What do you think about when you read the word democratic government? Abraham Lincoln defined democratic government as a government of, for, and by the people.
If we look at our country, do you think that we are a democracy? Are we liberal? or are we just a country that meets the essential criteria of free and fair elections?
Democracy is not about merely having elections. It is much more than that, and somewhere our country is lacking that. Despite being the world’s largest democracy, In 2020, India slipped two places to 53rd position in The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index’s global ranking.
So, where did it all go wrong?
What Is Happening In India?
The U.S. would like to see India as an ideological and strategic counter to China’s rise. But India’s declining democratic standards are becoming increasingly difficult for the world to overlook.
Since the re-election of the Modi government, the threat to Muslim minorities, hate speech, criminalizing peaceful dissent, and arrests of people who peacefully protest or speak against the policies of the government have increased rapidly.
It’s been months since the farmers have been protesting, but we see that the government did not try to listen and solve it quickly. After Pop-star Rihanna tweeted about the issue, people around the world saw what is happening in India.
Calling the protestors terrorists, people who speak in support of the farmers as anti-nationalist, and going to the extent of arresting activists is what the government is doing.
The marching farmers have received considerable support from many countries because of how they are protesting. BJP describing foreign critics as Khalistanis was the biggest mistake.
On 13th February, Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist, was arrested for the allegedly seditious act of sharing and creating an online document. Delhi Police says it contained time-bound action plans used to incite violence in the national capital in January.
If a 21-year-old student is a threat to India, then there is some problem in the foundations of India. Several people saw the arrest as a sign of the Modi Government feeling insecure and uneasy.
According to some politicians, it was all a part of a conspiracy, and warrants are out against more activists for the same.
Not only her but a comedian was arrested by police along with four others on the complaint filed by Eklavya Singh Gaud, the son of BJP MP, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making indecent remarks against Hindu deities at his comic show in Indore.
The police had no proof against the comedian and arrested him only by the words of Mr. Gaud. Later this month, he was given bail by the Supreme Court because the allegations against him were vague. He spent over a month in jail for a joke he didn’t make.
Modi’s new moves have made the world’s view of him as a self-centred, autocratic leader who is doing India wrong. The world noticed the intensity of objections that happened in India when Disha Ravi was arrested by the police.
U.S. Relations With India
Obama, Trump, and Biden have very different ideologies. During his term, Obama spoke about the religious intolerance that was happening in India. He even said that Gandhi would have been shocked by such acts.
Trump may not have cared about democracy, but many say that Biden will be back to seeing mutual, shared democratic values of religious freedom, tolerance, and democracy when it comes to the India-US relationship. He will not overlook such things, and having a shared rival alone is not enough.
Trump only cared about white supremacy, and we know what this government cares about too. There are many instances like discrimination against Muslims, riots in New Delhi, and attacks on civil liberties where Trump could have uttered something, but he kept quiet.
Biden cannot remain silent on such issues. Because the U.S. expects him to bring racial justice, and if he ignores such abuse and racial problems happening in the world, it will expose his double standards.
Modi needs to find a way to reverse the democratic decline and communal problems in the country because if he doesn’t, then the relationship between the United States and India will be like a seesaw.
At the end of the day, it’s the people of India who will decide this government’s fate.
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