The democratic system gives the fair right to their people. But there are some things that lay behind in the democratic system that can easily manipulate his people. And the most interesting thing is that people are also manipulated by their own will. Recently, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in India has spread quite alarmingly. But some things happening inside in their country, which has surprised the whole world. How the state manipulates its own citizen through the democratic process, has been explored through critically analyzing three such issues.
The nature of COVID-19 has caused widespread fear in the world’s largest democracy. India is a real example of how epidemic COVID-19 can become in the second stage. When COVID-19 first spread from China to various countries in the developed world, including Europe and America, the whole world saw the power of this virus. Thousands of people have lost their lives as a result of this disease. But the death toll in developing countries is much lower than in developed countries at that time. But developing countries have plenty of time to prepare themselves to deal with the disease in the second period. In the meantime, what role they have played in tackling that disease, raises a serious question after seeing their condition. Because when COVID-19 started spreading in the second phase, it was seen that developing countries are in a very bad situation to deal with this disease because of their lack of medical equipment. The nature of the disease, especially in India, has caused widespread fear. Not only that but there are also questions about how the Indian government will deal with it in the coming days. This is because the Government of India does not have sufficient resources to deal with the disease. As we have seen so far, India has declared itself a ‘vaccine hub’ to the world. And in addition to distributing the vaccine in India, vaccines are also being distributed in his friendly states. But when the United States recently imposed a ban on the supply of raw materials for vaccines, the landscape changed. India is now far away from providing vaccines to other countries. The question is also arise how India provides vaccines in its own country?
While this is the current situation of India, some of the things that are going on inside in that country, which have come as a surprise. What is actually happening there! Flying the flag of the greatest democracy, what it is doing is realistic! Or really childish! Though half of India is primarily concerned with the COVID-19 epidemic, the other half is busy with the IPL (the world’s largest cricket franchise league). India is currently hosting a cricket tournament called IPL, where players from all over the world have come to play. Although the games are being played without fans, since then, questions have been raised about the rationality for running this tournament. The main reason behind the continuation of this tournament is the economy because this tournament not only the richest tournament in the cricket arena, but also contributes to India’s economy. Without that, recently, the ‘VidhanSabha’ election has been held in India. The ruling party BJP(at the Center) and another political party in India have both campaigned hard for the election, where thousands of people have gathered. Not only that, in last 17th January – 1st April, a Hindu festival called ‘KumbhMela’ was also held in Uttarakhand. Where almost 9.1 million people were attended according to the government data. Where it is repeatedly said that there is no alternative to avoiding public gatherings to deal with COVID. Because the disease is spread through humans. So, organizing such an event at this time is not only worrying but also humorous. In these three cases, we will find few things. Entertainment, elections (the main driving force of democracy), and religion. When government tries to control its people, they used this matter as a tool. That’s the main reason behind these three topics.
Firstly I will briefly discuss the current situation of India and the diplomatic relation with its neighborhood and other powerful states. Then I’ll discuss the three topics and find out the above issue, which is closely incorporate with these topics.
And with the Government of India as an example of a democratic state, I will try to evaluate how the government uses/abuse those issues to its own interests by critically analyzing the function of this state in recent times.
This paper is mainly based on a qualitative strategy. Secondary data is mainly used in this article. Few primary data were also used. I gathered the primary data from the government’s official website. Renowned newspaper’s article has been used to collect the current news.
Current Covid-19 situation in India & relation with other countries
The second phase of COVID has comprised more strong nature than the first phase, which has already shaken few countries, which didn’t maintain the percepts, which had to be maintained, like India. Adequate medical equipment crisis, oxygen crisis has accelerated this shakiness. Through the news media, news about this situation in India is being spread every day. Which has risen fear in general people’s minds. This fear has spread not only in India but also in its neighboring countries. Many countries have already cut off human communication through borders with India and shut down all air services. But it cannot be said that the neighboring countries have taken the right decision through this because even though these contacts with India have been closed, the import-export contacts are still open. The new nature of COVID-19 that has been born in India is likely to spread to other countries, especially its neighbors. In this age of globalization, it is easy to impose restrictions on the movement of people, but it is not easy to impose restrictions on imports and exports. Also in the second phase of COVID-19, the USA imposing sanctions on India for the export of vaccine raw materials. That’s why now India is facing great difficulty in manufacturing the vaccine. India’s neighbor, China, has recently sought to co-operate with India on medical aid, but warm relations between the two countries have prevented India from accepting the co-operation. Hopefully, Russia, another old ally of India, has assured India of adequate cooperation, which has brought relief to India’s domestic politics. And the U.S. government could ease restrictions on the export of raw materials for vaccine production, according to messages and rumors from the U.S. government. To turn the Indo-Pacific Ocean into a free ocean, especially to deal with China, the governments of India, the United States, Japan, and Australia tied a strategic tie called a ‘QUAD’. As a result, the Indian government considered the United States to be its close ally. Also, the image of the relationship between India and the United States that was seen during the Trump administration seems to have changed since the Biden government came to power in recent times, which has raised questions in the minds of the Indian government. So the Indian government has to rethink the relationship between India and the United States.
