22 March 2006

Quite a remarkable feat

Is India a democracy in the conventional sense (take the US as your benchmark) or merely a melting pot of separate communities collected under a common banner? Are people from all regions, communities, cultures and religions represented equally and fairly in our democracy? Does the government’s rhetoric reflect the opinion of the people from all sections of the demography?

Questions, questions, questions. When it comes to criticism, there’s a lot you can say against India. And, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you’ve shared your disapproval of your country on many counts. Guess what, you’re not alone. We are all responsible for this. India just doesn’t shape up in front of us. So, here’s a question for you: How would you view your government when it comes to encouraging social change in the country? Would you give them a poor rating or an average one? Or, perhaps, something better?

In spite of all the allegations against our ministers, I’d give the government a high score. And, why not? Look what they’ve got on their hands: A billion-plus population, poverty, illiteracy, and a multitude of languages, cultures, religions and diseases to deal with. Then you have the corruption and the personal agenda of the ministers and the bureaucrats. And, on top of that, a growing need for liberalisation to keep pace with the pressures of globalisation. A handful, wouldn’t you say? Yet, India continues to maintain its status of ‘a democracy’. Quite a remarkable feat, that.

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