Imbalance in Indian Democracy: cultural, political, and economic equality?

Introduction:

The Founding fathers of Indian constitution had chosen the parliamentary Democracy for the governance of the India. The basic foundation of democracy was to maintain the equality in the society and to create an environment where the civil society of the country would be in the position to critically engage in social issues. The civil society was given much importance due to the fact that it plays the crucial role in governing the charge against the totalitarian form. Somewhere in Indian democracy the root problem exist in the gap between the power and people. The power that rested with the centre and the states was far from the civil society at ground level.

India, being the largest democracy in the world, is yet to achieve the true spirit of democracy. The imbalance that exists within the different parts of democracy in India has made the nation’s democratic form of government a child to adopt and learn the implementation of democracy with its true meaning. Through this paper we would try to find out the imbalance which exists in the Indian democracy by criticising the components which makes it up.

The Imbalance:

Democracy in India stands on the foundation of Equality in cultural, political, and economical aspects. The concept of equality was laid down in our constitution by the founding fathers and believed it to run efficiently in the working of our democracy. The political form of democracy makes an impression that the people in power are accountable to those who implement it. But political democracy doesn’t make any sense if there is no existence of social equality, in a society which has numerous divided castes and hierarchy between rich and poor, then at that place the true meaning of democracy is not eventually implemented to the extent of balancing the equality where reach of being heard for an individual is not at the same level.[1] Even though the equality is guaranteed by Indian constitution in very clear and unambiguous terms, still there exists the imbalance on the basis of accessibility of democratic rights in equal manner to individuals of civil society. The house of representatives is nowadays seemed to be the house of multimillionaires who has made the system adaptive to their whims, so electing for an individual not belonging to such an affluent family or belonging to the marginalised part of the society, has hardly any chance to make it to platform .[2]

Democracy is regarded as the rule of majority that is again depend upon the interpretation of majority, literal meaning of majority may not be true in the Indian context of democracy, because of the multi-party system and direct election of one who gets the highest votes, a representative could win even if he/she has less than 50% of the total votes and therefore this system does not ensure whether the representative elected has the mandate of majority or not.[3] Hung assembly and a coalition of parties is the order of the day in many state elections, these coalitions could be before the polls or after it, which again if collated after the polls deifies the mandate of the majority since these coalitions are unstable and could break in between which ultimately burdens the civil society with the pending tasks, a recent example of which being the alliance of BJP-PDP (2014) in the state of J&K (Presently the UT of J&K, UT of Ladakh)  which broke later in 2018 and ultimately became a burden on the civil society who were under the rule of Governor and then president.[4]

Since there a exist gap between the power and the marginalised part, there are people who still try to bridge this gap by working for the them and ultimately rescue them from their crisis, these people at large belong to the affluent-rich part of the society and subsequently the marginalised people start working in their elite corporation, which is same as the corporation rule and ultimately the core of the fascism.[5] This imbalance sometimes leads to the insurgency and violence in the different parts of the nation, so instead of finding out the key to resolve them, the state uses military forces as recourse to suppress them again.[6] For instance in Nagaland, the state has been continuously using the armed forces to what they call “maintaining the peace” in Nagaland, instead of tracking the problems at the ground level, which consequently makes the entire function of democracy an ineffective one.

Cultural diversity of India has been the feature of development in Indian civilisation, but the cultural equality which the democracy assured has not yet fulfilled and the crack still prevails in the gigantic society of hierarchy created by the differences in the beliefs of the people and hence those treated unequally remained to be out of the line from typical mainstream life.[7] The very basis of the viability of democracy is the trust and belief of the citizens that they could bring upon the change in their lives by exercising this system but when this though becomes false, then the imbalance in democracy could be observed as the people who gave themselves this system of democracy ultimately finds themselves in the fascism regime. However to remove the social and cultural inequality, there were certain moves including the modernisation to weaken the inequality and to move towards the more egalitarian society, modernisation instead weakening, strengthened the boundaries of distinction which existed in the civil society. [8] The environment which is now formed due to cultural equality imbalance has excluded the large section of civil society and has created the apprehension of anti-democratic ambience within them.

