Recently the American president Donald Trump was on his maiden visit to the Indian nation state. During his visit to New Delhi, India’s capital, the city witnessed big communal violence in which, so far, around 53 people have lost their lives. Hindu nationalist goons clashed with the Muslim mob. In these clashes, one police constable and one IB (Intelligence Bureau) officer have also died (murdered by the mob). This violence was in the making since the Hindu nationalist Modi government passed the controversial citizen amendment bill coupled with NRC, which many are now fearing will make millions of Indian Muslims stateless. UN Human Rights Commission chair has now filed an intervention application against this act in the Indian Supreme Court. CAA and NRC plus the continuing violence in different parts of India have given a bad name to India, especially the Modi government.
How did this happen in a country which is known for giving birth to world peace messengers like Buddha and Gandhi? Is this New India a sudden phenomenon or was it long in the making? The answers of all these questions lie in the political system of democracy. Let us see how.
Democracy is the root of social discord
One major underlying norm on the basis of which democracy functions is the norm of majority rule. This majority rule actually gives birth to all kinds of discords. As explained by Prof. Hans Harmann Hoppe and Frank Karsten,
In a democracy, moral considerations are triumphed by the will of the majority. Quantity trumps quality – the number of people that wants something overrides considerations of morality and rationality.
And that is a problem. Many bigoted Hindus have now got the chance of fully expressing their inherent hyper Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiments under the belligerent Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi. All the Hindu fundamentalists have come out of their hiding and are now roaming India freely ravaging it in the name of their ancient great Hindu civilization or its gods like Lord Rama or Hanuman etc. They have got this chance because of the system of democracy, which enabled them to vote Modi in power with a thumping majority. As many commentators are saying, Modi government represents brute majoritarianism. Whenever asked questions about their wrongdoings, Modi government ministers only have one answer: we are doing what people told us to by giving us 300+ seats in the election! Exactly. They are right. Blaming just Modi government for whatever is going on in India right now is missing the whole point of this fatal flaw of the system of democracy. Modi government is not dismantling democracy. Far from it. As H L Mencken very presciently said,
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
The present government of India is a quintessential of what Mencken above said. It is precisely the democracy that allowed and enabled Modi and his followers to do what they are doing in India.
The Indian democracy is now perfected. In its mature form, it is creating the kind of discord which it is supposed to create. Majority Hindu voters are now pushing minority Muslim voters in to the corner. A backlash and major flare up in violence is inevitable, and that is what we are witnessing in India now. Despite the best efforts of peace messengers like Buddha and Gandhi, the very nature of varied Indian populace and its political system of democracy ensures that there is no peace to be found anywhere on the Indian subcontinent. As long as this nature of people and consequently the political system are not changing, do not expect anything better to happen in India.