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Thursday, May 23, 2024

One more national election to end a fractured mandate

Being Indians we have credible reasons to stay humble in a world that is deeply polarized in the name of religion, region and ideological differences. And being the largest population and the fastest growing economy, we still have reasons to remain resoundingly joyful and distressingly concerned as well. The diversity that we are and the unity that we drumbeat about while ravages of war and ethnic conflicts cripple the dreamy fortunes of a large segment of the world population, India still survives on what it consciously calls its civilizational alignment that is by habit and principle accommodative and the collective wellbeing of the populace is being set as a reason for its survival.

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By: M. R. Lalu

Nearly one billion voters in the world’s largest democracy will walk to their respective polling booths to vote and elect a new government. This momentous journey of India as a democracy has been tremendously meaningful throughout its post-colonial life. Upholding its defined democratic values enshrined in the constitution, India has made a place among the comity of nations that have chosen to adhere to the path of democracy. There have always been divergent views on its democratic essence, especially criticizing its evolutionary practices. We were always under scanner from agencies and groups and countries across the globe that looked at India as a wonder, a landscape that houses the world’s largest population and the one that has been faced with unspeakable instances of colonial aggression and invasion for centuries.

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Still it never failed to grow as a democracy that according to Narendra Modi is a glorious wonder that, in his case, made a ‘chaiwala’ its Prime Minister. Yet its growth as a unique society that holds the largest cultural and regional diversity with its civilizational unity underpinning its essential existence was denounced. There have been consistent efforts to demean, manipulate and disproportionately discourage its pride as a great civilization and its efforts to regain and revitalize its cultural roots have been viewed as a majoritarian belligerence. Though India’s aspiration to emerge as a global power has been gaining momentum under the regime of Narendra Modi, it has also been deliberately vilified for this aspirational growth. The national election we are marching for is expected to further strengthen the aspirations of India and give it a fresh fillip.

Being Indians we have credible reasons to stay humble in a world that is deeply polarized in the name of religion, region and ideological differences. And being the largest population and the fastest growing economy, we still have reasons to remain resoundingly joyful and distressingly concerned as well. The diversity that we are and the unity that we drumbeat about while ravages of war and ethnic conflicts cripple the dreamy fortunes of a large segment of the world population, India still survives on what it consciously calls its civilizational alignment that is by habit and principle accommodative and the collective wellbeing of the populace is being set as a reason for its survival.

India’s G20 Presidency was of course an indication, a journey that we decided to take the world which is infested by a mix of bullying, intransigence and greed through the glorious wisdom of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam(World is one family). The world is shaken by political turmoil and sectarian dissonance and many more destructive factors and at times what we face in India is a replica of what the world is reeling under. There is a new mood of confrontation sweeping through its underbelly and all that has been disruptive cannot be solved with political activism alone. For that even democracy sometimes fails to bring actual solutions. There, we as a nation need to grow beyond petty political gambles and understand our value as a peaceful civilization that holds the power to console the perils of people across the globe. Elections every term put India through tremors of disenchantments and excitements. But there is an unquestionable enthusiasm spiraling through our metaphorical motherland Bharat that houses almost 18% of the total world’s population in every election season.

In truth electoral democracy of India remains undisrupted with a large number of the country’s population turning out for casting its votes. Almost a turnout of   960 million voters will be controlled and helped exercise their franchise by 15 million or more polling officials through more than a million polling booths under the country’s powerful Election Commission.  Democracy by all means especially in the season of election is a festive occasion for its people irrespective of diverging political views acrimoniously staying face to face admonishingly screeching on one another. Above all, the supreme judicial establishment on which the country has full faith frequently pulls up the politically authoritarian demeanors of the executive asking it fierce questions. The latest interventions by the judiciary had shaken the political parties off their saga of electoral bonds, asking them to be accountable and also commanding the bank to reveal the real line of contributors. By the apex court scrambling it forever, the parties are turned a mirror on to reflect as to what should be the depth of clarity and integrity and alertness that the electorate seeks through the process of democracy.

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In the lead up to the parliamentary elections, every term we witness an unsolicited combination of parties shamelessly teaming for relevance and the government piling up cases against opposition parties with an attitude of deliberate warmongering. Apart from that, there is a harsh temperament active in the air throughout this period. That even a mild disagreement and verbal clash on religious matters grow into severe conflagration exposing its volatility as a fraught society.

Though democracy is expected to hold a sway on disruptive tendencies, it sometimes fails to maintain amiability. There are instances of instant provocation leading to the destruction of public property, while collective and revengeful collaboration of aggressive people block life of common man extensively with riots and riotous behavior, India is still known for its best democratic credentials. Again, there are instances wherein the disenchantment goes deeper as its democratic practices fail to deliver justice to its citizens equally. Given such realities, we have to also appreciate its attempts to shed imprints of colonialism. The present government, in a remarkable display of determination, began to change our approach to our true existence. Its efforts to democratically bring India’s suppressed cultural ethos to recognition, has infused more confidence in the collective thoughts of its people. It is democracy and democracy alone is helping the country in its march towards progress. And it will be the single reason that would ensure its growth. Its development for all is its criteria for survival.

Pakistan that chose to become a theocratic state has perished almost everywhere while India kept its momentum of progress exponentially smooth. Politics apart, India’s demography and its cultural values definitely go hand in hand with its largest segment of population evolving through a momentous transformation. It considers the nation supreme and it does not allow rattling subjects of dissonance to dig deeper. Shedding colonial imprints one by one, we still have a long road to walk.

National Elections 2024 seem to seek support for forces that relentlessly work for India’s transformation. The elections and the results should once again restore the momentum of our cherished goal of togetherness and a sense of coexistence needs to flourish uninterruptedly. This festival of democracy is a reminder that at least should help us see the country through the prism of a nation, which survives beyond the petty arguments of the union of states theory. An ideal feeling of nationalism helps a voter to choose an ideal candidate from among a crowd of aspirants. Once again, this election does not seek a fractured mandate. Starting from individuals to families to the nation, this thought for the collective wellbeing of its people should protrude into effect. In practice, electoral democracy can make it happen and that is its strength. And a fractured mandate topples this dream. (The author is a freelance journalist who can be reached at mrlalu30@gmail.com)

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