[Editorial Analysis] A pick between dark politics or collective resistance

Mains Paper 2: International Relations
Prelims level: Corruption Perceptions Index
Mains level: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Context:

• Donald Trump’s drive to connect a legitimate election has shaken faith in the functioning of democracy worldwide.
• Subsumed in the violence of fear and hatred, political polarization, social discrimination, it is not Mr. Trump who is solely responsible. The people are as much to be blamed.

• Politicians across the globe sink to new levels of unwarranted incitement of a malleable public, a disastrous and politically debasing tendency of constitutional democracy.

History as a pointer:

• The loss of faith in the ruling elite points towards a disturbing future. The long and cyclic dark history of civilization, of wars and violence, of religious fanaticism and irrationality is a loud indication of the failure to model society on rational principles.

• The trajectory of liberal democracy evolving into totalitarianism is evidently present in the brute forces of Italian fascism or German Nazism, two striking examples of the birth of vulgar nationalist fervor and racial superiority.

• The judging by the history of violence, political participation has the potential of making people more irrational, prejudiced and mean.

• The power and brutality of state violence therefore stands legitimised while justifiable or innocent violence accompanying demonstrations against racism or police ferocity result in ruthless consequences.

Evasive promise:

• Philosophical democratic theory is, therefore, rather perplexing. One aspect is the idolised view of democracy as an inimitably just form of government where people have the right to equal share of political power that empowers the people.

Essential Conditions for Democracy:

• There may be two major categories: (a) political conditions, and (b) social and economic conditions – the fulfilment of the first leads to political democracy and the second as social democracy.

• A democratic system has to ensure that the social development is in tune with democratic values and norms reflecting equality of social status and opportunities for development, social security and social welfare.

Challenges to Indian democracy:

• Illiteracy among people was a matter of grave concern for the successful functioning of democracy in India on the eve of independence and it still continues to be a major challenge.

• Poverty is considered as the greatest bane of democracy. It is, in fact, the root cause of all kinds of deprivations and inequalities. It is the state of denial of opportunities to people to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

• Discrimination against girls and women exists in every walk of life. You must have had such experiences of prevailing gender inequality in our society and polity. But we know that gender equality is one of the basic principles of democracy.

• The Indian democracy faces serious challenges also from casteism, communalism and religious fundamentalism. They weaken the functioning and stability of democratic system.
• Indian democracy has also been struggling with regionalism which is primarily an outcome of regional disparities and imbalances in development.

• India’s ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI-2019) has slipped from 78 to 80 compared to the previous year, by Transparency International. one of biggest challenge for India.

• Criminalization of politics in India has become a debatable issue. There have been allegations that there are some elements in politics that do not have faith in democratic values and practices.

• Political Violence: Violence has been with us for long, but use of violence for political end is dangerous for the existence of any system. In India we have been witnessing various forms of violence.

• Communal violence, caste violence and political violence in general have attained serious proportion. Communal riots are engineered by vested interests for political, religious and economic reasons. Caste violence in various shapes has been increasing.

Reason for political violence in democracy:

• A serious conflict of interests has emerged between higher, race, cast, and ethnic this has led to aggressive competition for political power which many a time leads to violence.

• Polarization by political party and by leader on the name of cast, religion, greed, sex, place of birth and so on.

Who check democratic Violence? (devices of democracy)

• The existence of multiple political parties;

• The free, fair, and regular elections whereby adult citizens vote to choose between candidates of these parties;

• the freedom of the press, including the electronic media;

• There is an independent judiciary;

• The freedom to live, work, and own property anywhere in the country of which one is a citizen, and to associate with other citizens in the manner of one’s choosing.

Way forward:

• Recognizing the failures of the past while retaining hope for the future, we need to develop a critique of violence within democracies that is adequate to the times.

• There is always a political struggle basic to the recognition of evident and hidden forms of injustice and violence that make people mindful of it, deliberate on it, and act.

• Elections are key elements of democratic processes. They provide for transparent and peaceful change of government and distribution of power. For this reason, a strong emphasis on democratization world need international policy,

• Support to strengthen institutional capacity to promote democratic norms and to ensure democratic rule of law is now seen as crucial for peacebuilding.

• Elections and democracy promotion have thus become central strategies to build peace in countries shattered by violent conflict.

• To build a strong, democratic and peaceful society, based on the rule of law, accountability and transparency.

• Focus on citizen at large may feel constrained to openly and freely voice political views, engage in public debates, and organize them politically.

• Support an independent electoral agency to assess and evaluate different capacities among actors for specific tasks.

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