An essay on “Ways to Strengthen Indian Democracy” by Jnandeep Bora is a comprehensive study about how to strengthen Indian democracy, which can act as an emboldening force in promoting our concept of Indian nationhood. The word democracy is derived from two Greek words –”demos” and “cratos”, the former means the people and the latter power. Thus, the pivot of activities in a democracy revolves around the common masses as coming under the ambit of any democracy. Or in other words, the epicentre of all the activities in a democracy must be the common masses. At the same time, it is also important that democracy must have all the constituents by which it strengthens itself and take it to new heights. This fact is more important today than earlier because democracy today has become a way of life for the world. This fact, too, is more relevant today than ever before. Therefore, democracy in any country must be strengthened and thus create a new atmosphere of probity and sanity in the respective country’s public life.
Among the various unifying forces in the Indian democracy, its nationalism is paramount in this regard. As a result, it can be stated that Indian nationalism acts as a unifying force against divisive forces. Therefore, if the divisive forces spread their tentacles among the Indian masses, then Indian nationalism, on the contrary, unites one and all as coming under the ambit of Indian democracy. Thus, the author feels that Indian nationalism is a protective shield against the fissiparous forces. In this way, the role of Indian nationalism in acting as a factor in promoting the spirit of Indian nationhood is insurmountable. In this regard, the concept of Indian nationhood implies one and all as coming under the domain of Indian democracy.
India’s plural culture – its greatest strength
Indian society is an example of the assimilation of various faiths, cultures and beliefs. Thus, Indian society is a cosmopolitan society wherein people of various ethos merge together and come under one umbrella. Indian history is a replica of this fact. India is an assimilation of various dynasties coming together and thus making it its own home. The concept of secularism as prevalent in the Indian Constitution, is a path-finder of this fact. Thus, Indian democracy teaches us to be an assimilator of various values and ethos as derived from our cosmopolitan society of ours. India and Indian democracy teach us to uphold our own values and, at the same time, not neglect the values of others.
In this way, Indian society and its democracy teach us to assimilate the positive traits of all the major religions and, at the same time, preach one’s own faiths, values and ethos. Indian democracy teaches us to be great assimilators and be blind to one’s religion and faith. India, in this way, preaches to be a tolerant country. Our very tolerant nature is a tribute to our multi-cultural and multi-religious nature. This fact has been upheld by the very concept of secularism as preached by the Indian Constitution and as enunciated by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976. This has certainly made the Indian democracy a vibrant one. In the long run, it has proved to be its greatest strength.
Right to the dissent-the way ahead
India is a conglomeration of various values, faiths and rituals as preached by its democratic norms. At the same time, it is also a reality that Indian democracy and its ethos provide the right to dissent or, in other words, to hold dissenting views regarding preaching and practising one’s faith and religious values. Thus, the right to dissent is to hold dissenting views regarding preaching and practising one’s faith and religious values. Thus, the right to dissent is a cornerstone of India’s value system. Indian democracy and its Constitution preach to us to hold dissenting views and, simultaneously, be polite and gentle while preaching one’s own values.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that we Indians sometimes seem to cross the Lakshman-Rekha while practising one’s own values and ethos. The ultimate result of this is the rising of the hydra-head of the fissiparous tendencies of the fissiparous forces. This fact is not at all conducive to Indian democracy. In such a situation, we need to ponder and analyse by introspective of our own values and, at the same time, ponder the positive traits of others’ values. In such a situation, it will embolden the very spirit of the Indian democracy and will be the greatest respect to the framers of our constitution. This fact may be considered the greatest boon for our Indian democracy, thereby strengthening Indian democracy itself.
Indian democracy finds a proud place as the world’s largest democracy. Therefore, the world’s largest democracy must be groomed so that the Indian constitution acts as the guiding mantra for the other parts of the world. If the Constitution of India is the root of the Indian democracy, then the democratic norms among the country’s citizens can certainly act as the fruit in this regard. Thus, the greatest hallmark of Indian democracy seems to be respected for the Indian constitution. This will usher in the sense of respect for everything that the Indian Constitution preaches and promote in the long run. This process will not only be a salute to the framers of the Constitution but will also strengthen the roots of democracy with the passage of time.
