Reveries

A mishmash of spirituality, human relationship, adult and children's literature, news analyses and anti-road-rage tirades

Are We Still a Democracy?

Democracy's Dance of Death (Illustration by Ranjit K Sharma)

Democracy's Dance of Death (Illustration by Ranjit K Sharma)

Imagine yourself standing next to your neighbourhood shopkeeper and bragging about your son’s smashing performance at the latest exam, while your domestic help appears in front of you all of a sudden only to inform on how your son’s school has sent him back to home today as a punishment for his bullying behaviour. Well, you are speechless, motionless! Isn’t it?

Indians too have found ourselves in a similar situation recently.

While Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s words, “mantle of democracy is now very much strongly held by India,” when addressing an audience at Oxford University’s Said Business School, highlight India’s strong democratic credentials, at the same time, the Jallianwala Bagh-like, mid-night crackdown on peaceful protesters, supporting Baba Ramdev’s fast unto death at Ram Lila Ground, New Delhi on Saturday night, tends to accentuate the glaring shortcomings therein.

Not in the distant past, we remember having settled down smugly self-satisfied at the victory of democratic values. The Indian democracy has deepened when members of the civil society such as Anna Hazare and others were included in the drafting process of the Jan LokPal Bill.

But with the above surprise, forced eviction, where thousands were manhandled, Indian democratic credentials have surely come under scrutiny.

Swami Ramdev’s demands might be too far-fetched. He may be a political greenhorn. He might be limelight-hungry. He might have assets worth over a thousand crores!

But that do not justify such undemocratic way of curbing his voice against the government; not to tell AICC General Secretary Digvijaya Singh’s uncalled-for statement of naming Baba a thug.

I think Baba has done the right thing by continuing his fast unto death.

The only positive sign about which he should feel lucky is the fact that he wasn’t arrested by the police, charged with an “attempt to commit suicide”, and force-fed though the nose like Irom Sharmila, who has been doing a Ramdev since November 2, 2000 for protesting against a similar, undemocratic law of the government.

Let’s cross our fingers and watch where we are heading towards!

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© Ranjit K Sharma, 2008-16

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