Tuesday, May 02, 2006

India - Democratic or Republic?

We proudly say we are Democratic, hey wait a sec, are we democratic, socialist or republic, hmm... .... ... lets see may be (long, confusing thoughts....)
Be sure no one going to ask you, but still we all should and must know what we are.

Preamble - Constitution of India:

"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION. "

This just shows the great ideology of people who were leading India at that time. We can just spend days after days for just discussing and understanding Preamble, but I wrote this blog to address what we are - Democratic, Republic or any thing else? So will be just concentrating on first line that says (not exact copy) -
"we constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC"

One can see the five words witch represent what we are now, not just democratic, socialist or republic but a combination of all the positives of each individual ideologies.
To understand the whole sentence we must understand each word (just to remind you, no single word from above can ever represent Indian system).

SOVEREIGN:
The dictionary means - autonomous rather more precisely not controlled by outside forces. So it gives only one aspect on India – it is not controlled or ruled by any other entity or person from outside. But, yes there is a big But; it doesn’t state that there can’t be monarchy or dictatorship. Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan are examples of some autonomous states with above discussed flaw.

SOCIALIST:
Socialist - system based on public ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth. So what does it tells you, yes we are socialist as government has control of almost all biggest production and service providers (BHEL, Indian Railways, BSNT, MTNL etc….). Socialist ideology also recommends a social organization, selected by people, to guarantee proper distribution.
So why does we are not just Socialist? – Well the answer is in the definition of socialism – “social organization, selected by people, to guarantee proper distribution” and “public ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth”.
Have you started to get the picture - Let me help you out. A social organization having direct control over all production, wealth, people and politics – as only organization supported by public. So if you are suppose to be the head of this organization, you are the most powerful person in the country with direct control over everything. And any one could easily become new Stalin.

SECULAR:
We all know it’s meaning – nonreligious, rather open to all regions and beliefs.

DEMOCRATIC:
The ideology that says - A political system or government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. It is a political system "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Hey that’s all, decided, we are democratic. But then why only democratic is enough to represent India?
Well its because of 2 reasons – first in democracy 51 beats 49 (if votes are from 100 people), so majority always wins, thus there will be no such thing as significant minority, or any minority rights. And secondly because in Democracy sovereignty is in the central government body, and not divided to smaller units as individual, only government body is authorized to do anything, and being citizens individuals are bound to their duties and obligations.

REPUBLIC:
Republic is actually a form of democracy in witch the minorities have right to raise their voice and the sovereignty resides in the people themselves, either one or many (usually a president and his ministers). That is sovereignty is distributed to smaller units such as individuals or groups. Further people have no obligation to the government; instead the government is obliged to its people
The only drawback is – minorities have veto power and this may hamper collective national growth, and that’s why Republic alone is not enough describe Indian system.

So what
SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC collectively mean?
It says India is an autonomous (SOVEREIGN) state, with all the controls of production and wealth with government (SOCIALIST), open to all religions (SECULAR), with government selected by the people (DEMOCRATIC), with proper consideration of minorities and distribution of sovereignty to smaller units (REPUBLIC).
And to address flaws of Socialist, Democratic and Republic ideologies, the government can’t take any decision by its own on any production units controlled by it and there must be public partnership, also government can’t make any rule by democratic way 51-49 rule they must have to get 2/3rd votes, and also though minorities are given special privileges but not the veto powers but still government is answerable to them for any decisions made.

- The last paragraph was the smallest possible way I could think to describe our great political system.

Note: when I say political system its not related with politics but the governance system of India.

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