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#BetterDemocracy: Do we really deserve a better democracy?

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“Democracy: Form of government, where a constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections, and independent courts of law.”

Dear Indian,

Do we really deserve a better democracy? Do we actually have a democracy? Do we deserve a democracy at all? I ask this, because it seems that ever since we were left to govern ourselves, we’ve really messed up.

Yes, India is a fairly new democracy. It’s only, what? Nearly 70 years old? It’s had leaders come and go, with personal agendas, misguided motives, unintentional misdirections but somehow, the country has edged forward. Well a few in the country have edged forward, whilst many more have been left behind.

We’ve still got men urinating on the streets, in full view of the passing traffic, pedestrian and vehicular. We have doctors performing sterilizations on multiple women, without bothering to change his bloodied gloves, causing the deaths of women, who ironically were being operated on for forgoing life. We have rapes happening daily, to women, babies, boys, girls and anyone who is vulnerable enough to be. And all we do, is bicker about who is to blame. We’re not fixing anything. We’re not saying, “This is a terrible tragedy, and from now on, we will put these measures in place.”

What has gone wrong? Obviously democracy hasn’t worked. How can we say we are a developing nation when so many of us are forced to slave away in someone’s home, to be abused, marginalised and pitied. I haven’t even mentioned the incident when a fellow resident refused to share an elevator with a housemaid. An elevator, that’s ironic too, it’s supposed to lift us up, right?

I say, to hell with democracy! I say, we need a clean slate. We need the God of Moses to rain down a plague of locusts! Goodness knows, we’ve had to deal with much worse! We need stone tablets with rules and guidelines, which we must follow, on pain of torture. A bitter pill to swallow? May be.

I’ve lived here for nearly two years now. I have teetered between exasperation and elation. There is so much beauty in this land, so much generosity, but we’re still just swirling the dust around with our ancient brooms, nothing’s really being cleaned. Nothing’s really changing, except for those who are rich enough to change things for themselves.

This country houses multiple worlds, just within a small tower of apartments. The dignity of labour, is unheard of, ‘Jugaad’ is a term of endearment, the poor remain poor and the rich dance with champagne glass in hand, to the tune of ‘see no evil…’

Here is what I predict. Many people will read this letter and say, what are you doing about it? You’re an outsider, what do you know? You’re rich, you’re such a hypocrite! But here’s my answer:

I am holding up a mirror. What I can do, I am doing. And there are many more like, me, who refuse to stay silent. Individuals, groups, activists are taking practical stands to make things better, but not because of our great democracy; it is in spite of the democracy we have, because of the ‘democracy’ we have inherited that they are doing what they are doing. But there are too many of us, hung up on a false pride in a crumbling nation, to actually be motivated to take note. Some of us are too comfortable to change direction. If it doesn’t benefit us directly, why bother?

Which is why I ask again, “Do we deserve a democracy?

We deserve nothing! This nation of rapists, and child molesters, of bigots and crooks. We need the Goddess Kali to dance upon our skulls until they become a fine powder, and to scatter our ashes in the already polluted rivers of holiness. We need the God of Moses to lead us to the Dead Sea and let us drown as we choke on the tears shed by too many for too long.

The sad truth is, we’ve been looted by conquerors, past, and now we’re looting ourselves, like scavengers. We’ve given up on nurturing and educating and learning. Democracy is for civilizations, and we are far from civilized, my friends. Far from democratic.

Yours sincerely,

An Angry Indian

 

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