have almost fell for the definition of corruption as something so synonymous with the political parties like Congress, BSP, RJD, DMK, NCP, BJP, etc..

    Because of telecommunications and virtualization of the country by its length and breadth through internet, India is truly a global village today for running away with opinions. Team Anna is cashing it for its steam through SMS, Facebook and Tweets. Not very far off, this may go beyond these gadgets to reach out to those poor Indians. The power of people’s representation which was till now with those who arrogantly represented the fellow countrymen in parliament is slowly shifting towards Team Anna. The government has the might of force behind it but cannot use against Team Anna without grave repercussions. I would assume that given the circumstances, the opposition parties representing the people in parliament should also have same concern about the future of their parliamentary rights. Provided of course, Team Anna is on the above mission without a glitch. So, where does this leave our country ?

    One would only hope that this government understands the precariousness of the situation and move forward to engage itself in a serious dialogue with Team Anna on Jan Lokpal. The government should first-of-all offer unconditional apologies to the nation on the whole issue of corruption and make sure that they bring in a Lokpal which is acceptable to Team Anna (of course, by removing any structural anomalies of the bill) and the majority of this countrymen without trying to be more on the side of political turpitude. There are many more issues in addition to JanLokpal that requires equally immediate attention. But such reasonableness even shouldn’t come in the way of addressing of this burning Janlokpal issue. It is important for the country to ensure that the balance of power is always held at the centre of people’s societies and the parliamentarians. Either of them getting it to their side uninhibited would lead to moral dissoluteness. We have already seen the impact of uninhibited power with the parliamentarians since independence; the other is yet to come.

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