65 years after independence, one wonders what has changed in India. Yes, the Rajas have been disposed off, but ministers and executives have emerged. Their discretionary powers coupled with the control of the law machinery, make them even more authoritative. People continue to remain the subjects in the sphere of governance. They have still not acquired the status of citizens. Hands remain folded for claiming rights. Things move only as favours or on the wheels of bribes.
Distancing is the name of the game. Power should remain clutched in the hands of the centre. It should not trickle down to the villages or panchayats. Constitution that asked for distribution of power is too sacrosanct to be touched or consulted. It stays on the shelves. Democracy exists but only for the duration of the elections. For the rest of the period, barriers of communications have been well established; whether it is the z-level security for physical proximity or the media control for intellectual interaction.
India’s status is a true representation of the legacy of colonialism, only the perpetrators are our own. The recent British colonial rule has completely eclipsed the wisdom that was stated to be our heritage. If we keep this at the back of our mind, we can have a better appreciation of issues and remedies.
From poverty to prosperity – Six decades after independence, have brought us to a reasonable level of prosperity. At least this is what the government states. Yet this claimed success is anything but inclusive. It is also not commensurate with the promises of the election slogans. Moving on with similar priorities, attitudes and speed, in future will not bring the rich and poor closer. Only those who have a chance to be near the poor can appreciate their miserable plight. They live under inhuman conditions.
Coalition – is the name given to an alliance of political parties of varied ideologies, who come together for acquiring, sustaining or opposing power. The need for coalition arose because of emergence of a large number of political parties, many of them driven by individuals without even a designated successor. The fundamental issue with coalition is that the compulsion of living under the same roof exerts unnatural pressures on leaders who have divergent ideologies and bloated egos.
Criminalisation of politics – is the worst of things that could have happened, to this country. It grew because the election processes were not guarded, as they should have been. Encouraged by deferred prosecution and manipulated acquittal, criminals have found entry into the parliament, and they would perhaps never leave. Their survival is actually endorsed by the ruling alliance. It allows the king maker, to use both carrot and stick to keep the alliance going and continue with governance precisely in accordance with his own agenda. Carrot appeals to the nature of the criminals and stick bothers them intensely. If election reforms can prevent criminals from entering the stage, it will blunt one of the tools of the kingmaker. He will not be able to use the stick, the law enforcement agencies, to mow down the opponents to his agenda.
Federal structure – of the centre-state relationship has been exposed to extreme pressures when the state government is not ruled by the same party that holds power in the centre. The worst influence of this malady is, that the efforts required to stay in power, hog away a major chunk of the governance time.
Polarised society – India is blessed with rich cultural heritage and multi-dimensional diversity. But much against the vision of Jawahar Lal Nehru that there can be unity in diversity, what has been realized is only a polarised society. It will take more than wisdom to bring people under a common banner.
Biases in workplaces – It breaks our heart to observe that genuine excellence is not allowed to excel or survive. In India, a country of Gurus, individuals fade into oblivion before their brilliance is recognised and embraced by the system. Nepotism glamorises undeserving individuals and jealousies subdue the worthy ones. Sparkling ideas are disregarded, and replaced by dubious solutions coming from glorified individuals holding the decision-making positions. It is therefore natural that results suffer and systems fail to stabilise.
Corruption – has grown to acquire the status of an invincible monster, but it cannot be left free to flourish further. The lubricating kind of corruption is not as bad as if it were, since it delivers a lot back to the system. It will reduce only when the national character improves. The culpable kind of corruption, on the other hand, must be eradicated by strict enforcement of law.
Natural resources – are the most cherished gifts that this generation would like to pass on to the next generations. But this will never happen. Forests, wood, waters, minerals, coal, natural gas, radio spectrum and others, which are the property of the citizens have been passed on to favorite parties on less than throw away prices. Subsequently, they either are sold back to the citizens at magnified prices or land up in the closets of international banks. Adequate evidence exists to contradict the government claims that resources are consumed for development.