THE CONUNDRUM THAT faces India today is not whether we are a democracy or not. It is how the people’s representatives have begun to behave. It is about one arm of our democracy, and that is Parliament. Over the last decade or so, India’s Parliament has begun to resemble a wrestling ring: not a House where the nation’s interests are either debated or discussed. And that is the failing of our democracy. We, or rather the MPs, have become the state’s own worst enemies. It is heartbreaking to see the havoc that is wreaked in the name of equality and fairness. It is equally incomprehensible for someone to ask questions in Parliament which serve no purpose but are clearly agenda-driven, and almost every political party is guilty. Guilty not just of this brazen evasion of serious issues, but also of their own level of reasoning. I am not for a moment suggesting we discard the fundamental right to disagree. But that cannot take the form of being disagreeable, and this is what ails our democracy.
In the name of democracy, we are causing incalculable harm to Brand India, and someone needs to sit up and take notice. For MPs who have been elected in this very democracy through a democratic process to now raise questions about our democracy is nothing short of treasonous, and I know this is a harsh word, but it’s true. For Rahul Gandhi to say that countries like the US and the UK need to worry about the breakdown of democracy is not about scoring political brownie points: it is about setting in motion discontent with the very framework of our Constitution, and that should be unacceptable to all, no matter which political dispensation they belong to. The same Rahul Gandhi is part of a political party that is in government in some states in India. Should their achievement be negated? Are they not democratically elected? Hate Narendra Modi as much as you like, but don’t let that hatred fan out to hatred for India or the idea of India. That would be worrisome. Parliament was stalled ostensibly on the Adani issue, primarily. And here’s the irony. The Supreme Court, yet another pillar of our democracy, has appointed a committee to look into this issue. So, by screaming every day in Parliament, aren’t you undermining the judiciary as well? Why would you not let this Supreme Court-appointed committee finish its work? You go one step further and cast aspersions on the members? Is this how we value accomplished professionals in our country? In any case, institutions like the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) are being abused day-in and day-out. So, what’s left? Do we really want to see each of our institutions crippled? Is this the India we really want?
For Rahul Gandhi to say that countries like the US and the UK need to worry about the breakdown of democracy is not about scoring political brownie points: It is about setting in motion discontent with the very framework of our Constitution, and that should be unacceptable to all, no matter which political dispensation they belong to
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Every international magazine and newspaper has given Brand India a drubbing. And this has been caused by our own people. Blame George Soros as much as you like but some of these vested interests are the wind beneath his sails, which is anguishing.
A fortnight ago, Rahul Gandhi was convicted by a court. And then they cast aspersions on that judge as well. You impute motives and you create a ruckus, saying once again, democracy is dead. People need to know that India has moved on. It is no longer the preserve of one family or a set of families. The Indian of today discards entitlement and if courts convict people, those people can’t hide behind the curtain of democracy that they, for years, have made holes in.
More recently, the venerable Supreme Court of India threw out the petition filed by opposition parties seeking protection from agencies. Why should they have even filed this in the first place? The reason again is pure entitlement. We cannot have an India where the rulers seem impervious to the law of the land, or even above it. Those days have gone. The days when they could phone a friend are also over. If the one thing Narendra Modi has done and done well is that he has spared no one. And unleashed the might of the law. I wish this had been done aeons ago but it’s never too late for this kind of cleansing. And I only hope we see more (and not less) of it.