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Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers (ARSIPSO)

This is with reference to my letter No. ARSIPSO/GS-BSD-4/2023 dated. 10/08/2023 on the 4th B.S. Das Memorial Lecture, which had to be rescheduled for unavoidable reasons.

The 4th B.S.Das Memorial Lecture to be delivered by Shri Anil Kumar Sinha, IAS (Retd.), on the subject Disaster Management: Creating Safer Communities, has now been rescheduled for October 14, 2023 as per the following:

Conference Room No. 2, India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, October 14, 2023 (Saturday)



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  OUR STRANGE DEMOCRACY - JP Sharma  
 


The fact that India is one of the few countries which having become independent after the Second World War has successfully practiced democracy is often mentioned as a great achievement. That with all our problems we have succeeded in governing ourselves through the Westminster model of democracy for some sixty years is no doubt worthy of appreciation. But the unmistakable ugly trends which have emerged in the past few years are forcing most concerned citizens to ask whether democracy based on universal adult suffrage is suitable for India or whether some modification of the system is called for particularly because the present system has been found incapable of meeting the challenges posed by the unscrupulous operators of the system.

ELECTORS AND LEADERS

One of the major factors constituting an almost insurmountable obstacle for democracy to be properly practiced in India is the great diversity in the attitude of the people towards elections. A substantial portion of the electorate consists of those who are either totally illiterate or even if they have some sort of education are entirely incapable of comprehending the issues which are important for the well being of the nation. For many of the poverty stricken people whose sole concern is how to make both ends meet, small benefits are a fair price of their votes. Many others are forced by the local lords to vote in favour of the designated candidate or to refrain from voting. Some are physically prevented from reaching the polling stations at all. For many others loyalty to caste, sub-caste or religion or some other grouping to which they may happen to belong takes precedence over all other loyalties. The non-existence of any party having popular acceptability all over the country has ushered in an era of alliances/opportunistic groupings of a large number of parties wielding power at the center as well as in some states. In this scenario even very small parties with only a few legislators who can tilt the balance in favour of one or the other of two contending groupings can and often do get a share in the government far larger than would be merited by the numerical strength of their legislators making a travesty of the concept of “Popular Mandate”

Those manipulating this vast segment of the electorate form a hierarchy reaching up to the election managers of the contesting political parties. These masters of electioneering strategy have succeeded in dividing the country’s electorate into vote banks which can be swayed by appealing to their narrow sectarian instincts and promises of redressal of real or imaginary grievances.or simply rewards for voting in favour of the specified party.

Yet another difficulty faced by our country lies in the inability of our political parties to produce good leaders. While there is no dearth of men possessing the necessary talent and integrity yet they generally fail to rise to the top. The best example of this deadly affliction is the oldest and the best known party-- the Indian National Congress which seems to be unable to survive except when led by a member of the Nehru dynasty. Whether the leader has any merit is of no consequence; mere belonging to the family is enough.

Winning elections by whatever means fair or foul has become the standard norm. A direct consequence of this is the large number of notorious criminals fielded by all political parties and who after winning the elections proceed to extract the maximum profit from their acquired political power. The powerful seem to have risen above the reach of the law.

THE CRAZY COMPETITION FOR MUSLIM VOTES.

One of the major blots on our democracy is the reckless manner in which some of our prominent political parties are chasing the Muslim vote. Considerations of constitutional and ethical propriety or of nation’s security have been thrown overboard. The Sonia led UPA, the leftists and Mulayam Singh led Samajwadi party are engaged in a fierce competition to win Muslim support. Among the interesting examples recently reported by the media are the following;-

1. According to a report in the Indian Express (7 Jany 2007), Uttar Pradesh Minister for Family Planning, Ahmad Hasan told a gathering of Muslim women that they could produce as many healthy children as they wished and that the government would give them Rs.1400.00 to take care of each child. The official policy of promoting a two-child norm seems to have been discarded in the case of Muslims.

2. The Times of India (30 Nov 2006) reported that VK Bhalla IPS,ADGP Railways, UP, was placed under suspension by Mulayam Singh Yadav for having observed in a paper entitled “Scenario of Terrorism ” (which was to be presented at a conference of Police Officers during the Police Week) dealing with the 2005 blasts in Shramjeevi Express, that the commands of Imarat-e-Sharia, a Phulwari Sharif (Bihar) based Muslim religious organization were respected by hardline Muslims in Bihar.

UPA GOVT’S DEVICES

The Sonia Gandhi led UPA government ceaselessly claiming to be the ultimate protector of secularism has by a series of actions made it abundantly clear that no scruples whatsoever are strong enough to deter it from wooing the Muslim vote. Following its extraordinary performance at Havana, it has demonstrated that it is in no hurry to carry out the death sentence awarded by the court to Afzal Guru. The Home Minister speaking in the Parliament declared that a delay of some five years in carrying out death sentences was normal and that the relatives of the slain security personnel ( who had died while resisting the terrorists) by returning the medals awarded to the deceased officers in protest against the delay in hanging Afzal Guru had insulted the constitution and the President of India !!

SACHAR COMMITTEE

Other steps having even graver implications for the integrity of India and for the constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on religious grounds have been planned and are being vigorously implemented by the UPA government. The most prominent of these was the appointment of the Sachar Committee to look into the condition of Muslims in India. Headed by a committed Chairman and heavily dominated by Muslim members the Committee avoided examining important but inconvenient issues relating to the causes of Muslim backwardness, shut out data which would have proved that in many respects and in many areas the Muslims were better off than Hindus and proceeded to produce the kind of report the Government wanted it to give. The report gave publicity to the allegations made by champions of Muslim community and put the blame for Muslim backwardness on the Hindu community and the Indian state. Taking the conclusions reached by the Committee as unexceptionable the government then announced that it will implement the recommendations of the Committee. During a meeting of the National Development Council our distinguished Prime Minister felt no compunction in emphatically declaring that the minorities and particularly the Muslim minority must have the fist claim on the nation’s resources. Public sector banks have repotedly been instructed to reserve 15% of their priority sector lending for minorities.

Are we heading towards a new constitution condemning the majority community to a second class citizenship? Not impossible, if things continue the way they have been going in the recent past.

 


The views and facts stated above are entirely the responsibility of the author and do not reflect the views of this Association in any manner.

 
     
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