SHIFTING SANDS – INDIA’S POLITICAL DEMOCRACY

DailyPost 1992
SHIFTING SANDS – INDIA’S POLITICAL DEMOCRACY
The unfortunate part  is that politics impacts everything much more than anything else. The other cardinal fact is that politics has developed the uncanny knack of not getting impacted by anything. Democracy if feudal and archaic can only look different depending on the colors that fall on it, in reality it remains the same. These are the shifting sands of political democracy, that we have written for ourselves, but somebody is writing our destiny, anybody can, if in power, in any manner. They become irrelevant and go, making their own pages of history, but what about the irrelevance that they have created for the nation. If democratic power of the masses is limited to exercising the franchise and being happy about it, we have certainly gone in the wrong direction.
 The ultimate truth of our political democracy is that it has not changed in last so many decades; in education, expertise, mindset, approach to elections, approach to power, approach to people, manifestations of power, criminal background, using power for manipulation, favoring the ones whom they want to and you keep going listing is on and even beyond the time the cows come home. The setting also remains the same. The convoys, the tantrums, the dress, the entitlement, the misbehavior, riding roughshod, bureaucracy, official environment et al. While the world has been traversed over and over again, even the sheer look and feel has just not changed, leave aside the content.
Jingoism has been changing with the times. Shifting sands on the same beach. The schools, the children, the teachers, the primary health centers and all that have been cardinals of the rural landscape, remain nearly the same. What has kept on changing are the slogans and people behind the slogans. From Garibi Hatao to Beti Bachao, it has been changing with the changing times. The stamp of a leader on political democracy has been the most defining expression of our existence. The Pied Piper has been the most popular political person, since the beginning. The ways parties get enamored by their supreme  leaders, gives us a feeling that they are Einstein, Nelson Mandela, and Lee Kuan Yew put in one human form.
Political democracy is generally defined by one person, either at the central level or in the states. Social engineering and election engineering have always been functional tools, manifesting in a variety of ways, forms and dimensions. From loan melas, to waiving loans, the plight of the masses have not changed much. COVID-19 took off the lid from our political sands democracy but we are back to it once again. With development giving way to pilferage, direct money transfer came into being. Taxpayers money went in the name of govt largesse. The paternalistic relationship has to be maintained, which is another curse of our democracy. In the similar vein we now have the freebie culture. Varieties of it have been abundant for a long time now, to name a few; Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Odisha for a long time and now we have the Delhi model. COVID-19 made it a prominent national phenomenon.
SHIFTING SANDS DEMOCRACY HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR NORTH STAR.
Sanjay Sahay

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