Democracy is the triumph of the common sense of man. Since the days of Aristotle. democracy has been the ideal of political philosophers and since the French Revolution, democracy has been the ideal form of government for all nations.
It is still accepted as the most radical and progressive form of administration, yet invented in the human world. Its high ideal of the government of the people, by the people and for the people presupposes the very popular basis and the welfare activities of a democratic government. A democratic government is run by the elected to represent the lives of the people.
Ignorant and starving people are hardly capable of forming sound judgement before casting their votes. They are likely to be guided by caste communal, sectarian and regional considerations. But the doubts were proved wrong. During the first twenty years of Independence, four general elections were conducted freely and fairly.
People, though poor, backward and illiterate, showed their political maturity in the matter of choosing their Representatives. Democracy during this period worked satisfactorily. Rot Set in after the general election of 1967. The lure of power made some to deviate from the democratic path and resort to undemocratic methods to Consolidate their position.
The achievement of leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri, a tiny giant were lost and his policy of self-discipline and self-reliance were soon forgotten during the leadership that followed his tragic death. Politics of convenience has replaced politics of principles.
All that glitters is not gold in the present day democracy in India. It is plagued with so many ills. trolled by parties. The working of democracy is naturally controlled by political parties. There has been a mushroom growth of political outfits, having no clear and definite aim or policy.
The working of these outfits is far from satisfactory. Many of these outfits are individual-centred and have no or just one or two representatives in parliament and yet they claim to be All India parties. Whenever the personal interests of such individuals suffered, they caused splits in their original parties and formed their own outfits.
This gave birth to the politics of defections. Such duals changed their loyalties whenever it suits them. The enactment Of anti-Defection Law has failed to produce the desired results. The defection of an individual M.P. or M.L.A. has been replaced by the defection of groups of M.Ps. or MLAs.
A democracy gives our laws many loopholes through which miscreants escape. The guiding principle of many politicians of, today is ‘All is fair in love, war and politics’.
Even the big parties suffer from the ills of disunity, scramble for power, fondness for cheap popularity and utter irresponsibility. Democracy cannot deliver its great gifts in a big country like India where the parties lack integrity discipline and the sense of responsibility.
Ambitious and opportunist politicians are found eager to cross floors to gain power or position. Such politicians are doing so much damage to the Indian democracy that even Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, the former President of India, had to voice his concern at the ugly state of affairs in Indian politics and to suggest two or three party system in the country in his latest Speech telecast on T.V.
To circumvent the judgement of Allahabad High Court in declaring the Indira Gandhi’s election to the parliament null and void, an Internal Emergency was clamped in the country. Indian democracy got a big jolt because of this action of the ruling party.
Fundamental rights were curbed, the press was gagged and judiciary was subordinated and all democratic checks on parliament were thrown into the air. Cruelties were perpetrated on the peaceful demonstrator and lakhs of people were thrown in the prison.
That was the black period in the history of Indian democracy. This period of Agony and torture ended after the installation of Sh. Marji Desai as the Prime minister. The democratic right was restored to the people. This government Could not last for long because of a split in the Janata party which was the result Of efforts of some selfish and ambitious politicians of the day.
With the return to power of Mrs Indira Gandhi started an era of corruption Nagarwala case is yet fresh in the memory of politically conscious people. Scams and scandals took place one after the other. Bofor Scandal, securities scam urea scam, Hawala scam, Jharkhand MP’s scam fodder scam, etc came to light and rocked the country.
CBI has performed the art of the ruling party, Judiciary has done pretty little to punish the scamesters. The press is free in name only. The press-barons happen to Be multi-millionaires. There has been a nexus between the owners of the Newspapers and the government.
The role of the press in India has all along been biased and subjective. The governments prior to the existing one talked tall on the issue of eradicating corruption but never brought a Lok Pal Bill in the parliament on one pretext or the other. This curse of corruption is eating into the very vitals of our country and hampering the healthy growth of democracy.
The situation has, of late, taken a turn for the worse. Parliament and State Legislatures are losing their sanctity and becoming arenas for rowdism free fight and lung-power. Criminals, too, have managed to enter august bodies. Every now and then they create unseemly scenes in the chambers.
They defy the presiding officer’s orders and even snatch papers from their hands. Rowdyism and the use of muscle-power shown by such element on the floors of U.P. assembly, Tamil Nadu Assembly and also in the parliament have brought a bad name to Indian democracy.
Such elements with criminal background carry the law of the street into the well of the house. The situation prevailing outside the chambers is highly disgusting and disappointing. Law and order are virtually at ransom in the hands of terrorists and militants who eliminate government officials and generate an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among the people.
Defective electoral system needs immediate improvements. The cre dentials of candidates need to be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to contest. No candidate should be allowed to spend more than the prescribed limit.
Strict watch on this count is badly required. Many candidates give bribes to the voters. They even serve liquor to lure them. Thus votes are bought and sold. Black-money exchanges hands. Such behaviour of the candidates and the voters speak of moral degeneration.
Democracy can flourish only if the administration is sincere and pro-people. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy is arrogant and unresponsive to the hopes and aspirations of the people. It is known for its red-tape and corrupt practices. It lacks work-ethic. Indian bureaucracy must be made emergency nature.
Despite these stumbling-blacks in the path of Indian democracy, there no reason to be pessimistic. Indian democracy has already withstood The cure for the ills of democracy lies in more democracy. The democratic plant in India is still very tender.
It has to be nurtured and strengthened with great care. It is to be achieved through the practice of tolerance and moderation in principle and practice. A healthy sense of vice and sacrifice is to be developed to make the working of democracy really vigorous and effective in India. Nothing should be done to shake People faith of democracy.
Only the Government does not constitute democracy. The mere election is not Its life and blood. Masses have also some norms to observe. People should be elevated. For a successful democracy, we must educate the masses.
An educated voter is a boon for the country. We must have eternal We must perform our duties honestly. We should tolerate other People views. We should have faith in justice for all. We should inculcate self-discipline.
Integrity, imagination, patriotism, tolerance and energy must be resent in the leadership of the country. So far the leadership has let down be masses because leadership suffered from a number of weaknesses.