21 October, 2020

Westminster Folly

Jayaprakash Narayan, who doesn't even find a mention in this book, provided a deeper insight into the future, writing in the early years of Independence, than Desai does today.

Westminster Folly

When I hear or read the word democracy, my first reaction is to be on guard; to wonder if another confidence trick is being pulled over the country. Over the decades, democracy has become a cover under which politicians, whom you would not trust with a loan of Rs 10, gain authority to handle crores of public money or put pressure on those who do. To reach the commanding heights of politics, they must contest elections, which needs cash in suitcase-fulls. Criminals and their black money associates are happy to contribute, for a price. Society pays the price, with corruption eating increasingly into its vitals. If progress is made, it is in areas shielded from party politics. The true test of democracy, we were told in school, was that it should further "the greatest good of the greatest number." As practiced in India, the word has come to signify the opposite.

Regular elections are supposed to be the acid test of democracy, filtering out the dirt from the system, replacing them with cleaner elements. But our experience has been the opposite. The need for huge...



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