of Government for India
by Dr. Subhash Kapila
India stands out as a shining symbol of democracy amongst the nations that emerged as independent states after the demise of colonial rule post-World War II. India’s founding fathers, and I stress the plural, opted for the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy as practiced in Britain with some modifications. They did study the American and French presidential systems but opted for the Parliamentary system of government. If India has been a shining democracy, it is not because of any sterling contributions of its polity but despite them.
Probably in their wisdom and taking a long view as was available at that particular time, India’s founding fathers perceived that the parliamentary system of government would be best suited to bridge the vast disparities of India and provide opportunities for a more integrated India to emerge. They also believed that the generations of political leaders that would follow them and occupy their hallowed seats in Parliament would be men and women of equal noble vision and equal noble purpose.
India’s parliamentary democracy after more than half a century in existence today presents a sordid picture if the following features that have emerged are taken into account:
• Due to the compulsions of electoral arithmetic of a parliamentary system. India has become politically more divisive and fragmented.
• India’s political dynamics today are more driven by considerations of casteism, communalism and other sectarian factors.
• In India today no political party can claim to be a national party of stature. Their influence may be predominant in some regions and negligible or even non-existent elsewhere.
• India’s Congress Party claiming to be more than a century old has yet to nurture a leadership independent of the political dynasty that has held sway ever since independence. In election after election to ensure their success they look for their...