Politics, Public Issues

Democracy and demography

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 in IndiaDemocracy 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. )

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6 thoughts on “Democracy and demography

  1. Abhishek says:

    Question: Is this meant to be a general rant against India, US and the rest of the world or does this even makes a pretence of a claim to be logical? On the assumption that some thought has gone into making this argument (or the lack of it), let me make a few points:
    1. “What has happened with countries who have welcomed refugees and invaders in the past ?” – It is a stretch of logic (in addition to a complete lack of humanitarian sensitivity) to paint refugees and invaders with the same brush. Refugees are forced to leave their homeland and in many ways their ways of life in order to escape mindless brutality. Invaders make a conscious choice to forcibly seize that which does not belong to them. While invaders are opposed, most civilized countries in the world have allowed refugees, even given them special status. Case in point: Tibetan refugees in India.
    2. “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” – This is another broadbrush seemingly devoid of logic; Refugees and naturalised citizens! Naturalized citizens make a conscious decision to be a part of the political process of another country, accept its way of life and their assumed country accepts this bestowing them with rights. Refugees on the other hand harness a inner hope to return to their motherlands. While naturalized citizens have voted for members of their own community in the US, I am yet to come across examples of “splitting the nation”.
    3. “Outpopulating other religions and sects seems to have become a global weapon of choice of “legally” taking over scarce resources” – Do you have any empirical evidence to back this?
    4. “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 ?” – Even if I agree that Indians don’t feel as secure as they would like to, can you make the case they would feel safer in any other alternative arrangement of governance? Do you realize that you are exercising your freedom of speech when you ask that question?
    5. I can’t even begin to understand the connection between reservations in education and swine flu in Pune.
    6. Is the armed force not as efficient as you would like it to be because of this “alleged 30 point drop in IQ”? Do you have any evidence of the NSG’s inefficiency in the November 26 attacks? Yes, the Mumbai police goofed up, but this can be attributed to political interference rather than this home-grown theory of drop in IQs?

    Finally, can you analytically connect this grand theory of refugees, invaders, soldiers with low IQs, media dependent upon advertising and basically everybody in the world to the low voter turnout in Mumbai?

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  3. Abhijit says:

    I am not able to read the 2nd comment.

    Btw, completely agree with Abhishek. I could not find out what the author wanted to highlight through the entire article.

    Democracy and demography are still not clearly distinguished or rather characterized in the post.

  4. Kaushik says:

    I agree with Abhijit. I could not make much sense in the article except for the media part, which I agree to an extent.

    Else, the comments made by the author are extremely self contradictory. For example- “It is basic human instinct to feel secure with someone like yourself in power” – and then he says – “Surprisingly ,we do not have reservation in the armed forces” . What kind of reservation are you talking about? Those based on caste or religion or gender?

    BTW, what do you mean by Bloodless Coup in the USA. When and how did this happen? If refugees were to select one of their own, we might as well have seen Governors and Mayors of Hispanic and Asian origins, which, I doubt there are many, if any at all.

    “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” – Author, who told you that poor means backward classes and minorities? Also, looking at the swine flu deaths in India, one can say that they victims differ in their social and economic strata

  5. latrociny says:

    This article lacks serious merit, I would prefer the author to join a “nationalist” part such as the very national and secular RSS, SIMI etc (pun intended) or rather become a correspondent for India TV. The article started off really well and then fuuuuusssshhh it goes down the drain. I agree the country and it’s system is flawed in many a places, but the author has done a real tacky job in analysing the causes or the effects .

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