The Best Government for our Country

'Democracy demoralizes' That was the topic given to me for group discussion as part of the selection process for IIM, Calcutta, one of India's premier institution. This has been my personal opinion since childhood. The corruption, the indecisiveness and partisan interests of the so called leaders discredited the system in my eyes. Over the years I have been thinking what would be the best system. I had a romanticized view of communism in my childhood, when Russia was still at it peak. But now I know better. What I know better, I leave for another occasion. Dictatorship appealed to me for a while, but realized the great risk it entailed.

There is also an opinion that there is nothing wrong with democracy as a system but with the Indian politicians. That is the view that most of the Indian movies seem to promote with various story lines that involve the protagonist reforming the system by killing a few politicians. But to me that argument never seemed to hold water. After all how can a good system bring bad people to power? My views were further vindicated on reading 'The Republic' by Plato, where he clearly shows how democracy by its very nature would lead to the very ills that plague our nation. People always showed how democracy worked well in countries like Europe and USA. Recent events and movies such as the ones made by Micahel Moore have at least shown the sorry state of affairs in USA. I have not studied the democracies in Europe too well. But for all outward appearances they seem to be working well, especially in countries such as Switzerland. So I began to give a thought towards why things worked well there based on my limited knowledge.

Now let me get back to my initial question of designing the best system and see how I can converge that with the reason for success of democracy in Europe. When I went about trying to design an ideal system, I found for every law I could think of, every rule, every check and balance I put in place I could find some loop hole that could be used to twist it for selfish gains. The greater the checks I put, the bigger monster I was giving into the hands of the ruler for prosecuting the populace. I was also reminded me of what my HR professor at B School used to say about why union leaders prefer a system that has lot of rules. When there are lot of rules, then there will be confusion and management will be strangled by their own rules. And the union can benefit by the confusion. They can fight to create new rules to solve every new problem, thus consolidating their own power base. A simple system with good managers who function with the best interests of the employees in mind would make them redundant. So they would never prefer that. Same is the case with the government. It is not the system but the people who matter. For instance one can see countries like Bhutan and Thailand where people just love their monarch and are very happy. A good monarch would any day be better than a bad democratically elected government.

So now we are again back to where we stared. "People". So am I again saying that few bad politicians are the cause for all our problems? Not at all. The problem is with the entire population of the country. As the old saying goes democracy does not give the best government but the government the people deserve. I feel we lack maturity as a nation. We still think in short term. We are more concerned about gains for our smaller groups at the cost of the nation as a whole. We are still like the crabs in a pit that keep pulling each other down. Our government policy has always been towards wealth distribution than towards wealth creation.So what is needed is a system of education and religion that uplifts the people above their pettiness.

Also so many people don't have food to eat. They would any day prefer food rather than the right to vote. So all the money being wasted in maintaining this costly system of government can be used to feed hundreds of hungry stomachs. Hungry men don't think about nation building. Only when men are well fed, well educated and given leisure to think can they decide who is best to govern their nation.

Now coming to the point of democracy in Europe. Democracy evolved as a natural system in Europe after going through various phases of experimentation with different systems and revolution that over threw them. They seem to be much more evolved people than us. We on the other hand skipped many steps of the evolution and directly inherited the system from the British. Hindu jingoists may argue about the glories of ancient time. That may be true but then there has been a break from the ancient tradition for at least 1000 years during the Sultanate, Mughal and British rule. So it would not be logical to assume the current civilization to be an extension of those glorious times. What we have today is an ancient culture in shambles with lot of incursions from alien civilization.

At this point,the best course I can see is to introspect and see what still remains from the ancient civilization is usable form and what good things have come in from outside and work on this with our creativity to build a new civilization. To do this we need men with muscles of iron and nerves of steel with dedication to build the nation as envisaged by the great visionary Swami Vivekananda. And the way to initiate the change should be through inculcating a similar spirit in the country men till we have a nation of people deserving the best government.

So education and religion seems to me the agent of change and not politics.

1 comment:

Destination Infinity said...

I too feel that there is no point in selection of a bullet-proof system, as long as the people dont have the will to keep it bullet proof. The "People" are more important than the system indeed. Most of the things that happen to us and around us is because we want them to happen or because we have taken some initiative for it to happen that way. So, basically, if change has to come, we should want it - inspite of the insecurities it may bring along, is my pov.

Destination Infinity

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