India, A Vibrant Democracy

India is a vibrant democracy.  We are proud that we get to choose our leaders every five years. Democracy is supposed to give smallest person a say. In our democracy, muscle power and money power has snatched voice of common man. Those with muscle tend to control politics, those with money controls law and order. Small person who stands alone, has very little access to justice. In our zeal to celebrate freedom and democracy, we forget that democracy gives one the right to voice his opinion but it does not give right to inconvenience others. Let us look at the following few examples. There are millions of others like these:

A few years back during a political rally in one of the major cities a main arterial road was blocked. As a result, a patient could not reach hospital in time and died waiting for road to clear. When challenged, unapologetic politicians claimed it is our democratic right to protest. 

Busy national highways become casualty to protestors of different hue. Protestors forget that travellers have nothing to do with their protest. Travellers get caught in the middle of nowhere without food, water or even money. A typical case was of Jat agitation demanding reservation. Delhi Sirsa highway was blocked with logs of woods and people were sitting in the middle of the road. There were armed police who did not interfere, lest government be called undemocratic. What a farce? 

Recently, politicians flocked to a hospital in Delhi to express their condolences to family of a soldier who had committed suicide due to perceived inaction by government of the day. Politicians often do not come alone. They are usually accompanied by gun totting security guards and hangers on.  When police swung into action and stopped and/or detained politicians, there was a lot of noise about democracy being under threat in India. Though motive behind not letting opposition politicians from aggrieved family members may also be political, a few questions beg answer:

Does visit of places like hospital where sick people come, not create inconvenience to ordinary people that are not well? 

Why could politicians not invite the aggrieved and mourning family members to their offices or even visit their native place? Probably photo opportunity would be missed. 

It is also strange that how select aggrieved families get access to phone numbers of important politicians who are more than eager to pay respect and address people about perceived impropriety of government. Whereas common people get beaten up by goons on the street or women get assaulted does not know whom to turn to. 

When are we going to be a mature democracy, where we can protest without inconveniencing others? India may be a vibrant democracy, is it a mature democracy? Here a lonely voice is seldom heard. Law here is a prisoner of politicians and order is sulking. Long live Indian democracy.

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