Monday, February 08, 2016
What Have We Learned?
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Democracy is precious for people to live, express and prosper in life, along with the freedom to learn and choose. Looking at a very small sampling of time of human life on earth and its experience with democracies, since the American independence in 1776 thru India’s independence in 1947, and years since than the dynamics of democracies can be best described as politics allowing people not only have the respect to self-governance and self-determination, but also what people make from the freedom that comes with the democratic societies. In the last 100 years the world has a vast reservoir of experience with democracies and politics of nations otherwise.
Although India was a bit behind to achieve its independence from the British, the time after being the largest democracy (and somehow continues to survive as a democracy), the country really has not been able to learn the value of being a democratic society. It is however a five year term that keeps people waiting for the next savior, and so far everyone who was given the mantle to lead India has disappointed in actions to lead the country into prosperity. Seldom had we had a leader in India who put country first and its people first. Barring Lal Bahadur Shastri, who did not survive in the office very long, everyone we have had as independent India’s leader has failed to lead the nation in a completely progressive and forward looking manner. If we take the lessons of democracy from the USA, both India and USA are not only far from each other in distance, but the practices of democracy and handling of its citizens and their needs is really quite a distance from each other. India has not learned to use its freedom and expression without fear of oppression. Granted that the first few years of planning the national development right after 1947, the country has never really caught on to making use of its people, history, resources or anything else to the betterment of the nation. It has been caught in a time warp of politics of destruction, classism, bigotry, and every human behavior which we really don’t personally want to engage in, but allow the Indian politicians to foster the same.
India has the people (population) and the intelligence, and by and large the desire to do well. The country still has the family as a nucleus and age old traditions still drive the society, and every family wishing and doing the best for its children to do better than the current generation. Indians certainly wish for better future in every stage and work to foster their young ones to look forward to a better tomorrow.
India keeps expanding both demographically and economically. At the same time it continues to breed politicians that don’t seem to be learning from the most precious status of life; democracy, along with the ability to be free.
With each passing year and each passing election, both at the national and state level the focus of the elected and want to be elected continue to (each time get worse) focus on politics of division and polarization, most definitely based on personal benefit. Politics in India and family hierarchies have become synonymous. From family to caste is also constantly played up to vote banks. USA has its own politics of polarization, but India is 100% based on polarization of people based on who they are. It is so crazy that 100% of the country can be called backward class so no one is complaining daily to be categorized as back ward class of people.
The public also gets burdened with massive scams with each successive government, adding to the continued fanning of the caste system, and sectarian hatred keep people polarized no matter how much the country can plan for development and future. Politicians will keep fanning the hatred rather than forward looking plans for peace and prosperity. Politicians simply want people to worry about the most absurd thing in a democracy, fear of success, and keep them in a time warp of hatred toward their fellow beings.
The country has never learned from centuries of occupation by invaders, who divided the population based on the same issues as current set of politicians. The great Indian nation suffered for centuries and was exploited where its own people acted as armies that killed and fought its own people, while the invaders enjoyed the national wealth. Despite being independent and democratic nation since 1947, the country has yet to learn the value of making a choice. A very few individuals and families across the country hold the country down and make it lag behind in both development and excellence. Indians are to blame for the failure of the political system, as it does hold free elections every five years, but democracy stops right there as the next set of elected politicians simply follow their predecessors. We have learnt nothing from being free; simply call our self a democracy.