Editor’s remarks: Indian ‘democracy’ is said to be the largest in the world because of the size of India’s big population and its massive electorate. On paper, India has a democratic constitution that enshrines basic human rights for all and provides for a parliamentary system of government. But India has democracy only in form, not in substance. In practice, the whole democratic process in India has gradually become so corrupt and moribund that Indian politics is said to be akin to a big business where leading parties make political and economic deals and horse-trading for power. The only law that prevails in the union is the universal rule of corruption from the lowest levels of officials to the top officials and politicians. That’s where India stands. The protests and sustained pressures from the common people and workers and peasant organisations is often negated by big economic interests. But such voices and people’s movements are the only hope in a deeply flawed and corrupt political system.
Nasir Khan, Editor
“Getting Home”… a Missive from India by Anuradha Roy
The Main Point, Dec 28, 2012
I came back to Delhi from travels elsewhere on Christmas eve. The roads were windswept and foggy and, unusually for any Indian city, almost deserted. Through a drive of about 20 kilometres, there was not a single pedestrian for long stretches. There were fewer than usual cars, hardly any auto rickshaws. Enormous state transport buses sailed past with no occupants other than the driver and conductor.
In response to the brutal gang rape in Delhi on 16th December of a young student, the state had taken several steps, the results of which I was witnessing from the window of my taxi from the airport: the Delhi metro, by which an average of about 1.8 million people travel every day, had been shut down; the state had cordoned off the entire central vista of Delhi where the protesters had been attacked the day before by the police, with water cannon (in freezing December weather), tear gas and batons. It had also set in force something called Section 144, which makes it punishable for more than five people to gather anywhere.
Gandhi described British colonial rule over India as ‘satanic’. It is hard to find any other word to describe the way India is ruled now.
The daily violence against women in India is nauseating enough but people are yet more livid because of the state’s routine indifference to it. The Home Minister has said that if he went to meet the protesters at India Gate today, as was being demanded, he might some day be asked to meet ‘Maoists.’ Both he and the police commissioner justified the violent action against the thousands of students agitating for justice, claiming that the protest had been taken over by hooligans.