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How Democracy Is Failing In India


On 15 September, the world observed International Day of Democracy. On this occasion, international organizations like United Nations warned the decline of the democracy across the world. UN chief Antonio Guterres underlined the elements which are threat to democracy across the world saying that the Corona virus disease is being used in some countries to subvert democracies. “On this International Day of Democracy, let us seize this pivotal moment to build a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world, with full respect for human rights,” he urged.

On the other hand in India which observes all kind of days, the international democracy day received very cold attention from the people and leaders on the day. There was hardly any discussion about the health of Indian democracy in the public discourse. Mainstream media as usual ignored the day as well as the issue related to it. There was not much discussion regarding it on social media also. Social media is considered an alternative platform to the mainstream media where the people discuss real issues somehow.

For instance, on 10 September when suicide prevention day was observed, there was massive discussion around the topic in the mainstream as well as the social media. Several studies had come up which pointed out the seriousness of the rising suicides in the society. People have reacted to them on social media and expressed their grave concerns over them. But, if we compare the discussion about democracy on the International Democracy Day to that of suicide on Suicide Prevention Day, we find a great gap between them. So, what it has pointed to? Are people in Indian not interested in democracy anymore? Does the democracy not attract them? Are they not concerned about the Indian democracy? Do they not find the democracy useful for their country?

The fact of the matter is that democracy is failing in India every day. It is being killed, raped, robbed and destroyed by the government, the judiciary, media and other top institutions every day. Every democratic value is being violated brazenly by the government and all the institutions are in cahoots with the government in destroying India’s democracy. A large number of people including opposition parties are mute spectator to these events of murder of democracy and many people are celebrating the death of democracy.

When the Central government clamped down, banned communication, arrested political leaders, activists without any charge for revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, a large number of people had celebrated it. Perhaps, it would have happened first time in any democracy that when the government stripped the people of any region of their fundamental rights, other parts of the country were celebrating it. They were cheering for the human rights abuses. Even, some opposition parties supported the government’s undemocratic decisions. And the judiciary, which is custodian of protecting the rights of people, allowed it happen by overlooking the issue. It did not take up the issue urgently for hearing and kept ignoring it. So, this celebration of anti-democratic moves show that what is the significance of democracy in the eyes of people, their leaders and the democratic institutions.

The way the mobs have been unleashing violence against Muslims in different parts of the country is a glaring example to the fact that democracy has completely died in the country. The mobs are emboldened and fearless and lynch any random Muslim anywhere. The government and police are giving free hand to them to do what they want. These mobs have no fear of law. They do what they want. This shows the death of law and order which play major role in functioning democracy. The government has been allowing this to happen for long but the opposition parties failed to hold it responsible for its responsibility and accountability. The government imposed an unplanned and ill-thought strict lockdown which forced millions of people to lose their jobs, made them to starve or walk long miles to reach their homes and shrink India’s economy by 24 percent. But the opposition, media and judiciary could not take the government to task for imposing such destructive lockdown which played no role to stop the spread of the virus but harmed the country in many ways.

On the border, China has encroached India’s land after killing around two dozen soldiers but the government has been denying that no encroachment has happened. The government is talking in line of China which is also denying that they have not encroached India’s land but India has infiltrated in their land. Here again, the government is getting away with its lies and failures.

The government has been unleashing brutal crackdown against anti-CAA activists and protesters, implicating them in Delhi riots in order to protect the real rioters like Kapil Mishra. The Delhi police is making up charges against the anti-CAA protesters. Here again, the government is doing whatever it wants to serve its political interests but it is not facing any strong opposition in its way of abusing people’s rights.

From judiciary, media to the opposition, all of them have joined the authoritarian government in abusing and killing India’s democracy. Some of them actively participated in it, some of them are silent and some of them are putting up very weak fight against anti-democratic moves of the government. Every institution and pillars of the democracy are failing in their tasks. They have either surrendered to the government or are mute spectators to the all this. In such situation, no one can hope that India’s democracy can exist.