THE BLOG

Op-Ed: Indian Democracy Needs Its Next Freedom Struggle

Originally published on GroundReport.com, the citizen journalism platform that covers world news at the local level.

By Syed Ali Mujtaba Syed

Despite its drawbacks, democracy is still the best form of governance. Indian democracy may be slow and inefficient, but it will gain momentum as time elapses and decades roll. The paramount responsibility of the concerned citizens lies in not losing hope in democracy but instead uprooting the causes that corrode the essence of democracy and without diluting or nullifying the concept of democracy.

Democracy provides an outlet and a safety valve for people's anger and frustration and this outlet is through open criticism of the Government whenever it fails to adopt the right course as demanded by public interest. But for democracy, the condition in the country would be even more chaotic.

In the past six decades of India's independence, what India has proved to the world is that poverty, massive illiteracy and diversity on subcontinental scale are not arguments against democracy. But Indian democracy is only a partial success. When it comes to holding elections and ensuring the rights of citizens, it may be successful to some extent. But when it comes to the functioning of politicians and political institutions, it is mostly a failure.

There are serious shortfalls in our electoral system. If we take the accumulated experience of governance at various levels and of the functioning of our electoral bodies in the past few decades, we see how the infirmities in our electoral system have greatly weakened our democracy. The corrupt politicians have really made the democracy chaotic.

All the corrupt practices can come to an end and democracy can be restored to its lofty heights only through value based education imparted in schools and colleges, when the boys and girls will be in the formative age group. The introduction of compulsory military training to the youth for a period of one year would go a long way in building character and patriotism amongst the youth.

Indians follow rules and regulations in other countries where they live or travel. But why are we not following this in our own country? Is it because of democracy in India? As citizens, by and large, we have not responded to the country's call of a progressive society.

Unfortunately, our patriotism is reflected only in the stadium of cricket events during cricket matches or in films specially made to arouse feelings and thus feel patriotic. Patriotism does not seem to go beyond this amongst most people and this may be one reason for steady decline in the quality of our democracy.

The answers to most of the questions lie within ourselves. We, the people are the root cause for most of the problems. The people have to be reformed in their outlook and should be made to care for the larger interest of democracy instead of remaining indifferent to the evils around. The people must be willing to fight for the cause of democracy and sacrifice their personal comforts, if necessary, instead of remaining as mere armchair critics. The pressure for fair democracy must come from the citizens.

We need self sacrificing role models like Mahatma Gandhi and the country needs a second freedom struggle.

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Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com


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