White Noise

Confessions of a Human Brain

Democracy

Posted by Joe on August 15, 2010

First of all, on the day of Independence day, I wish you all happy Independence day (I am assuming that you are an Indian).

So we call ourselves the worlds biggest and successful democracy. Before dwelling into our democracy, let us consider why Socrates was murdered.

Feeling I am already going off topic? As a mater of fact I am not. Socrates was murdered as he spoke against democracy. His argument was, just because a person is famous among the people, he can not rule them properly. Only a talented person, who understands the pros and cons of the decisions he is taking can rule the people properly. He was not against democracy per se. But he was against democracy, which gives power to the un-deserving.

Let us fast forward to our times, exactly a short time before India got independence.

Jinnah was so scared of democracy that he was afraid of total domination of hindus over the muslim minority.
He wanted a separate country, so that the minority will become a majority over there. Having non-democratic reason to form the country, they were under military rule for a longer time than under a democratic rule. Even when they had democracy, they fared very badly, as they didn’t let the East-Pakistan majority rule over them.
Pakistan looked at democracy always with a cautious note.

Compared to Pakistan, we can say that we performed marginally better. We have been under emergency only once, where Ms Gandhi had a totalitarian control over the whole country. But look at the state of the politicians we have right now.

More than 50% of our MPs have criminal cases on them.
Almost all of them are crorepathis.

If Democracy on concept denotes ruling of people by people who represent them, I don’t think India is under a democratic rule. I don’t think 50% of our population have criminal cases on them. In fact having a criminal case and entering the court is considered to be a dis-honor to the whole family in many parts of India. I am pretty much sure not even 1% of our population are crorepathis.

So when we boast about India being the most successful democracy in the whole world, what are we boasting of?

Are we boasting Mayawati as one of our CM, when her only qualification is that she is a dalit?
Are we boasting Rahul Gandhi as the next beacon of India, where if he is not born to his father, he would have been a nobody?
Are we boasting Lalu as the best Railway minister we had in history, where he moved Bihar back to stone age?

What have we achieved in this 60 odd years of Independence and 60 odd years of democracy?

Corruption has been steadily increasing, and so is the inflation.
Yes, we can see more middle class people coming up in the social ladder, thanks to IT and related services.
We did test some nuclear bombs and we are ready for any nuclear war if any with Pakistan.

But are these direct results of India being a democratic country?
China has overtaken us by leaps and bounds, even though they are under communist rule.
They have achieved more that what we have in the past 60 years.
Does that mean communism is better than democracy?

How can we accept that fact that the policy makers have no idea about what they are going to do still they get elected?
How can we call guys like M.K.Alagiri, who can not understand anything other than Tamil and Rowdism our cabinet minister?

Forget what we have done till now. But the bigger question is are we heading in the right direction?
The questions are many, but answers are few and far between.
And I like many others am lost in this flood of questions.

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3 Responses to “Democracy”

  1. I use the India vs. China argument frequently when people argue like the New York Times or Washington post in semantic generalisms such as “Democracy” and “Communism”. The largest increase in living standards and elimination of poverty in Human history (> 600 million people) was done by China [1]. This is more than the rest of the world combined.

    The “ruling class” or organized government by definition is more corrupt and not a uniform sample of the population in any country at any point of time in history. But I am tempted to agree with you that the values reflected by our leaders are absolutely not what we hold dear.

    I am not sure that there are any Root-Causes or Magical Solutions to systemic problems in complex machines. Solving local problems with bottom-up activism might be our only hope.

    [1] http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world#WorldBanksPovertyEstimatesRevised

    • Joe said

      Mostly radical changes bring something good out of everything.
      May be all out war with Pakistan or with China might rustle things up and bring the good things out.

      I am calling for extreme measures, as by waiting and watching, nothing good has happened yet!!!!

      Sure, things might backfire too.

  2. Dr.JP has spoken on this topic several times in his attempts to restore trust on democracy.

    Its a common myth that China is better off since there is no democracy and India is suffering due to its democracy. Both are untrue.

    China is a better democracy than India. The governance in lower levels in China is much more democratic than India. In India we only have democracy at the top level and it has not percolated and that is the biggest problems we have (Loksatta star’s one point is about self governance and another is about citizen empowerment). The most peaceful countries in the world like Norway are so because they have very good functioning democracies till the local government level, they have a direct link between taxes and services. So I guess its not the democracy that needs to be blamed.

    Lack of good leaders in politics to bring about these reforms is to be blamed and not democracy itself.

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