Thursday, November 6, 2008

DEMOCRACY, HOPE AND INDIA

Barack Obama's victory in the Presidential elections has given a lot of hope to people all over the globe. I had written about this yesterday in my other blog. How can an American election bring hope to people in our country??

Our's is the largest democracy in the world and the US is the most powerful democracy in the world. Democracies are, as so aptly described by Abraham Lincoln, 'of the people, by the people, for the people'. The American election gives hope to all the people who had resigned themselves to be second class citizens in any society based on caste, religion, colour or any other form of human prejudice. It has given the underdogs the hope that anything is possible in a democracy.

However, there are pre-conditions to the anything happening and these pre-conditions are as follows:
- One has to believe in democracy
- One has to have faith in the power of the ballot
- One has to instil the same faith in as many people as one realistically can
- One has to play by the rules
- One has to rise above narrow considerations of caste, religion, colour (crc), and have a vision that encompasses the hopes, aspirations and problems of all ordinary citizens
- One has to work tirelessly to achieve the desired goal
- One has to build bridges and, more importantly, bring down walls built by the others
- One has to believe in him/ herself
- One has to believe in the goodness of the human race irrespective of crc
- One has to have an inclusive agenda

Can you think of any other pre-requisites??????

I know of one Indian politician who is working on some of these principles; who also comes from the underdogs, and is presently the Chief Minister of UP - Ms Mayawati. She started with an exclusive agenda but has become most inclusive after coming to power this time. She has got a number of things right, if you think about it.

Can we Indians realise the Power of 'unite and rule' rather than 'divide and rule'???

Will the underdogs in India HOPE to steer the destiny of OUR country??? What agenda would they like to follow??

We have seen a roadmap in terms of the American elections.

10 comments:

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi JPJ :)

Very interesting post!

We all know that colored Americans are holding the American flag very high in the sports field by their outstanding performances.

Probably, the first man to hold an important post in the American Armed forces is General Collin Powel.

In keeping with this trend, it is only natural that it is the turn of the dynamic Obama to be elected by the American people to their President.

India, as you said, is the largest democracy in the world. But it cannot be compared to America. We are a highly deversified people under one banner --different languages, different food habits, different religions, different dresses, different cultures etc. We were warring with each other before the British came.

After Independence, we did not become a purely democratic country, but adopted something called Socialist Democracy.

We are more interested in our rights and we shirk our responsibilites. We are sending unmanned space craft to the moon while a staggering portion of the population is suffering from hunger and poverty.

We can spit on the roads, throw waste paper any where etc. without any qualm of conscience.

The recent violence in Maharastra on north Indians is an example to show that we can never live to gether peacefully as citizens of one country.

Look at the number of political parties on the basis of language alone. DMK,ADMK,TELUGU DESAM, SHIV SENA,AKALI DAL etc.

America has just two parties. Look at the number of political parties we have. You and me can start a party :) :) :)

We have so many public sector undertakings and nationalised banks and insurance companies in India.

Therefore,India cannot become like America. I am sure of this.

Many thanks for the fantastic post.

Have a wonderful day :)

D said...

Another pre-requisite is the presence of a good leader that would make us want to believe in democracy!

Also, you say Mayawati is getting the formula right. I disagree because:
1. She hasn't risen above caste, religion politics and is still playing the Dalit card.
2. She DOESN'T play by the rules if they aren't made by her!
3. Building bridges? Where and for whom. I know only of one that she's built over a nullah that used to exist near S.C.Mishra's house in Lko!!
4. I'm still waiting to be included in here agenda.

All that you've listed is too much to ask of any Indian politician!!

J P Joshi said...

JP: Thank you for your comments and also for sharing your views.

I agree that India and the US cannot be compared. The US is called a melting pot and India has been likened to a bouquet of assorted flowers - each flower with its own fragrance, colour, feel and looks, and this helps the bouquet to look more beautiful than the individual flowers. A melting pot on the other hand helps make parts merge without any distinction creating one unified fragrance, taste, colour and feel.

I am not sure what is more appealing, but I prefer the diversity that India represents.

