The end of Democracy in India ?

If only 40% of the eligible voting population in a country bothers to vote, then is the country truly democratic ? Whatever government comes to power, it has a mandate from less than half the people. It’s truly a government by default.
First the politicians and media have absolutely no right to blame the electorate. I do not believe in the statement that ” it’s the apathy of the people that gives them a government they deserve”.
Second the arrogant attitude of some of our media stars that expressed ‘outrage’ at the low voting turn out , after “all they did to pursude them to do so” in Mumbai, should learn that while they can drive people to the cinemas, the people have little faith in their intellectual or political understanding beyond entertainment. Not everyone gets their picture o page 3 when they vote.
Third, how many times do the people of India need to come out and say ” WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICS ANYMORE”. The Mumbaikers did not vote not because they went away for a long weekend, nor because of the sweltering heat, but because none of the candidates made a substantial stand that aroused their passions, their desire to better the political system. I remember how the people of India came out in droves to vote to end the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, or who came out in droves again to re instate her when they were unhappy. Or when they came out in droves to vote for Rajiv Gandhi after Indira’s assassination.
We are a passionate feeling people that respond to our emotion, to our community. We need a leader to arouse those passions in us, someone to believe in, someone that we can trust that has the power, the integrity and the vision to lead us in this new century.
Give us, the people of India such a leader and watch us come out in droves to vote. And if not, then accept that democracy in India will be an excercise in futility and the forces of change will be ultimately thrust upon us by non democratic forces like the fundamentalists, like the the naxalitites that are threatening to invade our cities soon,

35 Responses to “The end of Democracy in India ?”

  1. kedar says:

    TRUEEEEEEEEE
    i voted this time…for the first time in my life and i dont feel proud!
    All the people in the line were just laughing and showing their halfheartedness to vote…but they were there any way to vote for a candidate they dont look up to…and this is in Pune…99% in that line were highly qualified in their respective fields…Imagine interiors of the state!
    this is disturbing…
    they must apply NO VOTE right from next time!

  2. austere says:

    Noticed this morning-
    Scribbled in chalk behind a signboard on Laburnum Rd, which leads to historic Mani Bhavan (from where Gandhiji led the civil disobedience revolt):
    Corrupt Politicians
    Power crazy
    Lumpen
    Do not vote.
    I rest my case.

  3. Niraj Prasad says:

    Well it is a typical self serving article. the ppl of india have no faith in political system, they did not find a suitable candidate to choose … blah blah blah
    unless you start voting how will the right ppl get the message that somebody is willing to vote for them. suppose you want to contest for an election, what will give you hope that you stand any chance ? only that some ppl who you consider as like minded will come out of their cozy homes, stand in queue and diligently vote … not just once but every time. if you know that those ppl will not come out for voting, why would you waste your time for election. also no political party will also care about giving a ticket to you, if they feel that your ‘class’ will not bother to vote. please do not say that we do not need political parties … their is no better way to run a democracy (as large as india) without parties (and weaker the political parties are, weaker our nation becomes).
    by not voting you are only alienating yourself from the constructive process of politics and nation building. worse, you are making yourself irrelevant.
    reforms will not happen overnight. but voting is the biggest step in the right direction. first 2-3 time nothing great will happen, but slowly the right ppl will get the message and start entering politics. come on if you want to oust crooks from politics and government, what better and sure-shot way than to vote them out .. and permanently too …
    and mumbaikars did not vote because they are apathetic and stupid … not otherwise .. plz stop citing excuses for not voting by claiming that others (your mumbaikars) also did not vote.
    it is so disappointing that ppl like you who can mould public opinion utter such bullshit … hard to believe that you are the same person who cud make movies like elizabeth

  4. Sir,
    No one else could have put it better and in fewer words what that you have said so.!!
    For once Media is stunned and stubbed too, with the belief of driving the minds of Indian psyche, or the thought that they the Media are the WatchDogs of Indian Political system. Lessons to be learned.
    Vinod Agarwal – India needs a KING Maker ala – CHANAKYA… May be.

