This has been an Indian summer filled with heat and dirt.
Every new scam, brings with it ever increasing disillusionment with the existing political establishment, cutting across party lines.
Evidence of rampant corruption to an extent never witnessed before, combined with the brazen disregard for public opinion and probity in public life and, have led India to a tipping point. As political parties trade charges, in an effort to gain political mileage from scandals in the other camp, both Government and Parliament have been paralysed. But for our Judiciary, things would be looking very bleak.
However there are two emerging trends that offer a ray of hope in this dis-heartening environment.
1. The Emergence of Citizen’s parties and candidates : Across the country, like minded citizen’s are coming together to create a new Political Order. There is a growing feeling that we must create a political alternative led by citizen politicians. The hope is that people with integrity, experience, competence, vision and humility will be willing to enter politics, not to serve themselves but to serve their country. Unburdened by the baggage of dynasty and criminals, politics in our country could be washed clean.
Over the past months, I have had discussions with many such groups and individuals. Hearteningly, what unites us is the understanding that bringing this change will take time, and the commitment to stay the course, until it does. As a wise elderly gentleman said “Change will come and we will win, but this is a race in which only the those with the stamina and courage for the long haul will survive. Hamein lambe race ke ghodon ki zaroorat hai !”
I am hopeful that many of these citizens groups will find it possible to rally around a common set of Principles, and agree on the priorities and policies that need to be focused on. If we do so, we can use this precious window of opportunity to create a viable Third alternative that this country so desperately needs.
2. The power of citizen’s participation, enabled by media and technology : It is clear that both media and social media have become game changers. Technology now makes it possible for citizens to actively participate in Governance – to share their views on-line, in real-time and for their voice to be heard. Increasingly our elected representatives are being held accountable, for doing the job they were elected to do, and for upholding moral and ethical values, that many have so far ignored.
Ours has always been a vibrant democracy with an electorate that does not hesitate to boot out incompetent and corrupt administrations. Regrettably these lessons are often forgotten by both incumbents and opposition, in the five-year long lead-up to the next elections.
Nevertheless, these two trends are encouraging signs for a truly representative and participative democracy. Thanks to them, we will hopefully have an Indian Monsoon, (rather than an Arab Spring), to wash away the dirt in Indian politics.