Decline of parliamentary democracy: “President” Modi in 2022?
Apart from these Western experts, there were left-wing intellectuals, even Marxists, who expressed doubts about this exercise. Citing partition, some have said that there will be many more “partitions” which could lead to the balkanization of the entire subcontinent. Some thought that once Pandit Nehru disappeared from the national scene, the whole edifice would collapse.
Well, all of these fears and apprehensions, well-intentioned or not, have turned out to be wrong. Yet when Prime Minister India Gandhi declared a state of emergency in 1975, some of them happily said: “we told you so” and indeed “celebrated” the “demise of democracy” in India. They didn’t even find it necessary to rethink their negative hypothesis. The counter-thesis was that Mrs Gandhi had in fact saved the democracy from the anarchy which was unleashed in the name of “Nav Nirman” and “Tital Revolution”. Again, critics of Nehruvism got it wrong when Nehru’s daughter surprised by calling for parliamentary elections in 1977. She and the Congress Party lost the elections in a landslide, but the system survived .
Indeed, there have been serious crises, ups and downs, assassinations of prime ministers or national leaders, separatists challenging federal unity, Nagas and Mizos in the Khalistan Movement, but they could be overcome. The “Idea of India”, rather vague in its definition but quite concrete in its experience, was able to survive because there was the legacy of the Freedom Movement, in the form of the Indian National Congress. Parliamentary democracy was an integral part of this idea.
In 2022, India will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its independence. But there again, serious apprehensions began to be expressed, as to whether the country will remain sovereign, united and integrated politically and geographically in its centenary 2047. In the past the ideological center had held. The content of this ideological formation was formed by the idea of secularism, federalism, pluralism, sovereignty, liberalism, institutional autonomy and freedom of mobilization as well as independence of the media.