Saturday, May 19, 2012

Democracy : India's Achilles' Heel?

Here is an interesting debate Is democracy India's Achilles' heel?.

I liked the format which had enough debate in between and plenty of time to make points. Yet, as debates usually go, a lot of interesting speeches but not enough 'actionable' items.

The gist of arguments for the motion included closed, corrupt, and criminalized democracy causing havoc. The arguments against the motion point to elections at local levels, women's empowerment, India remaining steadfastly democratic in a chaotic region. People talked about China being 3/4 times bigger economy and investors losing faith in India.

Clearly, plenty to think about.

A few months back I sat in protest supporting Anna Hazare. I felt compelled because modern-day corruption has become gigantic in scale (compares with the Central Government's budget), \has become deeply entrenched (babu's ask for percentage, not bahksheesh/gratuity), and is more pervasive. Where could I voice my concern? My MP (Suresh Kalmadi) was in jail himself on charges of corruption! In any case, we barely see our representatives if ever. So, as a citizen of India I barely feel my vote counts or my voice is heard.

Then, I see the India economic momentum faltering. And I ask the question, as many would be asking, how can/should I make a positive contribution? When political discourse is largely rhetorical, and devoid of integrity and media is largely hijacked by corporate houses, when our representatives aren't accountable through their full term I do not feel democracy in my life. 

But I have no birthright to democracy. As I have no birthright to freedom. Freedom has to be earned by being aware and asserting it. So with democratic rights. Then again there is the din of 1.2 billion voices cannot be heard unless the message is worthy and it is presented in palatable ways.

That then is the task ahead of us. As folks lucky to have received education and exposure it is important to articulate and create forums to discuss key issues. Countries go to dogs when countrymen think it has and do nothing about it. 

No short term fixes here. 

Ideas have impact. Ideas change the world. They have. In front of our own eyes. Ideas need momentum to be heard, appreciated, and translated into action.

Ideas on redesigning Indian democracy are needed. Need thoughts. Need action.

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