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Democracy: Conformism to Western model forecloses exploration of Indian possibilities
Attainment of independence provided an opportunity to the Indian people to devise a constitution rooted in its soil, history, culture and civilisation instead of outsourcing it from outside world. Strict adherence to and conformity with the established western model and Westphalian tradition was considered as knowledge. Carbon copying the West ministerial model was the hallmark of intellectual dexterity.

In the making of the constitution no innovativeness and discourse based upon India’s hoary tradition, enriched culture and civilization away from western model emerged betraying the impression that India suffers from ‘poverty of philosophy’. How a nation uprooted from its treasure-trove of having a different vision, way of life and a feeling of interconnectedness inextricably woven with the universe could thrive amidst scourges of crises baffling the Indian nation?

Riding on the crest of heightened glory of having provided the beacon of light to the world it had once mastered the science of control over everything that happened and would happen. Now the realised masters of God realisation from India are much needed in the West to teach the art and techniques of how to get peace to the miserable and peace deprived west. Culturally an uprooted India divested of its civilizational values and thrown completely into western straitjacket remains the greatest challenge to the functioning of democracy within the bounds of 'We the People.'

Conforming to a specific European historical context in which originated secularization of politics and Westphalia convention became the sine qua non of Indian politico-socio-economic life devoid of any ethics and values. Their internecine religious wars and monarch’s vested interest to remain perpetuated in power by keeping the pope off the hook from state affairs could become our venerable tradition and lay the foundation stone of our modern independent and so called civilised political life.

Our priceless heritage bequeathed to us by our seers and immortal scriptures to carve out the way of life for Indians in a changing world was thrown into scrapheap as mere folklores not kept as a marionette’s compass to guide us in the turbulent seas of human life. India is replete with examples to illustrate how in the unrecorded history of India the seers and scriptures were guiding the kings to usher in a righteous administration and look after the welfare of the people.

There is no dearth of record in modern history to show sages and seers are engaged in various social works, removal of superstitions and dogmatism from Indian society and welfare activities.

Swami Ramdev’s barring his transient tactical and strategic aberration and Sri Ravi Sankar’s engagement with Indian civil society and people at large to inject a pure, righteous, moral and uncorrupted breath into the Indian political life could not be simply underestimated to the perils of a strengthened and ethically permeated Indian system.

In future the spiritual upsurges and movements to rethink Indian coupling with western historical context and to build a new India not necessarily on western lines but on templates of Indian long cherished values would remain the greatest challenge to democracy. Indian spiritual sector forming the most powerful base of Indian way of life will no longer remain a silent spectator to what is happening to Indian politic in the name of being relegated to otherworldly.

Widening Representativeness by segmentisation: A second type of governmental block on the principle that an imagined demos can and should rule, either directly or indirectly, has been motivated by the stated desire to increase the ‘representativeness' or ‘democratic' quality of decision making.

The tendency of certain democratically elected governments - for the sake of ‘democracy' to enforce limits on the power of certain voters in favour of other voters may sound self-contradictory, even absurd, but it is in fact quite in accordance (some would say necessitated) by the logic of democratic empowerment.

Indian democracy has implemented various examples: reserved seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the lower house of the Federal Parliament in numbers proportionate to the population of their state or union territory; provision for the nomination of two members drawn from the Anglo-Indian community to the lower house; and (based on 1996 legislation) reserved seats for Scheduled Tribes in the local governments (Panchayats).

Sometimes quota arrangements have far-reaching implications for democratic theory and practice. Government-enforced gender quotas similarly highlight the fractured or ‘broken' character of the body politic (Inter Parliamentary Union, 1999). Whether or not quotas are deemed a temporary measure and whether or not - in the absence of networks among women politicians and candidates and improved financing and publicity for women's campaigns - they have claws and teeth, or whether they result in the stigmatisation of women or encourage divisive splits among different groups of women, or produce new glass ceilings that prevent the percentage of women from rising above the quota requirement - are points that are not relevant here.

Note only their subversive implications for the fiction that there could or should be a homogeneous demos. Gender quotas call into question abstract or blind talk of ‘the people'. They place practical barriers in the way of populist politics. Gender quotas serve as a reminder that half the population is silenced, or rendered less than visible, or maltreated by generalisations.

Such quotas imply that women representatives can better grasp the perspectives and interests of women. In short, they encourage public recognition of the fact that electorates comprise not just ‘citizens' or ‘voters' or ‘people' but also men and women. Despite protest movements by feminists in India the required reservation for women in Indian Parliament is yet to see its mention in Indian constitution.

A parallel process of debunking the fiction of ‘the people' is evident within what is arguably among the most important long-term developments in contemporary civil societies: the expansion of rights-based claims for the freedom and justice of citizens. Such claims have the effect of legally defining the entitlement of individuals and groups to live as different equals within a well-governed political community.

In the absence of effectiveness and efficacy of democratic governance to meet the various basic human needs, aspirations, and hopes of people and to realise human rights, to render justice to the marginalised and excluded section of the society and to ensure that administration is based on transparency and principles of natural justice, in India is recently found emergence of an activated civil society supposedly representing the voice of 'We the People' in India.

The growing number of NGOs addressing people's concerns, active participation of individuals in Civil Society movements as evidenced for Ann Hazare’s and Ramdev’s clarion call to government to take strong measures to remove corruption from Indian body politic in the form of a Jan Lokpal bill and rise of individuals through a network of various organisations seem to form the hyphen that joins the 'We the People' with functionaries of democratic governance and remains the formidable challenge to the accountability of the government.


Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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