I, have no pretensions of being a subject expert and yet I appreciate with a very keen sense of prescience what the future holds for India. Even when I wear my positivity on my sleeve, today I find myself engulfed by a sense of extreme angst at the reality unleashed upon the people of India by a callous, indifferent, inefficient, arrogant and incompetent government, which has brought the people on their knees and who are now left only with the hope of deliverance coming from the Gods, in whom they repose their faith in, to save their lives from the jaws of death.
My writing here comes from an Indian, who is as much of whatsoever each is expected to be and is. It comes from my guts and is intended as an attempt at catharsis, on the utter self-inflicted disaster served to the people by the State of India. I, stand by what I write and make myself available to every ounce of bashing which may come my way from the readership of this scathing attack on the System which obtains in India.
Let's keep everything aside which is being written and has been written about the health emergency engendered by the tsunami of the covid19 second wave that, has literally devastated and caused irreversible loss of life in India. Even at the cost of being justly castigated and flayed for this lack of sensitivity on my part by the hordes of people who are extremely hurt, pained and justifiably angry at such a suggestion; I yet stick out my head and write this piece of serious portent which augurs further depredation for WE the people of India.
The parliamentary system of democracy, which we adopted when we became a Republic, after over 200 years of colonisation, has finally been thoroughly exposed and cocked a snook at the founding fathers of our Constitution. In the absence of social, economic, and educational equality; we gave to ourselves political equality, which empowered the marginalised sections of our society by enfranchising them. Democracy came rather too soon for us and that, when we as a Nation were woefully short of practicing and actualising the lofty credo given to the world by Abraham Lincoln.
Of, By and For the people. Despite it being predicated upon the most evolved form of government, which kept the people in all its dimensions, at the centre of its understanding, was not ideally suited for us then and may I dare say even now. Teeming population, poverty, economic disparity, existing social, caste and class faultlines in our society, illiteracy, tweaked and contrived understanding of secularism, sense of entitlement, perceivable divide between urban and rural India, pathetically poor choice of persons to choose from to represent us in the temples of democracy both at the Centre and the States and finally the unwillingness of educated persons to actively participate in politics, from the inside than just engage in it once in a while by casting our vote, maybe.
The political turf in the country was swept from under the feet of those who looked for governance by playing them against those who actually voted from the hinterlands and slums but were little concerned about governance. This game was artfully mastered by the politician and thus reduced to sheer numbers in a political system, which ensured victory to one who was first past the post. Winning an election at any of the three-tiered processes is now a matter of getting as few as 15% to 20% vote share of a constituency, whether for the legislative assembly or the parliament or even panchayat/ municipality. This reality decimates the very fundamentals of electing a popular politician by garnering as less as the above-mentioned share of the aggregate votes.
In a country as diverse and variegated as ours is, the winning formula was picked up post haste by the satraps of political parties and exploited to the hilt for gainful purposes. The hallowed intent of public service becoming the underlying reason for participating in active politics was shown the door and was brazenly substituted by position, power, and entitlement. Service towards the people reduced itself to an egocentric desire for practicing subterfuge on them and insulting their intelligence by testing the limits of their trust by poodle faking.
We, the people of India are indeed in a bind as to what should and could we do, to at least hope for a decent and dignified living, which does not put to sword our sangfroid at every step of claiming our constitutional and just rights from the government of the day. Our democracy and our political system have metamorphosed into a curse for its people, only because the DNA of our governance has mutated into a cesspool of corruption, incompetence, inefficiency and political and bureaucratic entitlement. A justful delivery of commonplace services by bottom tiered government departments has become a matter of extreme favour and privilege, for the common man.
This sustained and insidious reality, which continues to impact our life and living has introduced a huge element of helplessness and hopelessness into our lives and yet we find ourselves unable to make any midcourse corrections to better our condition. This more or less sums up our Democracy - a state of woeful self-pity and whining and bickering and nothing beyond non effective chatter. We lack the collective courage to challenge the existing system, by making our inability to show the mirror to the government of the day and asking for a Nationwide Referendum on the continuation of Parliamentary Democracy in the country.
When, after 25 years of suffering the consequences of coalition politics, we got a single party majority government at the Centre to take decisive actions which augured well for the country as a whole and its people; the Indian characteristic of gratuitous servility of the accompanying courtiers of the cabinet, parliamentarians and grass root party workers combined with a sense of haughty righteousness of all, created the existing Personality Cult which we get to see.
Before this, there was yet another who imposed emergency in the country. Both, hugely popular, strong willed, decisive, efficient and head strong but extremely delusional about their style of leadership. There were good things which happened during their times but that cannot be made into an argument to defend decisions which cost/costing the country dear.
While emergency was a rape of the Indian Constitution by one the other has done no better by being allegedly accused of mass murder falling short of a quasi-genocide, in these trying times of the second wave tsunami of covid19 pandemic. With, the count of a million deaths by August 2021 and the macabre prospect of being one of those millions, is living through a mega dose of unwanted anxiety. Is this that we had hoped for when we adopted the system of governance which we have.
Keeping the truth and facts about the massive bungling which has exposed the blindside of our nation's political reality, it is time for very seriously contemplating a demand for change of the very system, which has betrayed our hopes in the past 75 years of its existence. Today we get to see criminals, religious bigots, scoundrels, rascals, freeloaders, goondas, gangsters, sycophants and intellectually challenged people representing our interests by making laws and providing governance, which subsumes security, health, food, education, poverty alleviation and development etc to the people of India.
Without seeming pessimistic about our future prospects in all the vectors of governance, it is my unimpeachable belief that we shall continue to remain on the margins of mediocrity and despondency. "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors".
If, Pluto had seen it as early as he did when he lived, then how can all of us be so blinded that, we claim helplessness enveloping us to stand up and count. Revolutions in countries, in world history against unsuitable systems of governance were ushered in by popular public opinion and writers who sensed the pulse of the masses and I think we are on the threshold of such a happening. To sign off, I quote from Hemmingway " Today is one day of all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do Today".
About the Author
Brig. Sarvesh D Dangwal, VSM commissioned from IMA in 1971. Born into battle with 4 Garhwal Rifles, saw action in Jhangar, Naushera Sector in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Served in APTC for 25 years, was Comdt AIPT & DDGPT before retirement in 2008. Was instrumental in revision of entire system of PT and Testing of Army implemented in 1992 and obtaining till date. An avid reader and writer who freelances on diverse issues that impact civil society and especially those which concern the people of the hills of Uttarakhand.)