Indian democracy not bad at all, 60yrs 15 elections, more 700 million people exercising franchise.
Booth capturing and vote tampering were the fall out. With the introduction of electronic voting machines, the vote tampering did reduce, but our apathy in voting resulted in different dynamics, this meant coalition governments creating alliances without principles. The first coalition in 1977 fell flat despite of being led by Indira Gandhi.
1996 Mr.Atal Bihari Vajpayee lasted for 13 days.
1997 Mr.DeveGowda attempted a 14 party coalition.
1997 Inderkumar Gujral,
To the day the coalitions’ of convenience continue both in the state and centre. This comes with a price; the public policy does not necessarily reflect the will of the majority. Small fractions would have disproportionate influence. Economic reforms become hostage to minorities. It becomes difficult to hold people accountable when they have the power to topple the govt. So instead of the majority coalition government in reality is the will of the minority.
Our traditional sectarian demons show up. However with the emerging of the AAP there seems some hope somewhere.
This is an ancient tradition of India, this does not mean discarding religion it means the state is equidistant from all religions, individuals are free to practise their religion without any interference from the state
“” all religions should reside everywhere, for all of them desire self-control and purity of heart” Rock Edict Nb7 – Emperor Ashoka.
“Contact between religions is good one should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. Beloved-of-the-Gods King Piyadasi desires all should well learned in the good doctrines of other religions.”—Rock Edict Nb12-S.Dhammika—Emperor Ashoka.
Emperor Akbar recognized the same in 1590 that India was too complex to be governed without being secular. So the framers of the constitution did not negate religion but ensured equal treatment of all religions under the law.
It is the political and not constitutional inflection that is giving rise to communal riots. The reality could be that the politics of “group rights” is leading the country in opposite directions. In 1950 22.5% of the government jobs and seats in education institutions were reserved for Adivasi’s scheduled tribes, dalits, etc. in 1953 2,399 castes were identified, in 2005 it at 4,418 this reeks of a wide-spread scramble to access sources of economic power, education and jobs.
Increasing in reservation will deliver results, their need is to correct the legacy of social injustices, the current trajectories only fore say further fragmentation, making a causality of secularism.
The relation between states and centre is volatile, conflicting and to a certain extent even evolving. Between 1950-59 article 356 was evoked six times, in 1977 it was 40 times. However in 1990 is has reduced to 15 times. One major player is the weak coalition government at the centre while the states had strong regional parties. The fight for Telangana now creates a new issue, in the so far linguistic based state formation. Telangana and Andhra both are Telugu,
This will hopefully herald the next phase of the evolving federal-state relationships.
Mr.Sorabjee in his Palkivala lecture of 2008 says Judicial Review is Sacrosanct. To actually quote him “quest of justice, especially social justice and relief from human suffering is paramount motivation for judicial activism. And remember the fundamental rights of our people will remain ornamental show pieces and become teasing illusions unless they are translated by activist’s judges into living realities and become meaningful at least to some down trodden and exploited segments of humanity”
He concludes with “judicial activism will certainly be a boon if there are sensible, sensitive and courageous judges who do not flinch from deciding against the government of the day, judges who are not swayed by popular praise or clamour, judges who do not make judicial restraint a pretext for self abnegation judges who exercise judicial power activity and vigour sly and without straying into forbidden fields and I venture to say that, occasional judicial aberrations apart, India is one such country and I thank the almighty for that and pray that their tribe may increase and judicial activism proves beneficial to “we the People of India” and enable them to live a life of dignity and fully realize their human personality”
While we have done fairly well overall, with celebration worthy progress in areas, we have also regressed in governance. It appears as though the seeds of greatness and failure co-exist. Maybe we need to look at the incipient dangers to us achieving success. There have been blotches in the practise of principles enshrined in the constitution. I could be wrong but here’s what occurs to me.
- Converting a shortage economy into an opportunity for person gain.
- Corruption has become a way of life and we have accepted it as way of life not correctable in our lifetime.
- Political fragmentation focusing on caste based group rights. And coalition politics challenges the government to do what is right. What is expedient and urgent will dominate what is right and important.
- Judicial activism has become the basic protection against violation of the rights, providing protection from both legislative and executive branches.