Time to take another look at Indian democracy – Ravi Shankar

Trump and Liberty have a tug-o'-war.

Ravi Shankar EttethThe bane of democracy is not citizenship. It is racism. Perhaps democracy, which evolved as a white man’s concept, and now unable to adjust to the norms of other nations, is flawed in its present nature. – Ravi Shankar

Has mankind lost the rat race of democracy to racism? Last week, India slipped down the democracy index by 10 points to 51. The ranking criteria assess a country’s quality of electoral process, pluralism, governance, political participation, political culture and civil liberties. America is number 25. However, unethically partisan governance, corrupt election process and xenophobia in the Age of Trump have dredged up its racist socio-political culture which so far lay hidden in the dark swamp of its white soul where hate crimes against minorities, Latinos, Blacks and Asians flourish.

Even as the EU parliament prepares to rap India’s knuckles on CAA, Brussels hasn’t voted against Donald Trump’s wall which violates the spirit of “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Neither has the EU voted against the immigrant internment camps where around 2,500 children are separated from their parents; these families were fleeing war and violence in their countries to the “Land of the Free”.

Media reports quote thousands of cases of sexual and physical abuse inside the detention centres. But not a whisper from the formulators of the democracy index who are horrified about refugee camps in India. Ironically after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour which forced the US into the world war, American citizens of Japanese descent were incarcerated in special camps, but not Germans whose country started the war and was committing the most horrific human rights violations in nations they conquered—Nazis are white, Japs are yellow.

The venality in America’s political culture is apparent in the ongoing trial of Donald Trump in the impeachment case. It is a complete sham with the Senate leader openly admitting before the trial that he would work to acquit the president. In spite of witnesses coming forward to nail Trump’s lies, the Republicans are intent on holding the trial without calling witnesses, making a complete mockery of the process.

Moreover, since Trump has packed the courts with his own judges, the judiciary is reluctant to expose its patron and resisting the demand to open up his tax records: both clear indications that the President has much to hide. By not censuring a lying, bigoted, foul-mouthed and corrupt boss and his fatuous administration, the index reveals the inherent racism in the European gestalt, which sent over 6 million Jews to Hitler’s concentration camps.

The bane of democracy is not citizenship. It is racism. Perhaps democracy, which evolved as a white man’s concept, and now unable to adjust to the norms of other nations, is flawed in its present nature. It might be wise to set aside its global legacy and consider the process of choice using a domestic index with its own homegrown concepts of equality and justice. – The New Indian Express, 2 February 2020

Ravi Shankar is an author, columnist and cartoonist in New Delhi.

Liberty loses the tug-o'-war with Trump.