The unseen face of post-independence Indian politics
The unseen/under-recognized aspects of Indian democracy is its aristocracy/elements of monarchy. The elites of India and even the middle class never had much of an appetite for democracy. They have scant respect for politics or politicians — and treat it with utmost disdain.
Many in India’s educated class secretly or overtly believe India should be an autocracy — probably a China style one. Take the recent case of Yogi’s selection as UP CM. He is a people’s choice and the voters didn’t show any displeasure. But, the media ran amok wanting the PM to have his handpicked guy — breaking democracy.
When Modi ran on a democratic platform in 2014, he was castigated by the media. Once he got enough power unimaginable in the past 30 years, he then became media’s darling. India’s educated class loves absolute power.
While the educated class so clearly speak of the emergency ordered by Indira Gandhi, they were actually cheering for her back in 1976. Until the ax fell on them with the arrest of media personalities, most media was also quite happy to go along. It was left to India’s poor to stop Indira’s atrocities.
In short, India continues to be a democracy not because of its educated and rich class, but because of its poor and illiterate class. And the more state gets educated worser its politics becomes. Delhi, Kerala and Goa are among the most educated of Indian states, but their politics are also the least egalitarian. In Kerala, you could get killed just for supporting a wrong party. Tamil Nadu had better politics 50 years ago when it was less educated. Illiterates of that era could vote for a Rajaji and Kamaraj. We the educated Tamils now have Edappadi and his edubidis [assistants]? Karnataka, the home to India’s IT sector, is equally worse in its choice of politicians.
The elites often worry what the illiterates would do to Indian politics. On the other hand, we should worry more about the dangers the educated class pose to Indian politics and its democracy. Even the poor class has more patience for facts, than this educated class relying on Whatsapp and other sources for its news. The poor have the humility to listen. Our class doesn’t.
This is the unseen face, the dangerous face. The one that assumes it is educated, knowledgeable, but the one that is the most impervious to facts.