This is when the conception of democracy was experimented and proved to be a huge success. But the success was achieved by the sincerity of the political representatives, their clear cut values and infallible implementation of agenda.
Gandhi, the Mahatma, advocated ‘Ram Rajya’ for India where the necessities of the down-trodden, the welfare of the commoner and the progress through indigenous industry would become the hallmark.
It was an unfortunate twist of history that a person who failed to shine as barrister at law was superimposed in politics by his father. We are talking of the first Prime Minister of India – Jawaharlal Nehru. He succeeded in politics because of the close proximity of his father Motilal Nehru – a great lawyer himself and Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, later known as the father of the Nation.
When it came to matters of Nehru, Gandhi turned his Nelson’s eye and that is how it came to pass that Jawaharlal and the then Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and his infatuation with the post of Prime Minister led him to agree to the partition of India.
The stepping stone to our democratic setup was washed with the blood and rape of millions and none could question these so called leaders as to who gave them the right to divide the country. It is still to be questioned today and who will do it.
We have had Prime Ministers like Lal Bahadur Shastri who would not question as he was little more than Nehru’s shadow. Indira Gandhi the second generation of the dynastic rule and Rajiv Gandhi- the third generation of Nehru’s would definitely not question this. V.P. Singh, implemented Mandal Commission Report, dividing the population into Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, Backward Classes and what not. This report has been cold storage by earlier PMs and even the great Ambedkar had advocated 10 years of reservation for these classes. V.P. Singh went may steps ahead and implemented it after more than 30 years of independence, this against a popular upsurge where thousands were shot dead or immolated themselves. He suffered no remorse and implemented this draconian law. Is this what is called democracy – by the people, for the people as advocated by the great American President Abraham Lincon. We have had P.V. Narasimha Rao after that, an astute politician who remained in power of full five years.
Democracy has now become a dirty word for Indian Politics. The corrupt rulers of days bygone were born and little could be done about them, today we have royalty who are elected. Before elections they come with folded hands begging for the poor common man’s ‘invaluable vote’ and after getting elected treat them as dirt beneath their feet.
It is quite unfortunate that politics is now a lucrative profession, although the word raw would be incorrect. As stated earlier Jawaharlal Nehru had already taken it up as a profession. Earlier, the thinking had been ‘service before self’ which is ‘self before service’ now.
We have been ingrained with the idea that love, good qualities and the sense of achievement always flows from the higher level to the lower level. It is now visualized that the reverse is not true. Hatred, corruption, nepotism and criminal mentality all are qualities which also flow from the higher to lower levels. Thus the rampant corruption, bribery, criminal activity and protection to them, even to the extent of selling secrets to foreign powers are al activities which are there for all to see in our elected MPs, Government and Bureaucrats. Who would expect the lesser mortals like clerks in public organizations like Central Excise, income tax, Defense establishment, Accountant General’s Office or the offices of the District Administration to be anything better?
The concept of democracy in itself is a very constructive idea and we have seen countries like USA and UK who could be picked up as role models. That there must be corruption there too cannot be denied, but it must be to quite a miniscule content. Why? This question is not surprising, given the state of the majority of countries but it can be answered because so investigative that it has the advantage of moulding popular opinion, of highlighting corruption and the lack of moral values in high places.
The efforts at impeaching Richard Nixon and Watergate, the recent revelations and near impeachment again of Bill Clinton, both presidents of the world’s most powerful nation. Several resignations of British Ministers over the decades over relations of moral turpitude were all possible because of a strong media acting as the watchdog of Society and the Country.
So democracy if practiced with the intention of keeping its concept intact is a very favorable proposition but for a country like ours where the concept of even freedom and independence is not clear to the common man, we need a strong monitor. The misuse of our democratic system, the highhandedness of elected representatives, and the attitude of self before others only is readily highlighted in our political scenario.
These are just the tip of the iceberg and anyone interested in the study of the Democratic System in India could be more disheartened than pleased at the rampant misuse prevalent in the political scenario of the day.
As mentioned earlier the reason may be that earlier, before independence, the leaders had a definite goal before them and worked towards achieving that goal. The virtue of sacrificing self interests before the need of the nation was given the highest priority and young men and women were ready to even sacrifice their lives for the cause. It also obviously means that the leaders had presented examples of virtue by practicing what they preached thus helping in the true motivation of others.
The motivation is lost toady, those examples are missing and what is practiced today can only lead to negative values. The dream of Independence has been achieved and the term ahs a different interpretation now. Independence today means the freedom to violate the law, the freedom to misuse power and the freedom to do whatever is necessary to fill one’s own coffers. This has now gone into overdrive.
The scene is full of pessimism indeed but there is a bleak ray of hope. Looking back at history we find a similar scenario in the USA about eighty years back. It was the era of the Great Depression and Prohibition, the era of the mafia and Al Capone ruling the roost. With the influx of settlers from all over the world, the exaltations of labour at its peak, brothels and gambling dens were sprouting up all over the country and the bureaucracy was susceptible to bribery. The scene is similar to what we are observing today in our own country but with the media as a backbone, intelligent and intellectual persons came to the fore to take up the cudgels of politics and the results today is for all to see.
We await a similar change which is bound to come and that day India may have pride of place amongst democratic nations.