  5. shekhar says:

    niraj prasad, I actually did vote, but i was spaking about the fact that the vote was lower this year at approx 40 % than four years ago, and stiil maintain that the people of india are losing their faith in a political system that has become corrupt, self serving and lazy. What we need are leaders we can believe in
    shekhar

  6. kavitha says:

    It’s interesting that more people passionately turn out in droves to be around and in the presence of spiritual leaders than to the poll booths of democracy. Leaders who are progressive, compassionate, apolitical, non-fundamentalist and universal in their approach (think: the likes of Sri Sri Ravishankar etc.) — enabling the well being & coming together of people of diverse forms and colors, from different corners of the planet. Does that say something? Is it time to consider such minds to play a significant role in leading our nation ?!. Ok, folks may boot me out for a far-fetched idea as this. How about such a figure openly & formally heralding the role of ‘special advisor’ to the nation’s ‘elected’ leader/s? Sort of a Krishna or Rumi in a contemporary garb, holding & steering the reins of clear and distinctive leadership through confusing times…
    Idiocy, or utopian fantasy, i don’t know…

  7. Sidhusaaheb says:

    If it’s not the apathy of the people that gives them a government they deserve, then what does?

  8. Niraj Prasad says:

    I am sorry for putting things so bluntly but such is the intensity of my feeling on this issue. Perhaps I am again doing so …
    The people of this country are emotional and passionate as you pointed out. But they are also superstitious, ignorant, parochial, bigoted (when it comes to religion and caste) and in general stupid. Democracy promises to give you the best govt, but the price to be paid is constant vigil else you would end up with worse than theocracies and crackpot autocracies. Thankfully we are not that bad. But the most worrying trend is that the more educated a person becomes the less likely he is to vote. So in effect we are getting a govt which is less educated. That is the simple equation.
    Once during one of a public address, an old man held the collar of Nehru and asked “India got freedom, what did I get ?” Nehru pointed towards his collar and said “You got this !!”. From where would today’s Nehru come from ? From among us. And they will come only of we choose them. Only if we send them the message that we are willing to stand up for them.
    My family considers their sacred duty to vote and my parents have always voted without fail. This time I voted for the first time because this was the first time I could get my name in the voters list (I am an incessant itinerant), even though I turned 18 long back. And I already feel ashamed of not voting all those years. I feel letting down my nation and my parents.
    But I have taken an oath to vote each and every time from now on. I wish all the indians would do so. But I feel only dismay that some of us are demanding an option to ‘vote for nobody’. Honestly this is one of the most unconstructive suggestions to come from our illiterate (what else cud one call them ?) junta.

  9. ruchi says:

    I am 37 i voted once when i was 19 , time when i felt Rejiv Gandi will take our country in new direction. after that i have not seen any dynamic national. state or local leader to vote for, so i never voted again. now since last 3 years i am living out of my mother land and know will never get chance to vote.
    Do i regret not voting i dont think i do. but i do regret not using my voice too:)

  10. Naren Chawla says:

    Americans are very fortunate that they seem to find the right leader at the right time. During the civil war, they found exemplary leadership from Abraham Lincoln. FDR, with his New Deal, was the perfect leader during depression. JFK during the Cuban missile crisis. Reagan during the cold war. And now, Obama, to tackle this mammoth dark period for US.
    Indians, on the other hand, have not been very fortunate to find truly inspiring leaders. In my lifetime, I was excited when Rajeev Gandhi became PM. He did try to introduce modern thought process and technology into our socialistic structure. Sadly, he got entangled into politics soon after.
    When will India find it’s Obama?

  11. Yes. The Indian voter is very mature.Like you pointed out, they voted out Indira gGndhi after the Emergency and voted her in when they found that the Janata combine wouldn’t deliver. Earlier they gave Indra Gandhi a landslide victory after the people friendly reforms were enforced by her(Bank nationalisation and abolishing of the privy purse).
    Democracy cannot die an easy death among a people who have proved to be intelligent and discerning voters.
    WE the people know what we want. But, right now, we dont see any political outfit that can rise above selfish political interests to address the issues like marginalisation of certain sections, cockeyed mode of development, corruption and rot in the system and communalism.
    Low voting turnout has several reasons. In some constituencies, it is undobtedly on account of disillusionment with the political system/parties/candidates. In certain other constituencies, it is on account of the infighting in parties.
    I am confident that the Indian voter will ultimatley find an answer to the problem of failing givernance. Hhe is waiting and watching for statesmen among politicians.
    The intelligentsia has a role to play. They must identify and support such candidates. They shoud cease to remain just armchair critics, throwing up their hands in helpless cynicism.
    Their role is to identify the problems beleaguring the nation, educate the people about them and tenaciously support those candidates, parties and organisation who want to earnestly turn things around in the country.
    The priviliged can no longer afford to remain shirkers.

