Indian democracy has become more “culturally rooted”, said External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on Wednesday. Addressing a webinar organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), he said India is a “civilisation state” that is reappearing on the world stage.
“Contemporary India’s sense of pride in its electoral democracy is visible. The consciousness of the power of an individual’s vote even among socially and economically under privileged voters is a statement of how precious this privilege remains. ... The quality and morality of democracy however lies beyond just numbers. It can be found in the transitioning of the Indian society to a deeper, more culturally rooted and a more authentic identity,” said Mr. Jaishankar arguing that the democracy was enriched by this process.
The international event was organised to mark the International Day of Democracy and the event was titled “Independent India at 75: Democratic Tradition.”
The Minister highlighted that India has ancient traditions of collective representation spread across the country and said the country at present is a “full blooded member of the global South”.
“As India rises and its capabilities and capacities grow, it will naturally contribute more to the world. A civilisation state re-emerging on the world stage and draws on its heritage will obviously create its own imprint,” said Mr. Jaishankar.
Addressing the selected speakers both from India and abroad, President of the ICCR Dr. Vinay Sahastrabuddhe said, “Democracy without any doubt is a way of life.”
The event was also addressed by Erik Solheim of Norway, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta, Mongolian Ambassador Gonchig Ganbold and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper among others. It also drew some online criticism as it did not have any female speaker.
“Indian Council for Cultural Relations is celebrating democratic traditions in India with all men panel. Only men understand democracy, culture and traditions, women are mere bystanders. No @iccr_hq?” said Priyanka Chaturvedi, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP.