Mumbai

‘State institutions critical to survival of democracy’

Expressing freely: Sir

Expressing freely: Sir  

Veteran journalist Mark Tully says corruption is a symptom of failed governance

On the occasion of Independence Day, former India Bureau Chief of BBC, Mark Tully, expressed his admiration for India being a democratic developing country.

Mr. Tully emphasised the importance of governmental institutions in a democracy, terming them as an agency which ensure ‘a system of checks and balances in a country’, and the need for the youth to educate themselves.

The veteran journalist was speaking on ‘India’s Past, Present and Future’ at the Malhar Conclave, hosted by St Xavier’s Autonomous College. He said, unlike England that did not adopt democracy till the First World War, the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution had the wisdom and courage to adopt democracy and universal franchise.

Mr. Tully said governmental institutions, especially the ones rooted in autonomy, are critical to the survival of democracy. “If any governmental institution sees control being exercised by the government rather than functioning autonomously, it paves way for the modification and manipulation of itself. Democracy is like a stool, if any of its legs are non-uniform, the stool fails to perform its purpose. Imbalances arise from the common perception that the Parliament is independent and can go unchecked; same with politicians,” he said.

With a disclaimer stating that his talk was not meant to hurt public sentiments, Mr. Tully said the slow dissolution of Indian democracy was seen in a weakening in the ethos of various branches of government. “Civil servants should hold themselves to the bona fide ethos of their positions. The police should serve deliverance of the law and not the public. The courts should not lose their autonomy to the government in power. But apart from this, the public too is responsible for demanding an unjustified deal of deliverance from politicians, thus trapping themselves,” he said.

According to Mr. Tully, corruption is a widespread problem and a symptom of failed governance. Speaking of the future, he said, the shift of functions to technology does not solve many problems and should not be looked at as the gospel truth.

“Technology is only as good as the people that use it. Finally, the youth must bear the burden of learning and educating themselves to go out and experience problems that are generally spoken of, and to express their formulated views of the issues at hand, ultimately presenting a solution. After a period of true democracy following independence, now is the time it must revive.” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:29:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/state-institutions-critical-to-survival-of-democracy/article29104360.ece

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