For god’s sake it’s only the largest realisation of the democratic dream

For god’s sake it’s only the largest realisation of the democratic dream that has ever happened in history. For centuries wars have been fought for this, the Berlin wall came down for this, Eastern Europe fell over this, Vietnam War and if that was not enough the First and Second World Wars happened for this – for democracy over every other form of Government. So where the heck is the media coverage in the self-proclaimed home and protectorate of democracy – the USA and Britain.

I mean, come on, only 800 million will be eligible to vote. That is more in one election than all the British that have ever voted. Ever! That is more than the entire population of the United States, man, woman and child – three times over! That means more Indians have voted in this Millennium than all the humans in all the other countries – ever!

More Hindus have voted in democratic elections than people of any other faith, ever. On that mark, no religion is more democratic. And it raises other faiths, for in India more Muslims have voted since Independence than all the Muslims in all the other countries of the world put together. You decide – do you want democracy or not. If you do, then you want this. Then you cheer for this. Then you sigh a breath of relief for this because in the history of the world I bet you can’t name two democracies that have gone to war against each other. Think of it. It’s not democracies that cause wars. It’s the damn fools in other political systems.

Before you start criticising democracy, remember the alternatives.

So how come America does not have wall to wall coverage of the Indian elections, the greatest act of democracy? Far greater an act of democracy than invading Iraq, Afghanistan. How come? Arrogance? Ignorance? Superiority?

Indian political leaders need to regain the power they projected on the world stage when at the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi an American journalist wrote, ‘Pope Pius, the Archbishop of Canterbury, President Truman, Chiang Kai-shek, the Foreign Minister of Russia, the President of France are among the millions here and abroad who have lamented his passing. In the words of General George C. Marshall, the American Secretary of State, “Mahatma Gandhi had become the spokesman for the conscience of all mankind.” ‘

Never should any leader of India aspire for anything less. Every American President, every British Prime Minister, ever Russian Premier holds those aspirations of themselves. Indian leaders must have gravitas, stature, the projection of power backed by being the only country that can lead the world to the peace that a democracy promises, to the political ideal it encapsulates, to the hope it gives in an age of clashing civilisations. Only India can be that leader, only an Indian Prime Minister can deliver on that promise with any credibility.

Alpesh Patel

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