Indian Republic @ 60 - Political Reflections
The Indian Republic completed sixty years of existence as the world’s largest democracy in the world, which by itself is a significant and remarkable milestone and achievement. It becomes remarkable because in the entire Asian landscape there is no parallel. China may well be on the path to become a superpower and surpasses India in economic terms. But the crucial issue is as to at what cost China stands out ahead of India. China has achieved its present stature by being an authoritarian Communist state in which state-repression has been the keynote of governance besides the ethnic and cultural genocide in Tibet of a spiritual nation subjected to Chinese enslavement. The Indian Republic can comparatively hold its head high in the comity of nations as a Republic which right at the outset gave priority to political freedoms to its people over economic freedoms brought about by social suppression and prison slave labor as done by China.. The Indian Republic @ 60 therefore has a lot to be proud of. Attendant on this moment of pride are also the imperatives of introspection and reflections as to what requires improvement.
The first reflection that comes to mind is India’s political governance and the quality of India’s politicians and here the point that needs to be made right at the outset is that if India stands on the verge of becoming a significant global player and a resurgent economic State, it is not because of high quality governance or exemplary political leadership. India has surged ahead despite indifferent governance and a declining political setup where corruption is the order of the day
The Republic has surged ahead on the shoulders of its industrialists, businessmen and middle-class professionals and the Republic’s backbone being strengthened by its disciplined Indian Armed Forces who time and again doused external and internal fires and challenges to the Indian Republic brought about by India’s political leader’s misperceived policies or lack of policies especially where national security was concerned.
The moral fiber of the Indian politicians has totally eroded as compared to the political leaders of the generation which founded the Republic. Political leaders then rose to the top by years of selfless political and social service and graduating from district level politics to State-level before being found fit for inclusion at India-level politics. There was inner-party level democracy in all political parties and dissent was viewed in healthy terms. Today none of the political parties hold organizational elections, Chief Ministers are nominated by Party High Commands and the Central Cabinet abounds in tainted ministers included on grounds of political expediency.
Political discourse and political sniping is shorn of basic political propriety and resembles the vocabulary of the most detestable sections of society. Decency is thrown to the winds and the Parliament and Legislature proceedings at times degenerate into gutter street brawls.
On the founding of the Indian Republic, India’s civil bureaucracy on whose shoulders depended the administration of this vast and varied land was an admired lot and as the British colonial rulers termed it rightly as ‘India’s Steel Frame ‘ which held the country together. In the 60th year of the Indian Republic, India’s civil bureaucracy, the ‘India’s Steel Framework’, has rusted, crumbled and degenerated into a highly corrupt set-up despised by the average Indian.
The Indian Republic today is shackled by an unholy politicians-civil bureaucrat’s network for which it is not that India matters or India’s rise to global stardom but personal enrichment and perpetuation of their individual political dynasties. India’s politicians corruption could have been arrested or minimized had India’s civil service bureaucrats had the nerve and integrity to stand up to their political masters. Regrettably this highly self-propagated superior service has become willing accomplices to political corruption and stake-holders in the rampant corruption.
Against this dismal background, India at large does not lose hope and is still optimistic that despite this unholy politician-bureaucratic nexus weighing down India’s generation of its full potential, India would still surge ahead as it has done in the last 60 years of the Indian Republic. The Indian Republic’s strengths lie in the strength and optimistic buoyancy of its citizens.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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