It would be instructive to read the American history to get a perspective on the evolution of the US democracy, and that is the reason I feel that the election of Obama is such a big deal. One needs to read about the exploits of the early settlers against the native Americans; the civil war to rid them of the scourge of slavery; the segregation policies, by law, until the 60s; and so on. The US democracy has come a long way and is what it is today because of the belief that the American people had in the concept of democracy.

I do believe we are not perfect as a democracy but we can have no better system of governance given our huge and varied diversity. We the people need to have faith in the wisdom that is enshrined in our Constitution.

J P Joshi said...

D: You are right. We definitely need a good leader - that is the one thing that we lack - we do have all the infrastructure of democracy in place. We have a majority of people who believe in democracy, we have institutions that make it work. Imagine all our transfer of powers from one government to another. Please donot underestimate the strength of our institutions.

We had Atal Bihari Vajpayee but his age was not on his side. We have Somnath Chatterjee but again too old, and now party less too. We have the younger generation that is not interested in politics, because of our belief that politics is only bad. Everything in this universe has duality. You can use it for common good or for personal agenda, that is the choice. Nothing is inherently good or bad - depends how you choose to use it. You can use the atom to light up people's homes, or to destroy this planet. What do you want to use it for??????

I am no great fan of Mayawati but find that she is the only one who is moving towards the right direction (she has a long way to go though) - the others are all moving towards exclusion, whereas she is moving towards inclusion. All parties are miles away from the goal but only the party moving in the right direction would be able to traverse the distance.

Can the younger generation throw up some good leaders to lead us??? I am hopeful!!!.

Balvinder Singh said...

JP, frankly speaking, when Rabri Devi became CM of Bihar, that indicated true democratic spirit of our country that even a housewife, not having any knowledge of dirty politics could sit on the CM's chair. But what happened after that was catastrophic for the state due to mis management.

The world is reacting too fast to the election of Obama as US president. And we Indians have already started comparing him with our own Mayawati. While i wish all the best to Obama in his new assignment but the proceedings of today's world are too complex to be predicted so soon.

J P Joshi said...

Balvinder: Obama is a very inspiring leader - he has shown us that with his election. However, we need to wait and watch his performance once he sits on the hottest seat on this planet - the chair of the President of the most powerful nation on this planet.

He is selecting his team with great care and in a spirit of bipartisanship. I can only predict that either he will be a grand success OR a total failure, like Ms Rabri Devi. I wish him well because he has to undo a lot of the problems that have been created by his predecessor in the past decade or so.

Ajit said...

Hi JPJ,
Though Mayawati has got a number of things right, she is just not what India needs at this moment.
Her caste based politics might work in UP but I sincerely believe that India is going the wrong way when we bring caste and religion into the equation.
Also we need a leader who believes in Industrialization and growth as that is the only way we can bring people out of poverty.
For the same reasons mentioned above, I would not "EVER" vote for a single candidate of the CPI(M) even though I am from Kerala!
Good Post!!

J P Joshi said...

Ajit: I agree with you. I am no great fan of Mayawati but she is the only one who is moving towards an inclusive agenda; India needs to move ahead with all constituents agreeing on the direction, if not all, then atleast the majority - the majority is still rural based and have problems that are not fathomable to us city dwellers.

I too believe the way forward is through industrialisation and growth. I am praying and hoping for a leader of the younger generation being thrown up in the next general election. Does the younger generation have faith in democracy?? Are the right people willing to take up politics as a national calling?

I was thrilled when the IITians formed the paritran party, i even volunteered to help them in their administrative work but haven't heard anything further. Democracy needs dedication and commitment by a few, not for personal reasons but, for the common good. I believe, youth can bring about this change.

Indian Home Maker said...

I also think we need a unifier like Obama for India. What we need is also someone new, young with fresher ideas ... blogged about it too, but till nobody who we all love and respect and consider a good leader :(

Nice blog :)

J P Joshi said...

IHM: Thank you for your comment. I too am hoping for the younger generation to take over the reins of our country - only youth can bring about change and freshness, like you say. I am a born, diehard optimist and am sure India will throw up some one who will make us proud. My blogging exposure tells me that there are many young Indians seething at the happenings today and they have the passion too. Hopefully this will translate into action in a positive way. I believe it will.