Thursday, September 10, 2015

Democracy and India

Democracy is almost universally hailed as the best political system. India has been a non-flourishing democracy since independence barring a brief interlude of emergency in the seventies.

As Bihar is preparing for a momentous election whose results are likely to impact the nation's future policy, we get an opportunity to introspect what democracy has done to us and what we have done to democracy. Winston Churchill complimented democracy pleading that it is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. In his saner moments he could also realise that the best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter. This may be interpreted as a patronising and cynical view but cannot be dismissed offhand.

Nitish Kumar cannot hope to retain power in Bihar unless he aligns himself with a scamster. BJP's development-economics cannot guarantee victory unless it is diluted by caste vote calculations. Democracy dictates alignment with the dishonest and the disreputable because they are a substantial chunk whose support is necessary to gain control of the government.

Consequences and requirements of democracy are so ominous that one has to agree with John Adams, the first vice-president and second president of the United States who mournfully declared that there never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.

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