Monday, May 4, 2009

Indian elections

I would like to talk about this election in which the people have voted twice (or 3 times, not sure) I may not be an expert in Indian politics but I do feel that as a rising world power, India should vote for an able body that establishes herself as a world power, not as a harmless passerby who will unconditionally side with the West.

I also feel that India has domestic issues that need to be solved before dealing with the entire world's problems. I know that the national congress party likes to get involved in foreign affairs but they have had trouble controlling a tiny island nation of Sri Lanka who hasn't backed down from its ruthless campaign against the Tamil villages in the northeast. Terrorism and security have proved to be issues for India as well, yet the Congress Party is ignoring a major issue and instead they are openly attacking the BJP for being too ultra-conservative. Thoughts?


  1. Elections, by themselves, do not make a genuine democracy. Of course, they could express the popular will subject to an important proviso - the candidates available are capable of and willing to represent their electors. In India, the majority is poor, hungry and illiterate. They have expectations within a very limited horizon. They cannot be bothered about the nuclear deal, global currency or global economic crisis etc. They are all so distant and unreal for them. The candidates exploit the limited expectations and ignorance of the electorate and have hijacked the objective of elections as a mere mechanism to capture power to feather their own nests. The bulk of India cannot throw up - yes throw up is the right phrase - any better.
    Hence foreign policy and global economic policy etc tend to be centred in the hands of a coterie of interests.
    The Indian problem is that there is no national awareness or aspiration distinct from the immediate and personal. That is why the Tamils issue is emotive in a section - only in a section - of Tamilnadu. At the national level, it has to be viewed from two prisms - that of Kashmir and of the separatist North-East.

  2. Exactly, if the mass populace isn't very concerned with India's foreign affairs then politicians should stop focusing on foreign affairs so much. The reason why they were elected is to solve the domestic problems such as the widening gap between rich and poor, and national security. India is not at the stage where they can tell Pakistan how to treat their Sikh population when they themselves don't control their own Hindu-Muslim or caste conflicts. The lack of focus on Sri Lanka isn't catastrophic but the fact that India wants Prabhakaran and they ignore the losses of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka is uncharacteristic of the ethical democracy that India would like.

  3. India really should solve their own problems before they should deal with world problems.One thing they should solve is how to stop terrorism in India. Especially after the Mumbai attacks.

  4. Swine flu? I guess pigs can fly.

  5. You forget that There are really two India's. One, a large (700 Mn) uneducaed or undereducated lass) with relatively few opportunities to progress adn the Other 300 Mn (Bigger than Europe) Middle class, well connected and a Global citizen. There are bound to be different priorities. In general the more urban populace in (Delhi & Gujrat for eg) has rewarded performing politicianns like Shila dixit and Narendra modi whwreas the backward states like behar have releacted a political line Lalu Yadav for 17 Yrs. here is a politician feted by Harvard but one who has left the stte with less metalled roads now than it had in 1947!!!

  6. My dear Pranav,
    I saw your response.
    Domestic issues cannot be isolated from foreign implications. Take the case of caste. It is typically Indian and India's vulnerability to Christian Missionaries arise from this. There is a consequential demographic change. The low castes get converted on the promise that Christian society views them all as equal. That is a universal myth. Ask any Black or the Dalit Christian who has to take a separate pew and cannot marry with upper caste converts. Hence the converts want the same Constitutional privileges available to Dalits of Hindu society. That lead to riots between Hindu Dalits and Christian converts from Dalits. In turn George Bush made noises about our minorities and the Pope, who wants to keep 'harvesting souls' protested.
    It is the same thing with economics. Can you imagine an economy without external trade, currency valuation etc. If American Banks lend recklessly and Americans spend recklessly, the global economy 'melts'!
    Of course I agree with you that domestic issues should have priority. But the point is that they cannot be altogether dissociated from their international implications.
    Mani Thatha