Thank god for democratic India!

Monday, 16 December 2013 - 11:59am IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

It is chilling to even think what happened in North Korea this week. The young dictator in the country got his uncle executed in the name of law, and as reported in the media, the real reason was purging of the elite; anyone who could be a possible threat to his position of power, anyone who was supposed to be influential and close to him.

What happened in India is contrasting. Political heavyweights like Sheila Dixit and others from the coterie were voted out of power; more than a century-old political party could not save itself from humiliating defeat; ordinary people voiced their opinion fearlessly and candidly against a long-pending and unexpected decision from the Supreme Court; and a former Supreme Court judge, slowly but surely, found himself being cornered by media and public opinion.   

Democracy in other words is vox populi, voice of the people. Freedom of speech and expression is essential for true democracy. Difference of opinion is vital for democracy to function, and it is unthinkable that the voice of any person can be muffled by using unlawful methods, not approved by the Constitution of India. Now, for a fairly long period of time, corporate bosses in India have been conveying in unequivocal terms that political inaction and policy paralysis would lead the country to a highly unfavourable environment for business, which could simply have been avoided by making the right decisions at the right time and by taking certain bold steps which would have made the lives of people in India better and also allowed them to rise to their full potential.

Complacency is one of the biggest silent killers and the present government couldn’t escape from its fatal consequences.

Whatever they might have been saying about winning with great margins, some of the top-notch politicians in the ruling party and coalition, in the heart of their hearts, never expected to come back to power in the provincial elections. However, they would not have bargained for such embarrassment, particularly at the hands of a newly formed political party which contested on the basis of the fundamental principles of bringing honesty and accountability in governance. Real democracy in action is being witnessed.

Till the other day, it was not very often that strong opinions would be aired about any Supreme Court judgment by all and sundry. Despite the power of the contempt of court with the judiciary, there have been people belonging to the intelligentsia criticising certain judgments. However, the kind of uproar seen in the media with sharp and pointed criticism not only of the judgment but also of the judge, truly reflect that the power in this one-billion-plus country lies with the people.

Without going into the merits of the SC judgment, it is true that the people themselves cannot decide the matter. But the manner in which the judgment has been criticised in the print, electronic and social media vindicates the fact that anyone in possession of power cannot and should not take the people of the country for granted.   

It was quite surprising to find an article written by the Attorney General for India published in one of the national dailies criticising severely the stand taken by the SC. The Attorney General is expected to speak in the court and not in a public forum, and that is the reason why he started the article with a disclaimer that due to the exceptional nature of the matter and compelling circumstances he could not restrain himself and chose to go public. Traditionally speaking, this is quite unacceptable; however, time has changed, and the Attorney General must have thought of share his views with the people of India, the Fountainhead of democracy.

Time and again, we feel indebted to the founding fathers of the Indian Republic. Had there been no true democracy in the country, we would have been forced to suffer endlessly at the hands of corrupt, incompetent and dispensable political leaders. Even if such a change can’t be made as often as desired and needed, at least there is no perpetuity of a single leader and a single government.

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