India on the Move

Currently in India many things are unfolding. It seems Indians are on the move to improve the status quo of corruption. Anna Hazre’s Lokpal bill and Baba Ramdev’s Black money agitation are the hottest affairs in the country. They are all over the newspapers and the internet. It is currently the prominent debate on the blogosphere “Will their hard work pay the returns?” Are these types of agitations the solutions of the problems in governance of India?  Is India really a developing nation or want to become a developed nation?

The 5th June Police action in Ramlila maidan, to disrupt the Baba Ramdev’s fast, is the ugliest act to describe. It rhetorically challenges the very democracy the country had embraced. Yes, this is not the act of democracy, and definitely the Government had indicated that this is Dictatorship underneath the skin of Democracy. How the people of India will respond to this? What other political parties are doing to restore the democracy? I believe most of the political parties are either trying to launch a coupe or destabilise the ruling party. What repercussions this will have? “Exactly”, the government will justify the nation that it is threat to the national harmony and democracy and will try to impose article 352, a kind of emergency till the peace is restored. An emergency to restore democracy, which doesn’t seems to exist in its purest form. Isn’t it funny that we didn’t learn the lessons from the past?

I would assume that half of the nation is agitated and sick of the Government. They are trying hard to come out of this mess and move India towards the developed state. But, look around who are trying to do it. Industrialists, 28% contributors to the economy, are trying their own way but the benefits are not reaching to the remaining population. They are succumbed to the corrupt practices of the Government. Why, because their primary need is to survive and thus need the support of the Government to do so. Rest 17% is agricultural economy who has their own problems to deal with and the remaining 55% is service and government sector [2] which can provide support in their own way but cannot create impact at large. So who can bring the change and why it is not taking place effectively.

72% of the India’s population lives in rural areas and a conservative estimate of 300 million are middle class, which constitutes a mere 25% of the total population [3]. More than half of the middle class is under debt thanks to the new credit system. More than one quarter of the middle class is struggling from the identity crisis thanks to the westernization and urban culture. Remaining portion of them is not having a proper support system. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% are below the age of 35 [1]. We have only 15% of the middle class youth (4% of the total population – 45 million youth) who can be the instruments of change. But fact of the matter is the youth in India is apathetic of elections. “However, there is widespread anecdotal and suggestive evidence that while the middle class may have strong opinions about politics and the shape of the country, actual participation in the democratic system lags behind”[3].

Coming back to the important question, are the agitations or per se Satyagraha can bring the change. The answer is big NO. The reason – India is a free and democratic (??) country and very diverse in its socioeconomic structure. It requires a major policy change and an innovative strategy to do so. These types of agitations can stir the pot and can be helpful in bringing temporary changes. But, the political parties take the advantage of these types of agitations and starts playing swing politics. One political party tries to pull down the ruling party, and calls for the elections, another burden to the tax payers and waste of money. Once done the system is back to square one; why, because they don’t know what to do next, they do not have a robust policy or evolutionary governance system.

Why the current political parties don’t have the revolutionary policies to improve the system? This question needs a deep introspection. The short answer lies in their political agenda and their attitude towards the society at large. They treat Politics as a game – for their own interests, rather than a game changing philosophy – an opportunity to lead the nation for the betterment of a society.

So what can be done to improve the current situation? India needs a radical change in its policies and Governance system. It requires a new set of ideas and revolutionary measures. This can be done if the participation of the youth in politics increases and the middle class comes out for voting and participate in the formation of democratic governance. All the Indians need to understand that it is not only the government’s responsibility to improve the governance, it is of citizens too. Thus citizens need to be educated about their rights and how they can contribute to move India towards the developed state. It is a collective responsibility.

So next time when you vote think twice, are you voting for a mere change or a revolutionary change.

If you want to be a part of the change and interested to do a bit, in whatever way you can, then let me know or share your idea. You will be glad you did it.

  1. http://www.indian-elections.com/india-statistics.html
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_India
  3.  The Middle class in India http://www.dbresearch.de/PROD/DBR_INTERNET_DE-PROD/PROD0000000000253735.pdf)
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