Many people have asked me to comment on the ongoing Parliamentary elections in India ( which are being held in 7 phases, from 11th April to 19th May 2019, the results to be declared on 23rd May ). My comments are these: 1. Whatever be the result they will have no effect on the real issues before India : massive poverty, huge and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment ( 47% of Indian children are malnourished ), widespread farmers distress ( over 300,000 farmers have committed suicide, and this is continuing unabated ), almost total lack of good healthcare and education for the masses, widening gap between rich and poor ( 7 Indians own the same wealth as bottom half of our 1320 million people ). This will continue, and probably get worse, whatever be the result. The only difference will be that the lynching of Muslims will be reduced a bit if BJP loses the majority. ( see my article ‘ Why the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are irrelevant ‘ online and in the week.in ).
“A great historical transformation is inevitably coming in India. “
The test of every political system and political activity is one, and only one: is the standard of living of the people rising or not under that political system and by that political activity? Are the people getting employment and higher incomes, good healthcare and education, nutritious food, etc. ? Are minorities, Dalits, etc able to live with dignity and honor or not? In other words, are the people getting decent lives or not? Nothing else is relevant. From that point of view, in my opinion, the current Indian elections are really irrelevant, except for the slight difference it will have for minorities.2. All kinds of fantastic promises have been made by all political leaders during the election campaign, who have promised the moon to the people if voted to power, fully knowing that these promises are not implementable 3. In all probability, there will be a coalition government after the elections since neither the BJP nor the Congress party will get a majority. Then there will be squabbling for lucrative portfolios since our politicians have no genuine love for the people or desire to serve them but an insatiable thirst for power and pelf.
Thereafter too there will be infighting between the coalition partners, as happened in the Janta Party Govt formed in 1977 after the Emergency. In other words, a period of instability and chaos will set in, as happened in the era of the later Mughals ( 1707-1857 ) after the death of the last strong Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, which continued till 1857 when after crushing the Mutiny British rule was consolidated and relative stability established.4. Chaos cannot last permanently. Nature does not like a vacuum. After this period of chaos in India following the present Lok Sabha elections, some alternative to parliamentary democracy will emerge, probably after a revolution.
Parliamentary democracy in India has been reduced to reliance on caste and communal vote banks in most parts of India. Caste-ism and communal-ism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if India is to progress ( by rapid industrialization ) but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. Hence it has to be replaced by an alternative system under which India rapidly industrializes, like China, for only that can solve our massive socio-economic problems. How such an alternative system will be created and when, what form the coming Indian revolution will take, who will be our patriotic modern-minded leaders, etc is impossible to predict.
But one thing is certain: the present state of affairs in India, with our state institutions having largely collapsed and become hollow and empty shells ( see my article ‘ Why celebrate Republic Day when our Constitution has become a scarecrow ‘ online and in theweek.in ), and the people’s distress growing, cannot continue for long. A great historical transformation is inevitably coming in India.
By Justice Markandey Katju
former Judge, Supreme Court India
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