The achievements of Indian democracy as well as its flaws
Decentralised power within the Indian federation could have been greatly beneficial to the country, but Nehru insisted on keeping most of the executive and legislative power in New-Delhi. Indeed, each State has got its identity and its cultural specificity, a more empowered local government could have taken the more appropriate decision for its own good, without going through the whole bureaucracy of a disorganised central government. This brings us on one of the main aspect of Nehru’s decision taking, which would be the economics of the country.
India has had a history of being an autarkic and protectionist country. This might explain its slow economical growth in comparison with the South-east Asian tigers, which are country which were opened to the international liberal market for a much longer period than India. For India to achieve economic success, it needs to develop a new culture of trade with its Asian neighbours, but also it needs to remedy to major problem such as education and school attendance, literacy, develop a good welfare for its citizen and also eradicate all obstacles to social and economic mobility.
If such measures are taken, on the long run India will develop a local market, which is very important for the development of all the sectors of its economy. Another sector that drags a substantial amount of money are the military expenditure of the Indian army. Going back to the partition and the conflict opposing India to Pakistan, most of the army’s capital is dedicated to the Kashmir conflict. If Nehru had accepted the whole of this piece of land, this tension would not have been present right now.
India has got the Nuclear bomb, but has not manage to build quality hospital or schools… Politically, India has had difficulties in maintaining its stability and total democracy. Would it have been better for India to resemble its communist neighbour? Well, it is true that China has one of the fastest growing economies at the moment, but many Indians argue that they prefer their actual situation where they can dispose of themselves, rather than living in an authoritarian state where they would loose their human identity.
Democracy has allowed the government to take drastic decision without great popular uprising, because the population is being represented in the Lock-Sabha, the national parliament. Since the independence India has not suffer famines, but China has lost around twenty-five million people since that period and has known a popular uprising in the late 1980’s, the Tien-an-men student demonstration. Democracy has once been greatly undermined by Indira Gandhi, this had been catastrophic for the whole democratic establishment, and has had a direct physical prejudice on Indians.
Mrs Gandhi, suspended democratic rule for a couple of years in the 1970’s and enforced compulsory sterilisation. But again this government was voted out by democratic elections. Nehruvian democracy has given the opportunity to a political opposition to exist and to also being held accountable of the countries state. The Post Nehruvian government have made the error of not putting the emphasis on social development. Nehru cannot be made accountable for this, especially nowadays, where there is a nationalistic government in power in India.
The BJP (Bharatya Janata Party) of Mr. Atal Biharee Vajpayee has had a bad record of social consideration. This party has its roots Hindu extremism, contrary to the Congress Party which was created with a more or less democratic philosophy. Because of their poor condition, some lower class Hindus have just tried to convert to Buddhism, which may allow them to have more recognition and freedom in India. This movement was opposed by the Government of Mr. Vajpayee, they have passed a bill prohibiting mass conversion, and they are thus undermining the populations’ will.
Instead of working on a plausible way of solving the problem by being more active concerning social issues, they have chosen the coercive way. This cannot be imputed to Jawaharlal Nehru’s politics and vision of India. Nehru at the time of the independence was trying to act wisely by having this whole socialist and humanist conduct. Unfortunately, some of his recommendations were either inapplicable or sometimes undermined. On his excess of optimism which created a slow bureaucracy in a fragile democracy we can take for accountable.
For the lack of initial “extreme-emphasis” on the fact that social issues were extremely important(especially castes problems) and had to be solved promptly, we can take him for accountable. But he cannot be responsible for the anti-democratic mistakes committed by the governments which followed his. Inequality in India is a barrier to social justice and thus to general economic and social progress. The only solution which could help India to be a stable and prosperous democracy is social equity.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: – Mitra, Subrata K. 1982.”Caste, Class and Conflict: Organisation and ideological change in an Orissa Village” in Purusartha 6 (1982) – Wyatt, Andrew . “Dalit Christians and Identity Politics in India” in Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, (1998) vol20, no 4 – Fernandes Walter . ” Attacks on Minorities and a national debate on conversion” in Economic and Political Weekly, (1999) vol34, no3-4 – Hardgrave, R. 1982 “The breast cloth controversy” in : Indian Economic History Review vol5(1) – Mitra, Subrata K. 2000. Politics in India. In Almond, G. A/Powell, G. B/Strom, K. /Dalton R. J (eds) Comparative Politics Today- A World View. Seventh Edition, Longman: New York.