Pitfalls of Indian Democracy: Bapu to Anna

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Author: Hari Jaisingh
Publisher: S. Chand & Company, New Delhi
(Pp 430, ISBN 978-93-83746-75-0, Rs 600)

Hari Jaisingh, author of Pitfalls of Indian Democracy: Bapu to Anna, former editor of The Tribune Group of Publications has had a distinguished journalist career spanning over four decades. He has been a keen observer and witness to developments in India and the world.

The author encapsulates the story of Indian state of affairs not just as the political graph but the very governance patterns. The book is an in depth study of what the nation has undergone in these decades. To quote the author “From the take-off point of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha against the colonial rule, the volume discusses in depth post partition problems and issues which continue haunting the polity even today. It has a special focus on social activist Anna Hazare’s fast at the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Ground in New Delhi to protest against corruption and enforce related reforms mechanism”…The volume is concerned as much with governance as with policy matters that have affected the life of the nation since Independence.

The chapter on ‘Rampant Corruption and Directionless Leadership’ dissects the Indian political system where the author quotes N Vittal, former vigilance commissioner “Indian citizen is being exploited by the state through its public servants, corrupt civil servants have started pandering to their political bosses and thereby become a tool for increasing corruption.”

The author also warns that “a secular state need not nurse either hostility or indifference to religion. It simply means that the state should not discriminate between one religion and another or exalt any particular faith or set of beliefs to the level of state religion.” These words have proved true in the context of present assembly bi-election results. The author describes India as a land of opportunity. It demands positive thinking and constructive action. Violence and intolerance will only push the country behind.

The epilogue, notes and references, select bibliographies and an exhaustive index have enhanced the reference value of the well-argued book.

– GS Jolly

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