  12. Ronin says:

    Dear Shekhar:
    I have given a detailed blog post more as a reply to your post here.
    Regards,
    Ronin

  13. The low turn out can be attributed the what can be defines as the “Deflation of Indian Vote”.
    Indians votes have a reduced value now. It is post poll alliances and trading that decides the leader.
    Chances are your vote might actually be counted in favor of somebody you hate and wanted to defeat.

  14. mee says:

    …so, will the leader emerge if we continue to abstain from voting? Wouldn’t that be an escapist route? Should we not get up and get into action? some action is definitely better than none? Change doesn’t happen overnight! And if we want change then we gotta find ways of making that change happen for ourselves!its not going to appear like magic in front of us! I am, feeling disillusioned, with the thought leaders of India because everybody loves to disperse gyan from the fences, no-one wants to dive in and dirty their hands by entering the fray and maybe even losing the elections once, to only come back with an emphatic win another time!

  15. tasneem says:

    I really dont get it. If we do not vote because no contestant excites us, what purpoes does that serve. By distancing oneself from elections, we are perpetuating the problem. Almost like becoming an abettor of crime. Its like “not doing anything” when seeing a crime. I feel people who are disgusted with current politicians should take an active stand to ensure that deserving candidates get the tickets. Not voting is like closing the barn doors after the horses have already fled. Inaction has never helped anyone ever. So instead of empathising with people who have not voted, educated people like you Shekhar should be explaining the significance of voting. Be active. Lamenting gets you nowhere.

  16. Dast says:

    6 May 2009. BASIC NEEDS DENIED DELIBERATELY. This is shameful. Halt and ponder for a moment. Link the dots. This is secularism in action – on the ground in India. and THE unseen (unspoken) words are the problem.
    Dirty water kills 6 in Hyderabad city
    (Deccan Chronicle – May 6th, 2009)
    May 5: In a shameful incident, six persons, three of them children, died and 200 others were hospitalised after they consumed contaminated water in Bholakpur and its adjoining areas in the heart of the new city.
    They had consumed water supplied by the Hyderabad Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board at taps in their homes. The worst affected areas are Bholakpur, Indir-anagar, Gulshannagar, Tajirnagar, Musheerabad.
    For over 24 hours, the residents drank contaminated water in an area that is dotted with tanneries. It started at 5 am on Sunday when the area began getting black coloured water from the taps.
    Residents complained that water officials did not respond to their repeated pleas that drinking water was getting contaminated. The sewer drains have not been desilted for weeks here. Residents said water is not flushing out of their toilets as the drains are choked.
    By Monday, residents began rushing to hospitals complaining of vomiting and dysentry. The first death occurred on Tuesday morning, that of Mohammed Amaan, 4. Three more deaths were reported by noon, and another person died by 4 pm. The toll went up to seven by 9 pm when two more persons died.
    The dead : Amaan, Tayyeba Tarannum, 15 (Indiranagar), Md Feroz 4 (Bholakpur), Syed Osman 75 (Tajirnagar), Ayesha Siddiqui 4 (Siddiquenagar) and Hatiya bibi, 66 (Indiranagar) who died after being discharged from the hospital.
    Tarannum’s father, Md Shamsuddin, said his daughter had complained of nausea on Sunday. “We did not take it seriously. She even had food with all of us. She started vomiting the next day and by evening was suffering.”
    The family gave her some bread and milk and made her rest. When her condition deteriorated Monday morning, they rushed her to Gandhi Hospital where doctors declared her brought dead. “She was the most playful one among the six children,” he said. Anger grew in the area and residents began mobbing water officials and ruling party politicians and police used mild force to disperse them. Residents pelted stones on the car of the Secunderabad MP, Mr Anjan Kumar.
    In a belated move, officials cut water supply and started supplying water through tankers. The Chief Minister, Dr Rajasekhar Reddy, who is holidaying in Shimla, announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to the victims.

