Recent gesture and posture of the government of democratic India reminds the warnings of Alexander Fraser Tytler, a Scotish historian, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
Thus, Lord Tytler, identified “eight stages of democracy” as mentioned above as the life cycle of democracy. Del Dickson (2014) critically explores the life cycle of democracies. He opined that the People’s Government is premised on the idea that democracy is based on two fundamental rights: freedom and liberty. He discusses ‘five dimensions to define and distinguish democratic societies: rights, participation and representation, inclusion, equality, and power. Liberal democracies emphasize individualism, negative rights, representative government, inclusive citizenship, equal opportunity, and limited government. Free democracies stress community, positive rights, direct participation, exclusive citizenship, equal outcomes and robust government.’ Then, whether Indian democracy is liberal or free democracy?
Factually, in India democracy, freedom to vote has become the primary right. So, people of India live theoretically (particularly during the election time) in a democratic country. It reflects truly that Indian(voter) has any control over government employees, government funds, government policies. Is it only a democracy of elections to elections? Indian democracy is determined as if a relationship between elections and electorates. ‘After winning an election, the parties become brazen and arrogant. They participate in formation of a government. Is this democracy? Just vote once in five years and then plead before the same people who one voted to power? Or plead before the officials who take the salary out of your taxes? The government works according to its political will. Is it a people’s government?
But this political party based government violates itself its democratic rule. We see that it ignores its responsibilities towards people. It usually forgets its democratic nature. It makes people dependent on the political party rather than independent people’s government.
Abraham Lincoln’s viewed “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” But ‘democracy has become such a sacrosanct concept that evens the harshest dictatorships’, while it is a living system of government. Here, ‘politicians believe that voters cannot be trusted with the truth, democracy is seriously at risk.’ Respect to the people is the essential to a government. Recent times, the BJP led government of India is trying to enact the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens ignoring the protest from almost all corners against the same. Another important issue, the economic recession of the country is being suppressed by the government and deliberately it presents wrong information and promises on the same.
In India, it has been observed that political accountability of the government is confined within the particular political parties ruled the government. Affiliated members of particular political parties have no voice against anti-people programmes. They are committed to support their parties even when the party takes anti-people’s acts. They have to publicize and campaign it among commons. Opponents usually get fewer privileges and opponents always raise voice against the government and it is their policy to revive for establishing another people’s government, while same things would repeat. It is very unfortunate of democracy. No party does rightful duties towards the nation and its people. That’s why, after more than seven decades of the independence, suffering of the majority increases due to lack of political accountability in the people’s government.
Further, social accountability of the people’s government get less priority. Here political party workers play a major role, and common masses have no participation because of not getting importance rather if they share opinion against any work they have to face unnecessary harassment. Therefore, various programmes from construction/repairing roads, drainage and other local level public works are mostly drained of public revenues comparing to the quantity and quality of works for which budget allocation is made. If people’s government fails to strengthen public monitoring or social accountability, may it be considered as the function of the democratic government?
Present crisis of the nation is enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizen ignoring the protest and violence of a significant section against it. The BJP-led NDA government is adamant to break the India’s secular nature, and it is just a religious threat to the minority (Muslim). It (mis) leads people according to its own purpose like as the capitalist or the corporate.
At last, it could view that Indian democracy ‘must die’ and the prediction of Tytler would be true in the very near future.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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