At the same time, the Indian Constitution, in the long run, will promote democratic norms among the common masses. This will strengthen our democracy by making its roots firm with the changing time. The roots of democracy will encompass the common masses’ body, mind and soul by dint of the democratic norms. True democracy is not limited to contesting elections and thereby forming a government. At the same time, it lies in imbibing the various values, ethos and norms preached by the Indian constitution. With the passage of time, this will make democracy a system of governance. This development will certainly make the roots of Indian democracy deeper and deeper.
The role of the fair sex—key in strengthening democracy
Among the comity of nations, we Indians have the distinction of following the Indian Constitution to grant the right of franchise to all, irrespective of gender considerations. In this way, the fairer sex has got the right to the franchise since the inception of the Indian Constitution. In most of the democracies of the world, fair sex has to toil hard to enjoy this right. This very fact acted as the cornerstone of the Indian Constitution. This acted as a pillar of strength of the Indian Constitution wherein the right to vote to all, irrespective of gender considerations, has enriched the Indian democratic norms and its value system.
At the same time, we Indians need to ponder over the fact of our approach toward fair sex. Yes, the fairer sex has indeed got the right to vote since the inception of the Indian Constitution, but at the same time, it seems that the outlook of the male sex towards the female sex seems bohemian. The female sex, most of the time, seems to feel dejected and secluded in their lives. The feeling of insecurity and aloofness from the male sex towards the female sex seems to be increasing at an alarming pace. The male sex in such a situation must have the feeling of living and let live among them.
Role of media in strengthening democracy
Legislature, executive and judiciary form the three pillars of the Indian democracy. At the same time, media has been recognised as the fourth pillar of Indian democracy. In light of this fact, the media, too, is responsible for strengthening the fundamental foundations of our democracy with time. In this process, the media has a pivotal role in forming public opinion among the masses, thereby percolating it among the citizens of our country. In this regard, a vigilant media which acts as the pathfinder of the various problems of the Indian citizens and finding solutions to them may be considered the pivotal role of it.
At the same time, the media must act neutrally, thereby not loosening its authenticity and neutrality. In this regard, media must act coherently and thereby, it is its responsibility to act in such a way that it becomes a pathfinder of social cohesion. Media, the fourth pillar of Indian democracy, must act in such a manner that, with the passage of time, it becomes very relevant in the emotions, sentiments and feelings of the common masses of our country. Media, then in the long run, will then be able to become and ultimately make the roots of the Indian democracy stronger. Thus, media in this regard must work neutrally and consequently should not neglect any strata of Indian society. This fact is key to the functioning of the Indian democracy and strengthens the fundamental foundations of democracy with the passage of time.
All in all, we Indians must make the best efforts to strengthen the foundations of democracy by heralding such an era in our country wherein democracy and democratic norms among the countrymen automatically inculcate them, thereby deepening democracy among them. In this process, we Indians must be aware, awake and vigilant enough to strengthen democratic norms among the countrymen. Democracy as a form of governance must be observed and analysed to strengthen and generate a feeling of cohesion rather than anarchy. This cohesion will ultimately form a bridge between what we, Indians, want to achieve as a democracy and what is the way ahead for us, the citizens of our country.
There are certainly many other arenas of Indian society that, if properly mushroomed, may rather help us strengthen democracy. Here it is necessary to remember that in this analysis of ways to strengthen democracy, there is more realm for interpretation.
As mentioned above, with time, democracy and democratic forms of government will inculcate newer and unseen or unobserved dimensions of life. In this process, democracy and a democratic form of government will touch new arenas of life, thereby enriching democracy in our country. In this regard, vigil and conscious citizens about the various strata of life is the need of the hour for our democracy. This is relevant for us by making democracy a way of governance and an outlook towards our own life.