Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Attitude Called Indian Democracy

Democracy has me stumped. I have been trying to figure out what it means for years together now. My inability to do so had me read history, read dictionaries and even put out a poll to my friends with four options hoping that a consensus would lead me to my destination. Nothing helped and I kept thinking and searching till I realized that this seeming endless search was my answer. Democracy is the flexibility of adapting to the times in order to stay the course. It permits that we change gears, alter the pace and even change tracks. All it expects is that we stay the course.

In India we say we celebrate democracy and yet the country is in a flux. Is it because we are not flexible any longer or have we lost our course? I think it is a mix of both.

The politicos and the law makers are an elitist club that has grown accustomed to a comfort zone. With the experience of the most highly placed leaders comes a particular way of doing things. The age separates them from the desires of world’s youngest democratic population. Flexibility is restricted and vision blurred. With the privileges and the inheritance bestowed upon the younger political honchos there is a chasm between their ideas and reality. The course is thus awry but flexibility plentiful to reach the top. Every new idea that can help us as a nation needs to be shaped and implemented by this collective group that evidently is disconnected with majority of the population.

Those who can make a difference are the urban, educated and aware youth. But we seem to be weary already. Not many of us are flexible to join the services (IAS, IFS, IPS etc.) that connect with the common man and shape policy. We are fixated with the private sector, and rightly so, as we want to improve our standard of living. Consequently the services are being staffed with a majority that is there not by choice but by inevitability. We are hesitant in voting and do not believe in the slow process of weeding out the unwanted with our vote. We cry for our rights and demand that we be looked after and yet every day we forget that we have an obligation of honesty, opinion and productive expression to democracy. Thus the onus to shape the nation is on shoulders who are shirking the very responsibility of altering the future of this nation.

In the last few months the Anna Hazare campaign has taken the nation by a storm. He is being credited to the point of paralyzing government policy indecision. People’s emotions, their support and their expression and extrapolation are all first time events for India of this century. I do not support Anna Hazare but I endorse his spirit and salute him for demonstrating to the people of India that one man can indeed make a difference. He has rallied the rural, urban, young, old, rich and poor Indians across religions to gather together and voice their frustration. If he can do it, if Arvind Kejriwal could get us a new law,the why can the honest, educated, well meaning, hard working youth not? People coming together in support of Anna Hazare are from myriad backgrounds but with one desire, to see honest and transparent dealing in all actions of those who are sitting as our representative. All the young working professionals have too many daily triumphs and battles in common which bring us to a common base camp. All that we need to do from here is work hard and together to be able to summit the peak of change.

Every successful summit requires courage, perseverance, guidance and a little bit of luck. We are amongst the world’s youngest countries with the world paying attention to every economic political move that we make. We have an incredibly rich history replete with heroes and role models to provide for inspiration. If we find it within ourselves to learn from our ancestors and positively maneuver the world to focus on us, lady luck will be unable to run away from us. Founders of independent India have left us the incredible legacy of a constitution. A framework that upholds equality, freedom and justice for all; and provides us the guidance that we need to help govern a nation so diverse. Only if we took time to read through it would we know that new laws and agencies are not required. We only need to strengthen the constitution, tweak parts of the Indian penal code, assume responsibility to make the representatives more accountable and to start our climb. Once we find that courage to start and work diligently with perseverance, we will easily summit the change we so eagerly await.

This is a time for India to change. This is a time for Indians to change. This is a time to change our mindset and take responsibility for all actions. We are at the end of the day a 45 year old country. For how long can we keep blaming the 60 pluses in parliament for our woes? Surely if we are smart enough to create an Infosys, win the Grammy and the Oscars, go buy and run Western iconic companies and once in a while even win a cricket World Cup; surely we are able enough to learn the ropes and steer our own nation successfully in the direction of prosperity, peace and harmony. This is the time for the youth of India to awaken and realize that their time to create history has come. We need to show our might in hard work and affirmative action. We need to engage in and explore polity, debate and discuss policy, vote for and veto in twenty first century Indian democracy. We are a great nation and the time has come to prove it. If we cannot change our destiny no one else will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Though change has been initiated, magnitude of resistance from people who have been grand fathered into the system is unbelievable. I am not cynical but skeptical about the course.