Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Democracy is the most popular model today despite all its drawbacks. All other models have larger problems (may be fewer) than what democracy has. So, not having any other model coming anywhere close to the popularity of democracy, all we could think of is about the changes that could be done to make democracy better, especially Indian democracy.

Though we have been boasting that we are the largest democracy in the world and keeping the democracy alive itself is one of the greatest achievements, I think that the results of last sixty years’ democracy are not very encouraging.

We have certainly done a lot of things, but they are far below standards. There is no point in giving statistics around things as basic as how many times we have had food and how many person-nights we have slept in last sixty years. By now, with so much academicians and intellectuals around, we should have at least ensured that there are no starvation deaths, no illiteracy and no record-breaking corruptions by politicians.

What has stopped us from achieving that? We have not had the right people doing right jobs. May be, after Nehru’s time, the quality of our politics has gradually gone down. We have elected a huge number of rogues, criminals and looters as our leaders time and again for various reasons.

Why did we do that? If we do a root cause analysis putting all reasons together the simplest answer we get is that our people are dumb. They don’t have enough education or knowledge to decide who is right and who is wrong for them.

Then, do we deserve democracy? No. It is only for a fairly educated crowd, not for us, those who don’t even know who stands for what.

So, if we have to choose the best model, what is that? Who will decide that?

Do we allow our IAS officers, the most intelligent lot in our system, to do that as they have the best understanding of our nation? How do we ensure that they don’t use all their prior experience with their cousins, our politicians, who were corrupted by the democratic system?

Do we allow Maoists, the mighty lot, to do that as they are the next strongest lot with strong control over seven states already? How do we ensure that whatever they suggest is in the best interest of our people as they don’t even seem to know the value of a life, that too, innocent lives that work for monthly salary from governments?

If we have to choose the best model it has to be done by the ones who are selected as the best by people. It is none other than our current leaders, of whom huge chunk goes under the classification of rogues, criminals and looters. So, to select the best model itself we need to select the best people, which is not the current set. On what basis do we do that? If we know the basis to select the best people then we have the model itself in place. We will deserve democracy then.

Can we exclude the dumbest of dumb people from the election process? What is the point in someone that doesn’t even know how his vote matters to him voting? If he is excluded from the process then who will represent him and bother about his wellbeing? He will end up forming an armed force to bring down the governments of the elite and snatch all their wealth by force to feed his women and children.

So, where is the end? There is no end. The nature will take its course. But, one question! Is he getting his due share now when he is able to choose his leader? Is he being represented or bothered about now? No. In either case he is not cared about. At least the brighter lot would get their share properly and there is a possibility of better treatment for the dumber ones also. The possibility itself is not seen now. It would also put some pressure on them to get brighter. What I am trying to say here is that like the way we have screening process for candidature why don’t we look at some screening process for voters also?

If corruption is a major problem and if the common man cannot identify their corrupt leaders, can there be a law prohibiting such foolers (those who fool) from contesting elections? Yes. It is there. If I am not wrong, the law at least prohibits the proven criminals. Likewise, why don’t we have a law prohibiting the fools (those who get fooled) from voting? Yes. We can have.

OK. So, shall we pass the bill? No. You can’t. There are obstacles? What are the obstacles foreseen in passing that bill? Nobody would support the bill. Why? It will only put them in trouble. Most of them that have to support the bill are sitting in that position only by the mercy of those who are to be screened out. Who would dig his own grave knowing that it is for him?

With all these limitations of our model, if we make an assumption that such bills could be passed successfully by the rulers, what are the top three changes that I would love to see in our current model?

1.      What I said just now. There should be a screening process for voters to ensure that those who understand the process do it. If you need a license to drive in this country, why not one for those who want to vote? If children and youth below 18 years cannot vote due to their immaturity, what about those who still remain immature even after crossing that age? If the candidature could be challenged for unlawful behavior by the candidate, why not the voting rights for selecting unlawful candidates (corruption is unlawful)? Every time I blame the politicians for something, one or the other middle class face shouts at me saying it’s not their problem and it’s ours, the voters. If I have to stop getting irritated with that intelligent answer, this is the only way out, I guess.

2.      The current model was designed almost with the same intentions of what we have today, but they have failed. It doesn’t want us to elect the top most leaders as we don’t have any close contact with them. Instead, if we choose someone whom we know (i.e. our legislators and parliamentarians), they would in turn choose the best person to rule us. Good thought, but it has failed. Why? More often than not, they themselves do not know why they are choosing someone or it is not in their control also. On the hand, their life goes on at the mercy of the top boss. This allows these guys to waste a lot of time in working behind the scene against the boss in exchange of huge looted money paid to them. I mean, the horse trading! If that has to stop, it is better the electorate elects its leader so that there would be stability at least. With too much of coalition games in recent past, it makes all the more sense to have stable government. The biggest risk here is that it would shut the doors for people like Dr. Singh. But, it would also do that for comic leaders from parties with little more than single digit seats.

3.      The same thing needs to be done in local body elections as well. The recent changes in local administration give abnormal room for horse trading. It seems it has brought in a lot of good things, but in the process it has also got some big loopholes. All chairmen (union, district, municipal, etc.) are elected by the elected members unlike earlier when our parents used to vote to elect them directly. This makes the whole process a joke. Every member gets a lifetime amount to change side. They are literally taken into custody by the contestants for a week or so. In those few days, they are secretly taken to nearby resorts, hill stations, estates and what not (like the kittened cat shifting its place to ensure the safety of its kittens) to ensure they don’t get sold out. I have personally seen a guy become filthy rich after being selected as a member for union council (mind it, just a councilor). If all these have to stop, this overhaul is required.


  1. One single line comment, what is happening is called as "Motivated Reasoning" few people with wrong intentions with big cash flow and media support have implanted a flawed understanding of governance and politics in India and we are suffering because to make people realize that their fundamental thought is modified for someone else benefit..
    it would take a long time to get away from that..

    Good write up Barathi ( I think you now write as Bharathi )


  2. Thanks Mani. I understood your point. I have been hearing this from quite a few people now. If you go down, you could see another article titled "Press Hard-pressed?", which talks about this very topic. Would like to have your comment on that as well.

    By the way, I never wrote as Barathi before.



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