The Indian media is free. But India's politicians are freer. On Thursday journalists seeking clarification on a rape charge leveled against an MLA were brutally beaten up by the politician and his goons. The media was shocked by this brazen assault. It shouldn't be. Had media paid less attention to birthdays of Ashwariya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan ' however legitimate such news might be in normal times ' and noted the crumbled system around us, it would have perceived a crisis no less grim than war. Very often a sick man is the last to realize that he faces the danger of death. Today, does Indian democracy face real danger of death?
The democratic system in India has virtually collapsed. Without the rule of law ' even bad law -- not only is there no democracy: there is no state. Society evolves into a state when its citizens are assured laws under which they might be governed. When for all practical purpose laws cease to exist there is left no state -- whether democratic or totalitarian. The nation sinks into chaos. It invites eventual disintegration. Is that happening to India?
India is ruled by politicians, as it should be in a democratic system. But what kind of politicians? How do they react to a major crime? They order prompt action. And what might that be? Why, a state wide bandh of course, one that harasses and punishes thousands of innocent citizens. Bihar witnessed such a bandh yesterday in protest against the assault on journalists. Politicians promise punishment to the perpetrator of the crime. And what might that be? Why, to attempt defeating in the polls the political dispensation which is thought to have patronized the crime.
Recently Jayalalithaa accused Karunanidhi's son of attempting to murder her. Mamata Banerjee accused the CPI-M in Bengal of attempting to murder her. Raj Thackeray accused the Shiv Sena of trying to murder him. Earlier Mayawati had accused unnamed political opponents of attempting to murder her. One can go on and summon more examples. There are leading politicians at the central and state level who have actually been convicted for murder. This is the class of people who are the custodians of democracy.
Recently a High Court judge said in court that politicians do not deserve security arrangements because they are not national assets. He went on to add that if politicians are afraid of citizens they should stay at home. The poor misguided Judge! Of course the politicians require security arrangements. They are under serious and constant threat from each other!