DailyPost 2503

Gunnar Myrdal in book Asian Drama introduced the term Soft State to ‘describe the general societal did “indiscipline” in South Asia.’ This would by extension mean much of the developing world. India for sure falls under it. As the name suggests, the general understanding is, that the governments are not in a position to be tough and decisive. Decision making is terribly diluted, what would be the fate of enforcement / execution, can be left to any sensible person’s judgement. The book was published in 1968, how much have we progressed since then.

As it was An Inquiry Into the Poverty of Nations the approach to law and order does not gain any prominence. India has been a potboiler as far as law and order and organized crimes are concerned. It ranges from naxalism to terrorism to all varieties to mafias to caste and communal clashes and the list does not end here. What has been the approach of the state in general; proactive, responsive, comprehensive, strategy based, long drawn, relentless, and based on knowledge, expertise, background and a very clear-cut purpose. The basic question is whether they have a complete knowledge of it, and were they been able to assimilate that knowledge.

If these stages were crossed, then did they have the acumen and the wherewithal do deploy human and material resources, as required, to take it to its logical conclusion. The answer to these questions are in the negative in most of the cases. There would 8 / 10 of such long drawn protracted law and order events that have defined the nation. Most of it has been negative and detrimental. Law and order issues are existential issues and cannot be equated with any other state task. It has the ability to cripple everything. The current example is Manipur but we have any number in last half a century, where normal governance has been thrown to the winds.

Even worse, the governance de facto has been taken over by radical agencies, in different formats. It can be seen to be missing and there have been times when elections could not be held. No state is not an absolute concept, is a differential missing of the actions of the state, when it should happen on a mandated basis. Naxals holding sway of large tracts of land or war zones in the present situation in Manipur. There are times where nobody is able to make out, why the state looks at the other side. No state is the missing state in that scenario. It does not try to act, makes no impact if it acts or is totally indifferent or forced to be an bystander. State cannot fair weather and is missing when it is needed the most. On an unconnected thread we found it happening during Covid second wave too.

Sanjay Sahay

Have a nice evening.

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