The 'biggest democracy' in the world

Published 21.05.2014 00:57

After the Soma tragedy in Turkey, it is certainly very difficult to concentrate on another issue. Still, for the time being, a lot has been said and written and very likely the investigations will offer a better picture of how such a tragedy was possible. We will have to revert to this tragedy certainly time and again, trying to understand what is at stake: insufficient infrastructure, inapplicable or unapplied legislation, an absence of efficient trade unions.We will also have to underline the fact that democratic functioning in Turkey is turning into a dispute, not to say into a harsh struggle among people supporting or opposing the premier, over any issue.

In the meantime, the world is continuing to revolve and elections have been held in India, generally called "the biggest democracy" in the world, because of the number of voters. A record turnout of over 66 percent has voted these elections which took two months to be completed. The result was a total debacle for the Old Congress Party and its allies, as the Baharatiya Janata Party, whose leader, Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist poised to become prime minister, became the new strong man of India.

Baharatiya Janata's win saw it gain a majority of seats on its own, a feat achieved by only one other political movement, the Indian National Congress. The fact is that the "biggest democracy" in the world remains a compilation of wide states, where local politics are prioritized. Apart from the National Congress and Baharatiya Janata, there are no political movements organized nationwide. The British "parliamentarism" has found fertile ground in India, which has never been too centralized in history. Elections serve as an institutionalized negotiating ground among different states.

But the real success of India and its regime is definitely the fact that a society traditionally divided in casts has been heralded as the biggest democracy in the world and found large acceptance. The big loser of the recent elections, representing the fourth generation of Nehru's dynasty, Rahul Gandhi, declared before the election that "[his] focus for India is a long term vision, where all Indians are treated with equality, respect and are given equal opportunities."

A society where social mobilization is barely possible due to the existence of ossified casts, where a Hindu nationalist is in power, where women are subject to inhumane violence and degradation is seen as the biggest democracy in the world could be considered laughable, if the reality was restricted to this only. India, since its independence, has succeeded in organizing free elections and more importantly respecting the outcome of elections. This is not the first time that Nehru's dynasty is losing the elections. They have always managed to get back to power through elections again. Compared to Pakistan or Bangladesh, one would be tempted to say India has fared much better. Well, among these countries that formed the British colonial empire in the Indian subcontinent, with Burma, still India remains exemplary, but not only for the subcontinent. No real elections are organized in the People's Republic of China, nor Vietnam. Russia is in a sorry situation regarding the elections, Iran does not recognize free elections as a basic right and Syria has found itself in a terrible mess because its people wanted free elections and unfortunately these examples can be multiplied ad infinitum. So India, despite its real and dangerous shortcomings, remains a country where democratic alternation is a reality. Hence, to paraphrase Churchill, Indian democracy is the worst regime in Asia, if you disregard all the other regimes.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..