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Demons of democracy

Demons of democracy

A very crucial pillar of strength holding erect the India democracy is its Ministry of Home Affairs which is invested with the responsibility of extending manpower, financial support, guidance and expertise to the state government, and maintaining security, peace and harmony in accordance with Constitutional rights of the state. Basically, ensuring federalism in India's unitary democracy is the Home Ministry's role and the responsibility of the Union Home Minister is to perform this duty judiciously. With the powers invested in the office of the Union Home Minister, there is as much scope of infiltrating the length and breadth of the nation with Centre-dominating ideologies and notions which a federal India may not necessarily subscribe to. Plurality and diversity of ideologies, politics, and methods are the hallmarks of a healthy democracy and India is no exception. When Amit Shah questioned the efficacy of a multi-party democracy expressing doubts if it will be able to meet the goals of contemporary India, seven decades after the hard-earned Independence, it must be borne in mind that the visions of the founding fathers of the Indian nation were the aptest goals to strive for especially in the context of the time seventy years ago, marked by a view to keep open the options and scope for a dynamic future. Linking Aadhaar to everything from bank account to social media was unthinkable seven decades ago and the future of such a phenomenon is highly debatable, but the future of developing agriculture, industry, and services, etc, one by one was envisioned for greater sustained and enduring growth. Ensuring the dominance of ideologies and sensationalised intentions over development do little to establish anything of substance. The very purpose of a vision is to be forward-looking; looking back 70 years every time to criticise political undertakings which may or may not be defunct now but which did pave the way for the India of today only betray a lack vision on part of the current dispensation. Also, honouring the legacy of the political forefathers is one thing, but being guided by their ways, particularly in disagreement, is not suitable. There actually should not be any comparison between the past and the present leaderships. An apt example is America where slavery was legal and the founders of America favoured it but it was abolished in the course of time and in keeping with the evolving needs for equality in the country. In comparison to that, the founding fathers of India were far more forward-looking, envisioning the future without the temporary provisions they put in place—reservation and Article 370 being cases in point. Honouring the evolving needs of the electorate is a moral responsibility of a government and making unreasonable comparisons to distant points in time is nothing but creating distractions in a lowly manner. Clearly, there are far more important matters in the present to focus on and to address urgently than to indulge in inconsequential ideas of how less-than-perfect the past has been.

The Union Home Minister's calling in question the Congress party's "culture of policy paralysis" is justified to the extent that implementation suffers and the common people bear the brunt of stalled governance. Shah ostensibly expressed that the previous governments made only five decisions in the last 30 years whereas the Modi government made over 50 decisions in last five years. But, on the contrary, a holistic and collective deliberation is indispensable to good and effective policymaking, the impacts of which will be far-reaching into the future. Juxtaposed against that, the consequences of hasty and unilateral decisions may seem like a spectacular display of power and bold decision-making but the immediate outcomes of this are just confusion, chaos, and resentment from a disconnect with the government. Making inoperative Article 370 conferring special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the overnight decision of demonetisation are just some examples. There are no magical fixtures in politics and governance which can hold people in awe. Consistent and continued efforts in the direction of a goal are what could possibly accomplish it. Stating aloud the doubt whether the multi-party democratic system in India had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the citizens of the country is a statement riled with criticism on many levels: aspirations of the citizens, if we may begin with allowing them a means to imagine any aspiration—jobs; citizens—after the taxing exercise of NRC and its outcome; a supposedly dysfunctional multiparty democracy, the cornerstone of the Union Minister's grudge, it must be reiterated how repeated efforts to create a third front were rendered futile with defection. Alleging that the common man was clueless during the reign of Congress as to where the nation was headed and whether the leadership was actually able to steer the country out of the mess is reminiscent of post demonetisation days of shifting goalposts and the pressing economic crisis of the present day when fortunes have been spent on erecting statues. Amit Shah may be right in assessing that the electorate were utterly disappointed with the performance of the previous governments but he ought to acknowledge that too was the will of the people as was in 2014 and it is the will of the people and its expression that is paramount, not faulty deductions from it and fallacious opinions. The phenomenon of a multiparty democracy only enforces the essence of democracy. Shah's emphasis on the need for 130 crore Indians to move in a coordinated fashion to realise the PM's vision is to an appalling extent disregarding the plurality and diversity that defines Indian democracy. A single-party democracy with an enforced uniform ideology is quite along the lines of North Korea which makes a devastating mockery of both democracy and a republic. Diversity, multiplicity, and decentralisation are the strengths of Indian democracy and any assault on these by way of glorifying one-man leadership or a single language spoken by the majority, or any other similar method is a warning threat to our democracy.

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