Economic condition was not favourable for thriving democracy in the post-Independence India, since the condition left by the British rulers was not balanced in any way. The reach of education, employment, and medical infrastructure was beyond everyone’s equal treatment. Numerous policies and schemes were followed for balancing the inequality and to provide the economic justice to every citizen of the country.[9] But even after implementing the schemes and policies, India is yet far from achieving the balanced economic stature. The viability of the Indian democracy is contingent upon how quickly the state takes the recourse to give every citizen the equality at all the levels which democracy assures.[10]

The severe continuous contraction of space for the voice of civil society, media and the opposition has brought India to stand at the verge of losing the system of democracy, which is suggested by the report of Swedish V-Dem Institute 2020; the report further suggests that democratic system is declining in India but not collapse.[11] Unfortunately the principle of democracy in our country is accepted by everyone but the practise of the same is rarely visible.

Conclusion:

The country must not wait for too long to for balancing the democratic structure within the country, since the power is very far from the reach of the civil society. The corrective measures must be taken by the people itself to maintain the equality at all levels. Since in our democracy, the mandate is not limited to educated class and is comprehensive to the marginalized rural sector of the country i.e. the whole country. Citizens exercise their participation and seek equality with faith in the system.

“EVERYTHING IS known; and, yet not known. It is written down, but not revealed. If revealed, restricted. If not restricted, distorted. There is a right to be informed; but not of too much.”[12] Should this be the reason to go away? I think No, but actually trying to maintain the equality at all levels ideally be the way to make out the balance in the democracy. There are flaws in the system but certainly we cannot eliminate what we have because the democracy has been serving its vital purpose and since WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA gave ourselves this form of governance, must adhere to it and do everything possible to achieve the true meaning of democracy.

Bibliography:

Articles:

Surinder K. Shukla, “DEMOCRACY IN INDIA: ISSUES AND PROBLEMS”, available at: jstor.org/stable/41855711 (Last visited on 14 Aug 2020).

N. Panikkar, “DEMOCRACY DEFICIT”, available at: https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/article30176693.ece (Last visited on 14 Aug 2020).

Rajbir Singh Dalal, “RECENT TRENDS IN INDIAN POLITICS: AN INTROSPECTION”, available at: jstor.org/stable/41856599 (Last visited on 15 Aug 2020).

PRABHAT PATNAIK, “Neo-Liberalism and Democracy”, available at: jstor.org/stable/24479120 (Last visited on 15 Aug 2020).

Madhav Khosla, “India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy” available at: http://bostonreview.net/law-justice/ashutosh-varshney-what-we-can-learn-indias-improbable-democracy (Last visited on 16 Aug 2020).

Rajeev Dhavan, “INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY IN INDIA.” Available at: jstor.org/stable/43951978 (Last visited on 17 Aug 2020).

H. Hanson, “Factionalism and Democracy in Indian Politics” available at: www.jstor.org/stable/40394057 (Last visited on 16 Aug 2020).

[1] Surinder K. Shukla, “DEMOCRACY IN INDIA: ISSUES AND PROBLEMS”, available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41855711 (Last visited on 14 Aug 2020).

[2] K. N. Panikkar, “DEMOCRACY DEFICIT”, available at: https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/article30176693.ece (Last visited on 14 Aug 2020).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Rajbir Singh Dalal, “RECENT TRENDS IN INDIAN POLITICS: AN INTROSPECTION”, available at: www.jstor.org/stable/41856599 (Last visited on 15 Aug 2020).

[5] PRABHAT PATNAIK, “Neo-Liberalism and Democracy”, available at: www.jstor.org/stable/24479120 (Last visited on 15 Aug 2020).

[6] Supra Note 2.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Supra Note 5.

[9] A. H. Hanson, “Factionalism and Democracy in Indian Politics” available at: www.jstor.org/stable/40394057 (Last visited on 16 Aug 2020).

[10] Ibid.

[11]Madhav Khosla, “India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy” available at: http://bostonreview.net/law-justice/ashutosh-varshney-what-we-can-learn-indias-improbable-democracy (Last visited on 16 Aug 2020).

[12] Rajeev Dhavan, “INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY IN INDIA.” Available at: www.jstor.org/stable/43951978 (Last visited on 17 Aug 2020).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyansh Agarwal

IMG_20200922_201510

Priyansh is a second-year student at The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS). He has a keen interest in Constitutional Law. He can be reached at priyansh219024@nujs.edu.

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