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Politics in a Democratic Welfare State

In his ‘Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services’ (1942), Sir William Bevridge shared his notion of the welfare state and purpose of the welfare state. According to this, purposes were eradication of ‘want, squalor, ignorance, disease and illness, idleness.’ But Rabindranath Tagore’s thought of a state was different which contradicted the notion of welfare state. He thought a state should be a welfare society which would be framed on the basis of the inner strength of people and it might be the only source of happiness and bliss.

However, after the independence, India adopted a constitution of a democratic welfare state. Democracy is a political system or process to rule the nation with the principle of “by the people, for the people, of the people.”  Democratically  elected government is the principle organisation. Here people and political parties are the key actors. In this welfare state, government is strategically failed to eradicate the basic problems like poverty, hunger, ill-health, unemployment, justice, and equality. Rather  these have been become more prominent day by day, even after seven and half decades of its independence. It remembers Tagore’ suspect on a state. In relation to the failure of government, we could look through an analysis of Premchand Lal (one associate of Tagore) from his ‘Reconstruction and Education in Rural India'(1932). – ‘Most of us who try to deal with poverty problem think of nothing but a greater intensive effort of production, forgetting that this only means exhaustion of materials, as well as humanity. This only means giving exaggerated opportunity for profit to a few, at the cost of the many. It is food which nourishes not money; it is fullness of purse.

Multiplying materials intensifies the inequality between those who have and those have not, and this deals a fatal wound to the system, through which whole body is eventually bled to death.”According to us, the poverty problem is not the most important, problem of unhappiness is the greatest problem. Wealth, which is the synonym for the production and collection of things, men can make use ruthlessly. They can rush life out of the earth and flourish. But happiness, which may not compete with wealth in its lists of materials, it is final: it is creative, therefore it has its sources of richness within itself.’

It echoes the present-day status of the Indian democracy. This people’s democracy has given political rights to its residents. But other parts of it is mostly weak and poor.India’s multi-parties democracy is influential to raise different political parties with different political philosophy. But the goal and purposes are same to liberate people to promote prosperity of the nation. Same nation, same people, and same purpose is being dealt by different political parties. Unfortunately, no political party in rule has been reached to the very purpose of a welfare state.It has been witnessed that people’s suffering is the key advantage of political gain.

Political parties are making division, disintegration and non-cooperation in any situation among the people. When one’s opinion/decision would not match to be treated as opponent who uses to oppose everything and every time whatever might be the situation. Whether left or right, every group uses to publicize, it is doing better than other. Opponents in any form everywhere are mistreated and deprived of expression of freedom, liberty, justice. This political division makes a bad culture of dependents on the particular political party, specially in rule. It is far beyond the process of making self-reliant.

Common mas of this democracy are rarely taught about the political philosophy of different political parties. But they are silently injected the division of inter/intra relationship in everyday life.Only political gain has become the ultimate gain of politics. It is cyclical in nature to all political parties whether in rule or in opposition. Interest of larger is being ignored and disrespected, while political purpose becomes the largest to all the political parties in India. There is always a political competition among these political parties for gaining power and authority.

According to the philosophy, method of action of a political party may be varied. But it is hardly adjudged and accepted for the sake of the largest interest of the larger section. That’s why, people of this democracy have to face religious division, economic and socio-cultural division, and they are victims of not belongings to the political interest group. The problem/crisis is the most wanted to the political parties for a gain. People’s well-being in a welfare state is always in darkness.This political division is the cause of division among people at grassroots. There are lots of discrepancies in selecting beneficiaries of welfare schemes.

The progress of the nation is confined within the vocabulary of the political leaders. People of this democracy have been transformed into the puppets of problems, unhappiness, and so forth. Is it the greatness of a welfare state? Is it not inferiorization of the democracy? Would we not think for a welfare society according to Tagore’s thinking of state?

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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