India and US are the two most prominent democracies of the world. In this post, I attempt to dissect that inextricable linkages between democracy and demography taking examples relevant in this context.
A recent statement by the leader of BNP( an openly nationalist party in UK) about sinking refugee laden boats from North Africa in the Mediterranean Sea let loose a media frenzy. But many nations in Europe have already been tacitly expelling refugees from Asia and Africa. Todays tough economic conditions and protectionism makes it easy to justify such deportations. Is the media right in blaming these governments for their actions and what has happened with countries who have welcomed refugees and invaders in the past ?
When refugees and naturalised citizens are given equal voting rights, they are very likely to put someone from their own community into power or split the very nation that they came to as refugees into different parts. It is basic human instinct to feel secure with someone like yourself in power. India is a good example and an even better upcoming example is the USA. This “bloodless coup” takes place over one or a couple of generations. Diversity can only be the icing on the cake. It cannot be the cake itself. Nowhere in the history of human civilization have we seen a country maintain its integrity without a strong majority (and so will it be the case with India). Outpopulating other religions and sects seems to have become a global weapon of choice of “legally” taking over scarce resources.
Democracy and demography are intricately linked. Practically speaking, democracy is all about numbers and not so much about rights & freedoms. How many citizens of India actually feel safe in everyday life or exercise their freedoms as indicated in the constitution of India ?
Democracy is also about social equality.The politicians today are trying to bring about social justice and equality by increasing reservations.The healthcare sector is already is chaos and we realise that only when we or our relatives are hospitalised. Its the middle class and the poor who will continue to bear the burden and many of these will also belong to the backward castes and minorities. A very recent example of this is the current Swine flu scare in Pune and Mumbai.
If anyone still recalls what happened on Nov 26 in Mumbai last year, it was a total intelligence failure on all parts. I recently read in one of the surveys that the average IQ amongst the national defence academy recruits has fallen by 30 points in the past 20 years and it can only be worse in RAW, Police forces, etc. I spoke with a retired army colonel who encourages students with good scores in their state board /CBSE exams to try for NDA. He said that he often receives replies such as “Why should I sacrifice my life for these politicians ?” or “Smart people serving the nation will only prolong the rule of the politicians” or “Why don’t the people enjoying reservations do this ?” Surprisingly ,we do not have reservation in the armed forces. Given the sad state of the armed and police forces, is it really surprising that the police often end up apprehending and harassing the innocent or the fact that a few terrorists kept the NSG at bay for 3 days in a five star hotel and some more of them held the financial capital of India in a grip of terror for a week ? Or the
fact that the Mumbai police thought for a long time that they were dealing with some small-time underworld thugs and lost a couple of their best officers ?
The Indian media is free at least on paper and it has a big role to play in changing the status quo.But it has its own subscription,viewership and sponsorship issues to handle. What sells more in India is a politician or a movie star having an affair, some minor corruption scandal(the major ones obviously are kept secret),cricket (since it unites the country),an IIM grad becoming a crorepati, etc. It just highlights the desperate situation where we need “heroes” everyday for a glimmer of hope. It reminds me of the Soviet Union where they literally had an honour called “Hero of the Soviet Union” which the soldiers could aspire to win and get inspiration from in their dark days.
But life goes on and the low poll turnout in Mumbai also indicates that many Mumbaikars who spent hours in candle light vigils and watching the show unfold on televisions most likely did not bother to vote in elections 6 months later. But lets not blame the Mumbaikars. It would have been the same situation anywhere else in India. So let us continue praying….
(The views expressed above are author’s own and do not reflect views of strat.in per se . Strat. In is acting solely as a platform. For more, read our disclaimer. )