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13 August 2012, Fair Observer°

India’s Wounded Democracy

Fair Observer republished Sudeep Chakravarti's article on the internal health of India's democratic system. He argues that although India's foreign policy prowess is growing, the smooth functioning of our democracy is threatened by poverty, corruption and displacement - issues that need to be addressed promptly.

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There is an urgent need to evangelise the compelling reality that there is a country at stake: India.

It is these days fashionable in certain circles to write off India’s neighbours—Pakistan, Nepal—as failed states, and superciliously refer to other neighbours—Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar—as those who have seen the guiding light of India’s constitutionally mandated plurality, inclusion, and democracy.

Perhaps it is because India’s democracy has achieved much. The country’s army has remained within parliamentary ambit. Universal suffrage—the right to vote—was accorded equally to women and men and all socio-economic classes from the moment of free India’s birth. Each general election is the largest such exercise in the world. India’s Constitution remains among the finest, its Parliament and state assemblies—the elections to which dwarf in numbers and logistics the national elections in several major countries—are among the most representative. Developments such as the Right to Information Act, extracted more as an imperative by concerned citizenry than delivered by dedicated legislators and administrators, is a glorious example of vox populi.


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