Parliamentary Democracy in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh: Is it really working for us?

By Justice Markandey Katju

Parliamentary Democracy in India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh: Is it really working for us?

Parliamentary democracy in our subcontinent is the biggest hoax and obstacle to our progress. In fact, it is an Albatross hanging on our heads which keeps our people poor and with a host of massive socio-economic problems. It prevents us from progressing and becoming modern industrial nations, like Western countries, and giving our people decent lives. Why do I say so? Let me explain.

Parliamentary democracy rests on the majority vote, but unfortunately, the vast majority in our countries are casteist and communal, while the enlightened section would not be more than 10%, probably less. In India parliamentary democracy really means appeasing and appealing to caste and religious vote banks. When most people go to vote in India they do not see the candidate’s merit but his caste or religion (or the caste or religion which the party to which the candidate belongs represents). Casteism and communalism are feudal forces which must be destroyed if our countries are to progress, but parliamentary democracy further entrenches them. So how can we progress under such a system?

China has no parliamentary democracy but is rapidly advancing economically under a modern-minded leadership, and is already the world’s second superpower, while India is still embroiled in Ram Mandir, cow protection and caste politics, and has massive poverty, unemployment, malnourishment, and lack of health care and good education for the masses.

Nepal introduced parliamentary democracy after the overthrow of the monarchy, but has that benefited the people? Not at all. Nepal is still poor and with massive socio-economic problems. In Nepal, some individuals earlier claiming to be revolutionaries are now enjoying benefits like flats, official cars etc ( which are nothing but illegitimate gains)  and this has eliminated their revolutionary ardour.

The less said about Pakistan’s democracy the better. Everyone knows that it is the army which is the real ruler there, and the civilians are mere puppets. Imran Khan declared himself to be a fighter against corruption, but he later abandoned all his professed principles, and gave PTI tickets to dubious ‘electables’, and supported the infamous blasphemy laws which are used to oppress the tiny minority communities in Pakistan, and the barbaric laws against the tiny Ahmadi community. And the vast masses in Pakistan remain as poor as before.

The same can be said of Bangladesh.

We have therefore to replace parliamentary democracy with a system under which our countries rapidly industrialise and raise the standard of living of our people. What that system should be is for the modern-minded patriotic people to think out using their creativity.

To my mind what our countries need is a dictatorship with leaders having modern minds like Mustafa Kemal of Turkey, the Japanese leaders like those at the time of the Meiji Restoration, or the Chinese leaders who led their revolution. Such leaders will ruthlessly abolish, crush and stamp out religious extremism and feudal laws and practices like the beef ban, caste and religious discrimination, discrimination against women, sharia, burqa, etc and rapidly industrialise the country giving everyone decent lives.

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