Who’s first? People or elections?
While this is the case with COVID-19 in India in recent times, India is being criticized for some of its internal activities. In particular, the IPL tournament, Hindu religious festival ‘KumbhaMela’& the ‘VidhanSabha’ elections. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has come under great criticism for its role in the recent ‘VidhanSabha’ elections. Not only the Election Commission but also most of the political parties, who are participating in this election, especially BGP, faced widespread criticism for their role. The Election Commission conducts elections on time so as not to create constitutional complications. But considering the complex situation of COVID-19 in India, the Election Commissioner’s not giving any single statement about the postponement of the election, because to fulfill its responsibilities. But considering the recent situation, their pursuit of this kind of democratic path has also been called into question. Such a question has now arisen that, who is important? Election or the People? There was also no statement from any political parties proving that the election was more important than anything else. There is a saying that, Small interests have to be given up, to be achieved big interests.The Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah (who is also a leading leader in BGP), took part in the campaign in West Bengal (WB). Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to take part in the election campaign in WB, he canceled it at the last minute due to the COVID-19 condition. We all know that the pre-condition for democracy is transparent elections. Those who criticize democracy have hugely criticized this electoral system. They say elections are a weapon to fool the people. Where, on the day before the vote, the vote is traded for money. And the elected representatives of the people are indeed elected through elections, but it can never elect a worthy representative, because of its structural flaws. And considering the situation of the world’s largest democracy, a question arises: Is the election really about electing the right people’s representative who will meet the needs of the people, or is the election a final battle for power, where the role of the people is very minor.Considering such a complex situation in a country where democracy is practiced and holding the elections raises a complex question, who is more important in defending democracy? People or elections?
Sport is a weapon to bind people
The IPL, the world’s largest franchise cricket tournament, which has been running in India in recent times, has also sparked widespread criticism. Although this year’s IPL tournament is being held without any spectators, but questions have been raised about the rationality for the IPL to continue, in the cricket arena as well as in the political arena. The IPL contributes a large amount of GDP in India. So naturally, its economic demand has a huge appeal in the Indian economy. Moreover, based on some news, this information has come up that this year’s IPL tournament is helping people to stay positive even in the midst of so much negativity. It is said that the ‘Colosseum’ was built in Rome for the enjoyment of interesting sports. But there was a complex plot behind it. At that time, there was a controversy over the rule of the Roman Empire, within the royal court. And as all this news reached the ears of the people and the people were getting to know a lot of information, which did not take very well by the emperor as well as emperor was having trouble to managing the kingdom as he wished. So he built the ‘Colosseum’ where he arranged various kinds of deadly sports, which are very enjoyable for people. So after the ‘Colosseum’ was built, the people of the city were so much busy with sports. So they did not have time to worry about the state’s matters. While India is struggling to cope with this COVID-19, half of its people are busy with the IPL. So if the actions of the government to control the people in a democratic state can be analyzed in a complex way, so there is the necessity to saw these types of sports tournaments critically, which keep many people busy at the same time.
Religion & Democracy!
Another criticism is the recent ‘KumbhMela’ in India, which is attended by about 9.1 million people, according to the government of India. Ever since the outbreak of the disease in February-March last year, it has been said that the disease is spread through humans. Most of the states are also took restrict public gathering. When this is the situation, how can the Indian government allow this kind of fair, where such a large number of people gather. In this fair, people come from all over India from different parts of the country. And considering the current state of COVID in India, it is easy to guess how much responsibility this kind of religious ritual has for spreading the disease across India! It is well known that BJP hugely uses religion in its politics. And their various past activities also support this claim. So it is easy to assume that the BGP government has allowed such religious ceremonies to maintain their religion-oriented attitude in politics. And the seriousness of the consequences can be seen in the current state of the COVID-19 in India. In a country where 80% are Hindu, it is easy to see that religion is an instrument to keep the calculation of the ballot box.
So far, we have come to understand some of these three issues through critical analysis. There is no denying that there is no alternative to the democratic system in order to run the state and give the people their fair share of rights. But in recent times, some of the issues going on within the Indian state have taken the world by surprise. Those issues are the complete opposite of the major issues in his country. By analyzing those issues, the reasons behind it have also been brought out. And at the end of the discussion, a broad question arises: In a democratic country, if the government wants to manipulate its people, how much of an impact does it have on the overall state system?
Master’s student of Peace, Conflict & Human Rights
Bangladesh University of Professionals