  17. Tapan says:

    Well sir i am a 20 year old guy,and wanted to vote,but unable to get my voter id .but next time i will vote. There are good people in this country.thats why we are not a failed state.but people in general are ignorant of these good people.we have to support these good people irrespective of which party they belong.

  18. Tapan says:

    Well sir i am a 20 year old guy,and wanted to vote,but unable to get my voter id .but next time i will vote. There are good people in this country.thats why we are not a failed state.but people in general are ignorant of these good people.we have to support these good people irrespective of which party they belong.

  19. brahmastra says:

    End of democracy..sure. And if we don’t have a strong stable leadership, and the Chinese and taliban islamic fundamentalists have their way, you will need to find your red knickers and get ready to do namaaz in chinese.

  20. raj says:

    Why u want to vote?
    Voting is not the solution at all.
    If you want to change you have to get these people out and you have to stand up
    BJP,Congress none of them have the guts to run the Nation..

  21. Ajay Sharma says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    Please go to http://www.545.net.in
    I believe we are soon going to enter an era where there is going to be ” the rise of the university, when everything else will fails”. Democracy will survive, attitude will change and a new crop of ‘Nation Builders’ as politicains will come.You will be part of this change…in some manner!
    aj
    91-9971722022

  22. shikhar says:

    there is a misconception about secularism in India and the Indian media..Secularism means that you don’t have biased views about a particular religion and so you don’t take sides of a community.Well, in this case I feel Congress, SP (Mullah Mulayam & Amar Singh), LJP (Ram Vilas Paswan), RJD (Laloo Prasad Tadav), CPI(M)etc. parties are so un secular.
    For the above parties secular means anti Hindu, so Hindu bashing aotomatically becomes secular. !!! Wake up people atleast don’t vote for them
    BJP NDA have a better approch to India because they don’t take side and that is why they are called hindutva (which is kind of a abbuse according to media) Hindu words was not coined by our ancestors the foreigners coined it and because we live in world of religions we had to give a name to it..so came Hindu..judge yourself people who u should u vote (although elections are over I’m bit late to write this ..lol)the constitution of India protects minorties so you don’t need the above secular parties (Congress etc.)..

  23. I voted for the lesser evil amongst the 20 odd candidates , so I beleve.
    Will it change my world I have my doubts.

  24. shakti shira says:

    Just a thought..I was wondering if PIO’s and NRI’s have rights to vote or stand for elections? As an observer and having personally experienced the corruption of the public sector its time for the people to convey that the state exists for the publics interest not self interest. Until this basic level of trust is created how can the vote make a difference.
    As Gandhi says we must become the change we want to see.
    As a powerful nation in the private sector its public sector is lagging behind. Most western nations have private intervention to bring about these effeciencies to the public sector.
    The purpose of spiritual leaders is to guide the spirit. Upon intervening in politics they serve as politicians and become institutionalised.

  25. navindutt says:

    Dear Shekhar,
    I have been searching for an answer on why people dont vote though they are sincere in their proclivity towards welfare of the country. And yet they do not. You provided the answer I guess.
    There is absolutely no driver of their emotions. Some seething force that beckons the inner conscience to a searching loyalty. The instances provided by you are good. I look around at the leaders and feel a sense of lost purpose.
    Just a change of face from old to young may hardly mean much. A young face does not guarantee efficiency. I think established intellectual drift and problem solving passion of the young people is also critical before they step upto into such posts.
    But one doubts if the results could have been any different since the percentage of all voting sections of society could perhaps still remain . the same. Only the margins could have got broader.
    cheers
    navindutt

  26. brahmastra says:

    Indians have proved once again how naive and confused they are..be it muslims, hindus, whoever. One of the prime reasons for NDA’s defeat was that a majority of lazy Hindus did not vote, and the elections were also cleverly held in the hot month of May to further discourage these lazy Hindus.
    These people will only wake up when they see the danger of China and Taliban in their face. Security of the Indian land is once again a top priority, and many rulers have failed before at crucial times to ensure it, thereby subjugating Indians to a slave mentality. The Chinese threat is ridiculously apparent, but the pseudos and minorities of India couldn’t care less as long as their egos and fanatic beliefs are above the collective good.

