In the evolution of the human renaissance and state policy, the core argument of establishing a democratic state was that it promised the common people to provide basic human rights, dignity, liberty, equality, fraternity, and rule of law in its governance model. So, the democratic setup was created for the purpose of providing a dignified life to common people. But the blind acceptance of the classical liberal democratic model created an individualism characteristic of humans and the ‘political’ democracy started to supersede the economic and social democracy. And, the democracy created for the development of people was turned into a circus of politics.
When the world was suppressed, humiliated, enslaved, and subjugated by the racial, colonial, and invading forces under monarchical or colonial governments, the human renaissance developed a sense of self-existence, and the concept of self-rule that is democracy was built. In its existence, people were promised to provide a safe, secure, and dignified human life for every subject. Where the common consciousness of human existence was developing and rule of the people, by the people, and for the people was envisaged.
Democracy envisages working on the principles of a common minimum program for common good. To achieve this system of government, every citizen has been provided with fundamental rights to govern themselves either through direct or indirect democracy. But the same electoral politics has turned into a race of gaining votes by hook or crook.
Especially in India, representative democratic functioning and a multi-party system provided a conducive environment for the degeneration of the ideal goal of democracy. Using the same instrument of democracy, the state moved towards the goal of protest from the goal of development.
Article 19 of the constitution of India provides every citizen with fundamental rights to freedom of expression. But, political vested interest and international conspiracy took the same space and gave a massive push to development in the country. The legacy to protest provided by the freedom struggle became a tool in the modern Indian state to enlarge the narrow mindset of respective groups.
From religion to region, caste to class, language to race, environment to development, every discourse of India is aligned with the protest. Every single law, act, policy, or project passes the test of protest. It seems like institutions like parliament and judiciary who actually have been provided with such power of review are just mute spectators. And, actually, the unregulated, undisciplined, and self-serving groups are deciding the fate of any project, act, or scheme. Since independence, the delay in achieving developmental goals has actually been attributed to such unwarranted protest.
May it be the three farm laws, the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register for Citizens, the establishment of nuclear power plants, the high-speed bullet train, or the metro project in Mumbai, every developmental project has been hijacked by self-serving groups and the socio-economic development set up by the state is running in doldrums.
The key architect of modern Singapore and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was very critical of the Indian functioning of democracy. He believed that classical liberal democracy cannot be replicated in countries like Singapore and India. Here, in democracy economic & social development is much more important than political development.
When you don’t have food to eat, clothes to wear, or a house to live in then there is no use in establishing a welfare democratic state. Moreover, it is also imperative to understand that no form of government can sustain the discontent or injustice of the common people. Every revolution in history has started from the stomach. So it becomes very important to provide a better economic and living opportunity for common people to sustain a state.
In an endeavour to achieve the ultimate goal of the common good, a democratic state must engage in providing the basic needs of the people. A state should not become the hostage of some self-serving protestors who are serving their own purpose.
Especially in a country like India, where road, rail, electricity, food, and house are still distant dreams for a large population, the state can flute the tune of political development. Growth in the economy and society itself becomes a tool of political development over a period of time. When we look at the mature functioning of developed democracies like the UK, US, Japan, France, and Germany, it is clearly visible that their economic growth has become their political strength.
So for a country like India, it is very important to bring synergy between democracy, protest, and development. And, to the extent, it must ensure that the needle of democracy always dominates the other two in the short term because Indian society is inbuilt democratic, and what we need currently is massive economic growth.
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