What lessons for India?
Yes, India must become a strong democracy. India must become a great democracy.
In the USA we see this happening. See the latest joint session of the Congress which the US President addressed. There is opposition or mixed reception to the President’s universal healthcare. It is a scandal, the world’s mature democracy, the richest country is not able to afford universal healthcare.
What the US President, Obama, a man with great conviction and idealism, vision and commitment does?
He doesn’t retreat, run away. He moves forward. He fights, he argues, he pleads and he even threatens. Yes, that is the unique character of the US democracy.
In the US democracy is not just about the form, the numbers. It is about a strong central core of belief systems.
At the very core lies a great deal of moral principles.
Here? In India?
We see a very strange phenomenon. A Prime Minister with no powers. No political or electoral legitimacy. We a party president who is all in all.
This, we Indians stomach it and say to ourselves: that is okey!
In the UK too we have some strong democratic foundations.
In India we need to reform our Constitution. The Constitution review committee report must be dusted and taken up for debate and discussion. We have to give a genuine Prime Minister as envisaged by the Constitution. Our priorities must be reversed.
We have to restore to Parliament its old glory. The Prime Minister, like the American President, must come before the two houses, the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha and meet the peoples’ representatives and convince about his policies, say like the Indo- US nuclear, and his initiatives on Indo-Pakistan affairs.
Now, this is not happening. What we are having as our democratic working of our polity is very weak or at best an excuse for lack of substance. This is a great pity.
Now, freedoms are spreading everywhere, in the country, in the world outside.
It is time we Indians must become more mature and more men-like. We call the bluff of this artificial outer-layer of a democracy that is not only not delivering, but really we are excluding the genuine aspirations of the people from the scheme of things.
We don’t want to pint out any accusing fingers at any one individual or individuals.
It is for the collective sense of self-respect and national honour. The new Parliament, the Lok Sabha, is very full of young men and women.
I am sure this message reaches them. It is not a question of old versus young.
Politics is not about age. It is about wisdom and sagacity.
We hope Rahul Gandhi who is touring and trying to reform the polity must be reading these lines.
He must think hard and seek better counsel. He should look at the past, the recent past. His own family paid heavy price for taking Indian democracy on the wrong path. This we say with a great sense of remorse as well as responsibility. In politics there is no room for killing morality.
See the plight of George Bush and Tony Blair. Both had the electoral mandate behind them, right? Yet, where they are now?
They are the international pariahs today!
No one mentions their names nor do they like to associate with them anymore.
That is politics. Politics is a power game. Yes, where dictatorship pays often!
That is the lesson of history. But it is only a short run.
In the long run, it is democracy, democratic credentials that go down well with the popular memory. All this we say with the intention of reforming the Indian political system, political values system.
So, we plead: please, our Prime Minister and our Party President, please ponder and get over the illusion that you are all giving the country, our dear India, the best of yours. You have to enlarge the scope of genuine democracy, genuine democratic processes.
Please honour the great contributions of others, living and dead!
Please let us follow the path of the great Mahatma, Panditji and others. Democracy is a serious commitment; we can’t trifle with its intentions.
Forms are as important as the spirit, letter and spirit, as they say! Jai Hind!
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