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Despite what PEW Research Center's survey says, Indian democracy is one of the best in the world!
Recently PEW Research Center conducted a worldwide survey on the future of democracy as a political system.

The results of survey have attracted some political opinion, for example Firstpost concluded that Narendra Modi enjoys popular backing although people want more from his government.

However, I am not interested in discussing the benefits or losses for any political party. The focus of my article is regarding the conclusion of PEW Research Center's survey that although people support representative & direct democracy but many also endorse non-democratic alternatives.

According to the survey, the public commitment for democracy is shallow. For example in India 79 per cent people endorse democracy but 67 per cent people are also open to non-democratic setups. This appears to be a dangerous symptom particularly for democracy. Not only in India but also globally, the firm believers of democracy are very less as a majority of supporter are not committed to democracy (shallow commitment or open to non-democratic setups).

The major reason cited in the report is that people consider democratic setups in general as more corrupt. In democracies, people trust the military more than the ruling political parties. Many respondents perhaps felt that instead of a corrupt democratic setup, an effective autocratic or military rule would be better because decision making & implementation of policies will become fast. Many also cited the example of China. China being a dictatorial communist country takes decisions in the interest of the country in the minimum possible time. Such things are not possible in a democracy like India because government's decision will be opposed by the opposition parties. Even if government passes a law, it can be scrutinized by courts where the judiciary has the authority to reverse a law passed in the parliament as per its own interpretation. The courts nowadays even direct governments how to function. The Cuttack town is literally governed by the Odisha High Court which gives regular instructions to the government even on repairing roads, providing facilities, how to control traffic etc. Recently, the Kolkata High Court asked Union Home Ministry not to withdraw paramilitary forces from Darjeeling.

However, in India's context, I would say the PEW analysis might be fundamentally wrong. To explain it, I shall consider one of its data presentations. 

From the data one understands that a majority of people (77 per cent for representative democracy & 66 per cent for direct democracy) although endorse democracy, but are too open for non-democratic setups (71 per cent ruled by strong leader & 73 per cent ruled by military). But I think in the Indian context the analysis wouldn't be accurate. First, the people trust & respect the Indian military, but never would want a military rule established in the country. Ruled by strong leader in Indian context is that all wish for a strong prime minister like Indira Gandhi or Narendra Modi. Indians never opt for autocratic/dictatorial rule as conceived by PEW.

India is the only country in South Asia or among a handful of countries in the entire Asian continent to have sustained democracy post independence. One can cite the emergency era, but then, it was India's deep rooted democratic spirit that ensured the end of that dark era.

In conclusion, I would say that the people of India endorse representative democracy with a strong leadership.

The findings of the PEW survey might be OK in global context but in the context of Indian democracy the results & analysis are ambiguous. Despite a lot of odds, I would say Indian democracy is one of the best in the world. 

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 In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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