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New Year, New India?
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Delhi’s new Chief Minister Mr. Arvind Kejriwal on the day he was sworn into office said: “Harsh Vardhan is a good man… I appeal to all Congress and BJP leaders that if your really feel what we are doing is good for the nation, forget your party and join our struggle.”
With all due respect none of the three protagonists can even remotely realize their declared objectives unless there are drastic systemic reforms. Over and above the micro reforms being talked about what the nation needs is a systemic overhaul without which good governance will continue to elude us despite the best efforts of Mr. Modi, Mr. Gandhi or Mr. Kejriwal.
What might be these basic fundamental reforms required to make progress?
Without two major fundamental political reforms India will never achieve good governance or national greatness, however competent a Prime Minister might be. The first reform relates to the integrity of our democratic system. The second relates to our identity as a nation. As often written our Constitution was subverted from day one due to the whims of Jawaharlal Nehru. Our written Constitution does not replicate the Westminster system of governance as obtains in Britain. Our first President Rajendra Prasad and Nehru disputed this. Unfortunately Nehru prevailed. Now the need is for India to reclaim its Constitution by reinterpreting it and by following it in letter and spirit. Our distorted interpretation of the Constitution and neglect of several of its key provisions precludes all possibility of an effective executive which might administer the nation. The President’s role, the establishment of an Inter State Council to demarcate federal responsibility, and the introduction of genuine Panchayati Raj allowing for rational decentralization of power as specified in the Constitution will have to be revised if we ever seek effective governance.
With loss of identity there is loss of national purpose. That is why our system has become distorted.
State governments dictate foreign policy and the central government interferes in state subjects. To reclaim the spirit of Hindustan we will have to reclaim our national identity and ethos by undoing the spirit though not the legality of the Partition. This can be accomplished by recreating Hindustan in the avatar of a South Asian Union allowing free movement of goods and peoples across borders between India and Pakistan, between India and Bangladesh, India and Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, India and Bhutan and between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The European Union presents a model to emulate.
How can it come about?
The Congress is in decline and in crisis. AAP is yet a fledgling organization although it might have caught the nation’s imagination. The BJP remains the front runner for the general election of 2014. Clearly the responsibility to initiate moves for a consensus dialogue among parties and groups devolves upon BJP President Mr. Rajnath Singh. Can he with his senior party colleagues rise above current politics and take the long term view of national interest? Can they look beyond the 2014 election to the nation’s future national interest and act?
After the Arab Spring I wrote that a similar democratic revolution must also come to India. The idea of this happening was dismissed out of hand. Can it be denied that today the hope and desire for change that has swept across the nation makes such a peaceful revolution possible? When the time for an idea comes, nobody can stop it. Therefore one urges India’s leaders to rise to the occasion and seize the moment. They can make 2014 India’s year of destiny.
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Dinesh Kumar Bohre
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