Politics in India

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Political leaders from the start felt that if there’s any chance of retaining unity in India, it should be by remaining secular. This is why Gandhiji had been preaching brotherhood among the different religious groups. Nehru was a strong supporter of secularism. Their efforts couldn’t divorce religion from politics instead in politics the vested interests started exploiting caste and religion to gain political advantage. With time, India was divided into Pakistan and Bharat just because the Britishers accepted two nations theory. Even after Independence, the religious fervor couldn’t be finished since the trail of the memories of the division infested the minds of the people. Still, India managed to keep the communal forces under check.

Religion encourages fanaticism and suspends our reasoning power, and we place full faith in leaders. We’re prepared to make sacrifices because sacrifice will be considered martyrdom. This mental attitude is directly opposed to the democratic spirit. Democracy demands open-mindedness, universal brotherhood, and thinking based upon reason and capable of making its own decision. There are a lot of religions, castes, and sub-castes in India, and regrettably, a few of them are opposed to one another as far as their practices are concerned. Under such circumstances, there’s no possibility of keeping them together if once there’s fragmentation. Religion is a private affair, and if it’s allowed to appear in public relations, it’ll corrupt politics.

India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, is modeled on the British House of Commons, but its federal system of government borrows from the experience of the US, Canada, and Australia. While the framers of the Indian constitution had in mind this Anglo Saxon idea of federalism, historically the central government has dominated over the regional states. The Constitution refers to India as a Union of states and perhaps a better term – which is also utilized in the mainstream media – is a quasi-federal system.

The head of state in India is the President. The current President is Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, a member of the Dalit caste. There’s also the post of Vice President who’s elected by the members of an electoral college composed of both houses of parliament. The Vice President chairs the upper house called the Rajya Sabha. The head of the government is the Prime Minister who’s appointed by the president for the nomination of the majority party in the lower house or Lok Sabha. As set out in the Constitution, the maximum size of the Lok Sabha is 552 members. Currently, the size of the Lok Sabha is 545 – made up of 530 elected from the states, 13 selected from the territories, and two appointed by the Anglo Indian community.

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