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Why Indians don't deserve democracy?
India and America are two of the greatest democracies in the world. And there the comparison ends. America is a superpower whereas India is an also-ran.

Even China is way ahead and well on its way to displacing America from its throne.  Of course, India is smaller than both China and America but we have had seven decades to transform into an economic superhouse. Smaller nations like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and the Far East nations like Singapore and Malaysia are doing much better. So what is stopping our country from achieving the heights it aspires to and which is well within its reach. The answer lies in its people.

As a people professing different faiths, speaking different languages and belonging to different cultures, we lack a sense of unity. This prevents us from choosing the right people who can lead us and our nation to glory. When we elect our leaders, we do so, on the basis of caste, region and religion, not on their merit. But that is not all. We expect accountability from our leaders when we ourselves are unwilling to take responsibility for our country. It has been nearly four years since Modi spoke of building a Swachch Bharat and yet even today, I see people spitting on the streets and urinating in public despite the presence of a toilet nearby. When I go to the park near my house I see college girls and little kids littering the ground with ice cream wrappers as their educated mothers look on indulgently. So much for Swachch Bharat.

Most Indians also believe that rules and laws are for other people. We jump red lights with abandon, overtake vehicles from the wrong side and talk on cell phones while driving. In Chennai, male students from a couple of colleges take over buses on the so-called Bus Day. They also carry lethal weapons with them, which they brandish openly, terrorising the public. On Diwali day, despite the SC order banning the bursting of loud firecrackers, people were bursting them well beyond the permitted time. This was the case in Delhi too where the air is so foul that people have to wear masks to venture outside.

In Sabarimala, the Supreme Court order allowing women between the ages of 10 – 50 to worship at the hill shrine was flouted by devotees who hindered the state from doing its court-mandated job. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and even powerful politicians and wealthy tycoons don't dare to mess with it. We kill our precious wildlife for attacking humans who encroach on their shrinking habitat.  We blithely reproduce like rabbits, despite knowing that the country simply cannot afford the pressure of an exploding population.

Though we can't call China a trusted friend of our nation, the truth is that we could learn many lessons from it. China focussed on the basics by controlling its population first. Its tactics to achieve this left much to be desired but the fact is that China had no other choice really. Today, having achieved its goals, the one-child policy has been revoked. In India, there are people, mostly in rural areas who have more than ten children despite lacking the resources to provide for even one. Sometimes, even rich and middle class people have four or five children.  One reason is the desire for a male child. But in literate states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, many couples nowadays are choosing  to have only one child, (I too have one child, a daughter) because the woman wants to pursue a career or because of limited resources.  There are also the DINKS – double income no kids couples. But it's just not enough. The longer we fail to curb our population the longer we fail to keep our tryst with destiny.  Since Sanjay Gandhi's forced sterilisation drive, most governments have shied away from addressing this problem. A concerted effort must be made, using a carrot and stick policy, to drive this message home, especially in the most populous states like UP, Bihar, etc. Having more than two kids is a crime against our nation.

Indians also suffer from a sense of entitlement. People who already have well-paying, secure jobs clamour for pensions, pay hikes and allowances, without wondering where the money is going to come from. Meanwhile, young people are jobless and farmers are committing suicide.  Do we care?   MPs and MLAs vote to give themselves huge salaries too, without the consent of the people who elect them. Nobody seems to protest. As long as the government caves in to our own demands, who cares about the deprived or the sorry state of the roads and the cities? Thus the rich get richer and the poor, poorer.

But the worst is when our leaders sink crores of public money to build useless statues and rename cities.  Who wants statues and new city names when people are dying of hunger, disease and poverty?  Yet none of us question this colossal waste of money or protest against it. Instead we are quite happy to protest over 'jallikkattu' and 'Sabarimala', holding governments to ransom. There is enough money and resources in our country to create better lives for everyone. But it is not being spent where it is most needed. Like schools, hospitals, jobs and infrastructure.

Democracy works only when the people truly care about their country and are willing to make, voluntarily, the sacrifices that are required to make it great. As of now, Indians don't seem to deserve it. We have neither the self-discipline nor the pride – in our nation - to make it happen. As for our leaders they are either too obsessed with our past or busy passing the buck and playing blame games. We need to realise that the first step to transforming our country begins with each of us. Then India will not need authoritarian leaders like Xi Jinping or Lee Kuan Yew to make her great.

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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