India Is Changing, Don’t Fight Change, Embrace Change, Or Perish!

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India’s mood is changing and it is changing at a good pace. Many cynics would disagree with me. Some would even point me towards geographical vastness and mind-boggling diversity of our India. They would even point out the remote and not-so-remote pockets of India, where the mindset of common voting population is still stuck at the age-old established ways of identity politics and their short-term gains. No doubt, they are right, but it’s only to the some extent. Perhaps they are only looking only at the impregnable thick surface. They have yet to scratch the facade that supports their premise. They need to delve deeper. Only then they would see the under-currents of political trends, sweeping across our vast country.

# Rise of Regional Satraps

It seems that the days of single party rule are long gone in India, as the coalition governments in the past two decades have shown. This narrative is not going to change anytime soon.

India is a vast country with diverse population. There are bucketful of challenges and problems, each of them are unique to particular region, the states and their people.  Doubtlessly, across India, the common voters are much-more concerned about their day-to-day struggle in their lives and they are more likely to vote for person who would assist them in mitigating their problems.

Even the 2014 National Election is going to be fought on the issues pertinent to the regional and state levels.  No doubt, there shall be less stress on centralization and more on federalism. Even the Nationalist Political Parties would do well to dwell more on local issues and local leaders; to reap the electorate benefit. The Regional Political Parties are also fighting for the same voters’ pie and these Regional Satraps have dug in their heels, to challenge the might of National Political Parties in their backyards.

It is more likely that the Regional Satraps would play a crucial role in the formation of next Government and even the selection of Prime Minster, for that matter.

But how can we forget the most powerful players of our Democracy, the Indian voters and the trends initiated by them.

India is changing# Ethics & Morality Back on Menu

India gained independence in 1947. In the early years of post independence period, the bedrock of Indian Politics was built on ethics and morality.

Couple of decades after 1947, the degradation started. Since then, India has seen and experienced the steady decline in the quality of politics. Maybe, it has something to do with our society’s liberal and tolerant attitude towards the wrong-doers. Good number of powerful and well-connected people played around with the laws and got away, by subverting our political system.

By the time India stepped into 21st century, the twin powers of money and muscle came to dominate politics, as if they owned it. Politics became a lucrative vocation for wrong kind of people; as it brought bag full of monetary rewards, non-monetary benefits and the immense political-powers. All kinds of people with questionable backgrounds, dubious morality and unquenchable greed entered the once-hallowed portals of political arena. The blind pursuit of power at all cost led Indian democracy into coma; as good number of politicians junked ethics, morality, honestly, truth, etc. into dustbins and hunted for the riches beyond their imagination.

This led lot of resentment among the voting class. Their universal refrain is that the Indian politicians have failed to discharge their duties in an honest manner. Finally, their anger spilled onto street. People’s movements and protests followed and these captured the imaginations of entire country. The parliament sat back and they were forced to listen to people’s heated voices. The collective anger of Indian voters was finally able to reach the corridors of power. Now the recent voting in Delhi assembly election has shown that even ethics and morality can make come back. In fact, it seems the issue of “corruption” is the buzzword for the upcoming election. How times have changed?

# Engagement Pays

One of the reasons behind the advent of popular movements in last couple of years was that fact that the people’s elected representatives stopped listening to the voices of common people. In a democracy, this kind of high-handed and arrogant style of functioning isn’t appreciated by the commoners. The days of top-down, one-way communication are long gone, although some may argue against it. As, we still see the powerful political leaders, sermonizing people in their political rallies and refusing to listen to their concerns.

Anyway, across the world, I see more and more people raising their voices against the unfair and unjust system.

In this Information-Age, as the light of education spread far and wide, it would become increasingly difficult for the Government to put a lid on the popular discontent. The brute force used by Government to quell the popular protest, only exacerbate the situation.

We need the two-way communications between the voters and the elected representatives. The engagement with people shall only strengthen our democracy; these are healthy signs.

# Clean Fresh Faces Are In Vogue

The common voters believe that the blood has been contaminated, as the corrupt and dishonest people rule the roost of Indian politics. Politicians’ misconduct is adversely affecting their lives. To clean up the institutionalized corruption is no easy task. Many believe that Indian Polity needs fresh blood-transfusion immediately, or else the same old politics of corrupt patronage would continue.

On the other hand, it’s really good omen for our Indian democracy that our “youth” is increasingly getting involved in the world of politics. Besides, most of the youngsters are eager to usher in an era “positive change” and it encouraging sign that many of them are ready to play a constructive role.  It’s high time to bring in fresh and clean faces in the world of politics.

# Change Is The Only Constant

If the people’s movements of past few years are indications, then one can be certain we have entered into the era of “change”.

With the active participation of our society’s conscious-keepers, the middle-class (consisting its upper, middle and lower constituents) in these movements have changed the rules of the game in the world of politics. Even the Indian Parliament have stood up and taken note of the changing mood and pulse of the nation. No doubt, the Parliament have gone ahead and passed historical Anti-Corruption Bill, Anti-Rape Bill, among others.

In the days, weeks, months and years to come, we may witnesses many more noticeable changes in the Governance; as I do not see these troops of people going back to barracks.

These people are here to stay and demanding more visible changes, mere cosmetic changes won’t really help.

So, let me share Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. His theory can be applied even in the context of contemporary Indian politics. It states that the organisms change over time as a result of changes in the heritable physical or behavior traits. These changes allow an organism to better adapt to its changing environment, to survive. One can replace organism with Indian politician to understand the crux of the matter.

It is going to be an interesting national election in 2014, as India vote for “change”; while the politicians try to adapt, to survive and perhaps flourish in new India.

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Sameer Bhagat

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Social-Activist. Author of SALVAGING ADIDWEEP.


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