Kashmir and East are in turmoil. Naxalites are running a parallel government in parts of Andhra, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar and challenging the Indian State. Bomb blasts and other terrorist attacks occur with alarming frequency all over the country. Not a single act of terrorist violence, other than the Bombay Blasts decades ago in 1993, has been successfully solved nor its perpetrators ever brought to justice. The 10 month old terror story of Nandigram shows no sign of ending. The life of an Indian has no value for anyone.
Farmers commit suicide in this “country of farmers” with amazing regularity, while the Agricultural subsidies hit an all time record of Rs.50, 000 crore in 2005. While 278 lac tons of rice and 148 lac tons of wheat are rotting away in Government godowns, millions of Indians go to bed hungry. Prevalence of Protein – Energy Malnutrition in India is double that in Sub Saharan Africa. Government spends millions of rupees in subsidizing education in higher centers of learning, while millions of children attend a one room ramshackle school, with no books and a single, more absent than present, teacher. It is estimated that Government spends Rs 2 lac per year per student in IIT. How many primary schools just one IIT student’s subsidy could fund is a point to moot. A country which portrays itself as an IT giant has the highest number of uneducated people in this world
Corruption is an accepted way of life. Can anyone name one Government department free from corruption? Unfortunately, the very departments meant to fight corruption are the most corrupt themselves. Corruption starts at the peon and ends at the Minister. Laws are meant to be broken, and the people in Government who are supposed to make and protect the Indian Constitution break them the most. With history sheeters and dons winning elections on tickets of National parties, can anyone expect anything else? Inbuilt distortions in the Westminster system of Governance, organized self serving and moneyed political parties and the unfortunate tendency of Indians to be swayed by caste, creed and religion, contribute to a system of governance which is not responsive to the needs of the society. Political parties helping illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to acquire false Indian citizenship purely to boost their vote bank; the shameless and blatant way State Governments politicize the State Police to serve their own ends proves that even though they come into existence because of elections, they are not a Government by the people in the true sense of the word.
That India is shinning and developing, should not blind us to the realities outside our air-conditioned environs. India is shinning and developing in spite of its political leaders. India is shinning because of the innate potential in this country and its people. India is developing because of the brilliance of its entrepreneurs and scientists. If the potential of this country and its people is liberated from the vice like grip of its politicians, then this country will march forwards at its true much faster pace and the chaos all around will gradually cease.
Liberating the country from politicians, practicing democracy without the need of intermediaries in the form of political parties is a daunting task. The first step forwards would be to make political power less absolute. Once elected, politicians behave like kings and queens for the next 5yrs. The Right to Recall, as practiced in most developed countries, places the Damocles’ Swords on politicians. A recall petition submitted to the Election Commission signed by a specified minimum number of electorate should be enough to remove a sitting legislature from his seat.
Discretionary powers of elected representatives and Government servants should be minimized. Clear cut guidelines should be formed for exercise of discretionary powers at all levels. E governance and transparency will further remove the shine off political positions in the Government. The final push would be to liberate the State Police from the clutches of the State Government. A neutral and independent State Police would have prevented Gujarat Riots and Nandigram. No wonder that most states are resisting to the hilt the Police reforms ordered by the Supreme Court.
Right to initiate legislation and a requirement of binding referendums on constitutional amendments would be the final act of liberation from political domination. These three rights, the Right to Recall, the Right to Initiate and the Binding Referendums form the basis of a new form of democracy, called Direct Democracy, where the role of political parties is severely restricted and the power to drive the nation is securely in the hands of people themselves.
Politicians have ruled this country for 60 long years and have failed to deliver. The mess this country is in today is the direct result of rule by political parties. And this mess will keep on growing bigger with the rising stakes in power and the struggle among ever increasing number of political parties to acquire power. It is now time for people to realize that political parties hinder rather than help true democracy and people have the power to rule this country themselves, without involving any intermediaries (political parties).
For obvious reasons, political parties of all spectrums will resist any change in the present setup, citing the good of the country and the illiteracy of the electorate as an excuse not to go in for change. But these changes must be brought in if we are not satisfied with India being the “largest” democracy in the world and we wish to make it one of the “best” democracies in the world. The way intelligentsia in Bengal forced the CPM Government to stop the violence in Nandigram, shows how the intelligentsia can, by direct action, pressurize the Government to bow to reason. Now this intelligentsia must wake up and lead the nation up the path to Direct Democracy. Freeing the country from its politicians would be India’s Third War of Independence.
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