  27. Shubhankar Sharma says:

    I completely feel with what has been stated by your good self.
    In the name of democracy. what took place in this country is a hoax.
    I would say, still we are in the grip of mental slavery.
    “You follow them, and remain a follower forever like a parasite, you rise, you improvise, and that’s what the country demands from you.”
    This ain’t POORNA SWARAJ which was a sacred desire of gentleman like Gokhale, Tilak, Ranade and so on.
    The “Ji Babuji” feudalistic culture has always been a hindrance in pursuit of complete democracy. Better get rid of mental slavery, and rise!
    With high respect for the fatherland,
    Shubhankar

  28. anantarupa says:

    Dear Shekar,
    Germany was a democracy when they appointed Hitler in 1933. In today’s world there is barely something that could be called a democracy nor is there any convincing evidence that democracy is the best way to run a country. It’s just that out of the lot that have been tried democracy seems to be less worse than the rest.

  29. Ess Kay garg says:

    I run a small engineering design consultancy. Various govt deptts did not pay for 36 design projects. we did not bribe and they did not pay.
    Now I do not recognise Indian govt as a legal entity as its employees are charging corruption money. I do not think I have a country. I do not want to waste my time in lecturing against corruption. I must work elsewhere for preivate sector or for middle east, USA or even Pakistan but never for these hypocrite corrupt basta…rd s

  30. Uday says:

    And…who should give that leader?

  31. Ashok Nath says:

    DEAR SHEKAR, I RUN A SMALL

  32. Nachimuthu says:

    Dear Mr. Kapur,
    Understood your concerns expressed… The reason why people don’t go out for voting is that, they do not have a good choice and the choice available looks like, best among the worst… 🙂
    Well… we intend to change the same and would be happy to invite you to have a look at http://hamarabharat.net.
    Let’s see, how soon we could change our nation for betterment of herself…
    Thanks much for providing an opportunity to express my view here…
    Please do not mistake me for trying to popularize the site mentioned… It is rather an attempt to connect with like minded people all across our glorious nation…
    Regards…
    Muthu
    National Coordinator
    HamaraBharat Movement – The Rediscovery of a Nation…
    10th Aug ’09

  33. Bob Gabardi says:

    Dear Shekhar, I am returning to India. Will be in Darjeeling from 13th Aug to 3rd Sept, then till 6th in Delhi. Doing Social business consultancy for Mercy Corps with offices in Darjeeling. If you can, lets try and meet. Finally both my sons passed their exams, my youngest, William is in London looking for work and playing rugby for Richmond (postgraduate thesis on microfinance and M. Yunus).
    Hope all is well with you – I gather you are playing the Judge! Take care, big hug, Bob

  34. Mani says:

    Yes India is still a democratic country.
    1) We can urinate anywhere.
    2) We can spit Pan and Tobacco anywhere.
    3) We can regularly go on Strike especially Kerala and Calcutta.
    4) Citizens actually don’t know the Source of Income(Prime Minister, Ministers and Politicians.)
    5) There is no Corporate working hours legally binding.
    6) We have communal riots ones every few years.
    7) We have terrorist attack ones in a while somewhere in India.
    8) When brave soldiers die at the border, defending against the enemies ,democratically elected Govt. does not provide the respect and compensation to the soldiers family.
    9) Rich people are given special treatment.
    10) People are discriminated based on Caste and Religion.
    11) People fear Police rather than respecting.
    12) We cannot show PDA( Public Display of Affection) in public since our culture does not promote that.
    If this is Democracy, then YES.
    This is hard reality of Indian democracy.
    Thanks
    Mani
    Canada

  35. Mani says:

    Yes India is still a democratic country.
    1) We can urinate anywhere.
    2) We can spit Pan and Tobacco anywhere.
    3) We can regularly go on Strike especially Kerala and Calcutta.
    4) Citizens actually don’t know the Source of Income(Prime Minister, Ministers and Politicians.)
    5) There is no Corporate working hours legally binding.
    6) We have communal riots ones every few years.
    7) We have terrorist attack ones in a while somewhere in India.
    8) When brave soldiers die at the border, defending against the enemies ,democratically elected Govt. does not provide the respect and compensation to the soldiers family.
    9) Rich people are given special treatment.
    10) People are discriminated based on Caste and Religion.
    11) People fear Police rather than respecting.
    12) We cannot show PDA( Public Display of Affection) in public since our culture does not promote that.
    If this is Democracy, then YES.
    This is hard reality of Indian democracy.
    Thanks
    Mani
    Canada

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