Though India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, as a nation, it is quite young. India is the world’s largest democratic country (second largest in area and second most populated country). Democracy was ushered in India when the Constitution of India was framed on 26th of January, 1950, the world’s longest written constitution. Democracy in India should ideally function as a well-oiled machine but certain detrimental factors throw the spanner in the works, the result of which is that the constitutional goals and democratic aspirations of India remains unrealized.
In the Preamble to the Constitution of India, the pledge to make India a democratic republic and ascertain equality, liberty and justice to all its citizens remains just a promise. The vast majority of the illiterate Indians are often prey to intimidation and misrepresentation. Politically insensitive, democratic principles and ideas are Greek and Hebrew to them. Illiteracy is one of the main causes of inequality. We have a capitalistic democracy where the rich inevitably exploit the poor. Besides, India is a land of many languages, many religions. As a result regionalism, communalism and sectarianism have evolved unfortunately along with a tendency of intolerance. Casteism is more evident now. So even today reports of the Dalits being not allowed in a public place or a temple is quite common.
Indian politics is a multi-party system. But politics has become a game of opportunity and corruption. There is corruption in every stratum of the society. Bandhs, strikes and terrorist activities have punched a big hole in the democratic ideals.
Democracy is for the people, by the people and of the people, as quoted by Abraham Lincoln. In a democratic country the laws are made for the people. However, in this aspect India can be safely declared to be a minimally lawful country. Laws are bought and sold here depending on the financial strength of the rich people involved. According to the constitutional law expert John P. Frank, “Under no circumstances should the State impose additional inequalities. It should be required to deal equally and evenly with all of its people”. Unfortunately, such conditions do not prevail in India. Even a simple constitutional right of a common citizen, the Right to Information Act (RTI) is often a farce in this country.
So, from the above brief analysis, it appears that most of the conditions that make democracy a success are absent in India. But owing to a long struggle against imperialism, an anti-imperialist, anti fascist and anti-authoritarian outlook has developed in India. The masses by and large seem to be aware that democracy is the only choice for them. Communism has proved to be a failure and, let alone India, it will not work even in Heaven.
The success of the Parliamentary democracy in the last few decades is indeed a proof of the fact that democracy in India is keen to check the decline of the constitutional morality. All these processes are surely helping to build in India, a democracy that is not only in name but also in soul and essence.
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