[Answered]“India’s proud heritage of being one of the leading democracies in the world has taken a beating in recent times.” Examine.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual Introduction.

Body. Discuss the threat to Indian image of democracy.

Conclusion. Way forward.

Over the past few months, there had many instances that struck democracy by various issues and incidents. There is disconnectedness between elite and mass concerns and bring out its implications for the future of Indian democracy.Successful democracy encompasses both procedural aspects- political equality, effective institutions,tolerance for different opinions, ruler accountability, respect for the rules, and a strong political engagement. Recently,successful functioning of democracyhas been hit by incidents like mob lynching, hate crime, over-centralisation etc. 

Procedural democracy issues and threats:

  1. Several of political institutions which are constitutionally mandated to be autonomous agencies, have recently come under a cloud because of their perceived inability to work independently of the political executive or because of the lack of transparency in their performance.
  2. The other major apprehension is the threat posed to the “idea of India” as a plural and inclusive polity by the rise of Hindutva and its political instrument.
  3. The third major concern is the discernible rise in populist and authoritarian tendencies in the country that threaten to reduce India to merely a procedural democracy where elections are held primarily to anoint populist leaders.
  4. Jobs and livelihood are endangered by caste and communal threats and demonstration of sectarian divide.Even middle-class Indians feel economically vulnerable in the absence of a social safety net and are incessantly nervous about job insecurity.
  5. One factor that appears to cut across caste and linguistic divisions is the attraction for many voters to hyper-nationalism, sometimes bordering on jingoism.Hyper-nationalism has always been the favourite strategy of populist leaders seeking to retain or to attain power which dent Indian democracy.
  6. The recent action of government in Jammu and Kashmir although for safe future of the region has raised voice around the globe supported by propagandas and misinformation which need to be managed.

The rise of majoritarianism and the proliferation of populist and authoritarian tendencies, most voters are unconcerned about these issues. It is true that India has been able to remain as a democratic country for the last seven decades proving many political analysts wrong.A combination of the factors outlined above, lack of concern for institutions, preoccupation with livelihood issues, obsession with caste and community benefits, and the propagation of hyper-nationalism taken together facilitate populism, which, as history shows, can easily lead to authoritarianism.In spite of the country’s long commitment to democracy and repeated peaceful transition of power, Indian democracy is still vulnerable with a number of soft spots.

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