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India's 70: Are we paying a price for our democracy!

by Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: Aug 14, 2017, 9:52 am IST

India's 70: Are we paying a price for our democracy! Seventy years of independence is a major milestone in a nation's history. India has gone through tremendous chirling and churning for the last 70 years of its democracy that has stood the test of times. This year as we are proud of our heritage, history, harmony, homogenity, and heightened sense of our acheivements in the world today, we need to introspect our failures and strategize our future course of action. We truely have 'miles to go..'.

Independence was a painful journey that got with it death, destruction, migration, division, sacrifices and so much more. But what blossomed was a nation that we could call ours. India was a big territorial entity that assimilated itself inspite of its diversity and demography. We pledged to live under the same constitution despite myriad identities. No where in the world can one find such exemplary and unique sense of unity in diversity as INDIA has. This is what makes us different from others.

The India of today is being considered a strong voice not just in the South Asia region but the entire world as once again since the time of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. India is playing a major role in regional as well as on the international stage. Indian diplomacy has taken a new shape and is heading towards greater participation with nations friendly and not so friendly. Other countries have started looking up to India as a partner and a leader in development, prosperity, security and commerce. India was the only country that suffered the least effect of Recession of 2008 when the whole world was reeling under it. Our upward trajectory on the graph of global recognition and respect has made world nations look up to us for not just assistance in times of need or calamity but also as a guide and facilitator country for solving bilateral and multilateral issues. We have taken over the world stage.

Although India's acheivements in last 70 years have been glorious in terms of space explorations, scientific advancements, defence technology, data analytics, anti terrorism, we have plummeted in human index. A nations progress and development is measured in terms of the happiness quotient of its people. 3 years back people of India elected Bhartiya Janta Party to power with a unprecedented majority sending the grand old party Congress with its frontal alliance UPA home for its under performance, policy paralysis, corruption, crimes and scandals. People were fed up with misrule, nepotism, governance failure and non accounatbility at all levels. 3 years after, where do we stand? The high point of this government are GDP has gone up, corruption has halted, inflation is under control, digitization has plugged holes, poor have bank accounts, demonetization accounted black money, aggressive anti terror posture, youth inclusivity, stern messaging to China & Pakistan. Biggest acheivement of BJP government has been the passing of GST bill that stands to benefit the people by bringing the country under one taxation regime. Other missions like Swatch Bharat, Make in India, Skill India, Stand Up India, Start Up India, Digital India do have the potential of carving a bright future for India if followed in letter and spirit.

The intention of Prime Minister looks good but is it really translating! The 3 years have also seen rich becoming richer with the seemingly pro capitalist approach of Prime Minister Modi. Hundreds of government schemes launched for the welfare of people, some old wine in a new bottle, have realistically not seeped to the bottom last.The farmers are still committing suicide, natural calamities are still killing hundreds every year, midday meals are still poisioning children, naxalities are still ruling the killing fields, women are still being raped and violated. Just recently nothing more horrific as the chilling deaths of 60 children in a Gorakhpur government hospital can be a better example of the callousness and insensitive approach of government hospitals in the country. Will our leaders be really concerned?

The darkest spot of Modi government has been the new trend of cow vigilantism that has taken over the physical and mental space of society perpetrating communalism of a different kind. This is not just hurting but destroying the very fabric of secular India causing an unrepairable harm to India's multicultural identity. When former Vice President Ansari, before demitting office articulates the feelings of his community saying muslims are feeling insecure, should it be taken in the light of politics or as a mirror of present reality in the background of many a brutal and unmindful lynching taken place lately. The fear of violation of the right to life permeats dispite the constitutional safeguard that all citizens of our country have a right to. Law being taken by unsocial elements in their hand in the name of cow protection or for that matter as Love Jihad or Romeo Sqauds or Ghar Wapsi, does not forbode good for the nation. Surely this is not what we asked for. Across the borders and oceans too it sends out wrong signals about the country's health.  

India exemplifies the most robust and vibrant democracies in the whole world. Majoritariansim is the antithesis of democracy. Unfortunately we have seen the scuttling of opposition in a historical fashion. Absence of healthy criticism in the form of opponents facilitates fear of dwindling democracy. Media as a pillar too has lost its teeth and claws and looks subservient to the powers that be.

These are apart the issues that we as Indians have learnt to live with...of unemployment, poverty, security, health, education, increasing crime rate, etc etc. If in 70 years of independence from foreign rule we have not been able to educate every child, provide health care to every citizen, ensure law and order, employment opportunities, right to life, belief and religion then we have failed.

Have we truely evolved?  At 70 should we be instructed by someone how to show respect to our national anthem and flag! Should after 70 years we have to be told by others what we should eat and what wear!    

Given that there cannot be a magic wand in the government's hand, 3 years is a long time for promises to be redeemed. More than economics it is the society that measures up the success of the governments in power. Countries that boost of good governance and stand up in human development index have a more stable prosperity matrix. Let us not be categorized Xenophobic, racial, emerging religious aparthied by the so called opinion makers. India has survived the worst in the form of emergency. We have had towering leaders to lead us. Our great country has the resilence to bounce back in all times. BJP lead NDA government came to power with huge promises and a mirage of Acche Din and Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. We are yet to see both come true despite how the rest 2 years unfold.          

The problems and opportunities are as huge as our country is. We wait for your promises to be fulfilled Mr Prime Minister. Its not just about politics, India is much more than that.
Priti Prakash
Priti Prakash

Political Commentator, Interviewer, moderator and Foreign Correspondent. With more than 15 years in journalism and experience of both print and electronic medium, she is Editor FacenFacts, news website and Managing Director, Dream Press Consultants Ltd