India is the largest democratic nation in the world. Democracy has been regarded as an ideal form of government in which people are governed by their own elected representatives. It is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. It is a people’s government in which the voice of the people is supreme and where the laws are fashioned according to their wishes. The question whether democracy has a future in India has aroused grave concern among our educated ones. Even the most pious optimist believes that our democracy has a bleak future. It can have a future only when our politicians cease to be power mongers.
After achieving independence our national leaders like Gandhi and , who were born democrats, set-up a democratic form of government for India. Today even the highest office of the land can be held by the humblest citizen. Every citizen of India, without any distinction based on grounds of Color, caste, creed, religion, property or sex has a right to vote in the election of legislators and to be elected as a legislator. India is a secular democratic country. She has done away with untouchability. Woman enjoys equality with man. India’s achievements in political and economic fields are many and splendid.
There is a gap between promise and performance. We enjoy every right in theory, but not in practice. The idea of a socialistic pattern of society has remained a dream only. Real democracy will come into being only when the masses are awakened and take part in the economic and political life of the country. India today is a rich man’s democracy. Our democracy is a democracy of the rich, for the rich and by the rich. Election today are a farce.
Our national leaders introduced adult franchise with one stroke of pen when 85% of our people were illiterate. It was a fool proof experiment to start with. Universal education should precede adult franchise. Election is always a costly affair and the lure of money works wonders specially among illiterate ones. The absence of an organized opposition the party in power resorts to dishonest means. No single party in India can claim to be really democratic.
Violence has taken a serious turn in our country. Bunds, gheraos, strikes, misuse of parliamentary privileges do not augur well for democracy. Defection from one party to the other on selfish and flimsy grounds has added to the instability of the government in our country. It is bad on both moral and political ground. There is no sphere of national life which can be described to be free from corruption. At the political level everyone—ministers, legislators, party officials suffer from it. Our democracy has miserably failed on different front—food, home, foreign etc. The result is that it is dubbed as monocracy or democracy.
The masses are illiterate. They abuse their votes. They are easily bought by the capitalists. No democracy can succeed until there is widespread education and enlightenment among the people. Our democracy capitalistic. Here the rich exploit the poor who have no voice or share in the democratic structure. Democracy is on its trial now. Democracy has not failed. It is we who have failed. If we develop democratic spirit, temper, and character and become Indians in true sense, it can certainly become a success. The future of democracy will be bright only when our people possess national character, consciousness and responsibility. Intellectuals should come forward and create better society with a true democratic spirit prepared to march further in a democratic way. It is still in the childhood, yet the hope for the future is bright.