The end of liberal democracy in post-global India?

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: The post-globalisation era in the country has witnessed the collapse of liberal democracy and a good example is Karnataka which has been under the BJP  rule for more than two years.

An assertion to this effect was made in a paper presented at the 34th Indian Social Science Congress held at Guwahati in the last week of December 2010, by Prof K.S. Sharma, senior vice-president of the Indian academy of social science congress.

The theme of the  social science congress was  “India–Post 1991” and Prof Sharma presented a case study  of Karnataka to highlight  the adverse impact that the globalization has on the political system in the country.

All the three political parties in Karnataka—the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and JDS—have together contributed to the emerging scenario by their acts of sins of omission and commission, though the major share of the blame has to be shouldered by the BJP.

The role of the constitutional authority, the Governor, has also not been above reproach, says Dr Sharma.

Dr Sharma has catalogued a long list of the happenings in Karnataka to buttress his point. It includes:

# The open dissidence by a senior leader miffed over his non-inclusion in the cabinet; a farmer getting killed in police firing even as a self-professed pro-farmer government was assuming office, and the open rebellion by the Reddy brothers intended at jolting the government.

# Means more foul than fair used by the BJP  to gain a majority in the 224-member assembly and the phenomenon of the opposition legislators resigning from their seats, being rewarded with ministerial posts even before they could get themselves elected on the BJP ticket, which has now become a national phenomenon.

# Continued run-ins with the governor ever since he refused to address the joint session called by the new government unless the Chief Minister proved his majority, and after he openly expressed his dissatisfaction over the performanance of the government.

# A government cast in caste mould, contrary to what Lord Balfour had said of a bureaucracy having rigid neutrality and rigorous impartiality and notwithstanding what the late Ramakrishna Hegde had told his colleagues not to choose anyone based on caste to occupy positions of office under them.

# Governor’s  patently unconstitutional action of giving a direction to the Speaker on how to conduct the proceedings of the vote of confidence in the assembly, after a set of eleven BJP legislators gave a letter withdrawing their confidence in the leadership of B.S. Yediyurappa. This is despite the known and proved constitutional position of the speaker’s writ being supreme in the conduct of the proceedings of the house. And his recommendation for the imposition of the Presidents rule being turned down by the Central Government.

# Suicide by farmers; communal flare-ups; attacks on churches; moral poling by fundamental groups and related matters. And attempts to talibanise, by advising Hindus not to mix with Muslims and avoid pubbing, partying and dancing in the dark.

# Continued onslaughts on the statutory and constitutional institutions like the Lok Ayukta, state human rights commission, the backward classes commission, the child rights commission, the termination of the terms of the Somasekhar Commission on the disturbances in Mangalore, even as the latter was preparing to give a final report, with the interim report not going in favour of the government.

# The running battle with Lok Ayukta, starting with the government sitting on report on the illegal mining activities involving the Reddy brothers, the latest move being appointing a separate judicial commission, even as the Lok Ayukta had been asked to probe into charges of nepotism, favouritisim  and corruption.

# The opposition parties being more interested in unseating the government rather than playing the role of a constructive opposition.

Dr Sharma has noted in the final analysis that the globalization has led to more number of land scams, nepotism and favouritism in the allotment sites and corrupt practices, to the extent of Karnataka acquiring a dubious distraction of being the No. 1 corrupt state in the country.

But, the  paradox is that the reputation this government has acquired and accumulated has had no impact on the elections to the various bodies held during the period, to the assembly,  legislative council, parliament, the Bangalore city corporation, and the zilla  and taluk panchayats.

As a consequence, democracy has been equated with electoral politics and the liberal democracy has been a casualty, even as the State’s standing in the Human Development Index in the country puts it at 25th place. Fascism is raising its ugly head. And there is no real democracy in the State. “This model of democracy can be witnessed on a larger scale in the whole country.”

The question Dr Sharma raises is, what next?

The theory of the “end of history” as propounded by the capitalists and imperialists has come to an end. The socialist model appears to be the only model available. But it is imperative that the faults and blunders committed in Soviet Union, China and Latin American countries be remedied, before they are applied to Indian conditions.

India today, says Dr Sharma, needs a cultural revolution, without which a real socialistic secular democratic India cannot emerge. The legacy of feudal remnants, colonial past, and myth of liberal democracy needs to be eradicated before the new order could be ushered in.

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19 Responses to “The end of liberal democracy in post-global India?”

  1. Vinay Says:

    One more article glorifying “Socialism”, with a rider that “the faults and blunders committed in Soviet Union, China and Latin American countries be remedied, before they are applied to Indian conditions.”

    And then we have talk of this kind: “India today, says Dr Sharma, needs a cultural revolution, without which a real socialistic secular democratic India cannot emerge. The legacy of feudal remnants, colonial past, and myth of liberal democracy needs to be eradicated before the new order could be ushered in.”

    Rhetoric, nonsensical rhetoric. I feel like puking when I read these bombastic words. Words with no substance.

    These people have nothing concrete to offer, only rhetoric, and more rhetoric.

    And what’s with this new fashion of blaming “liberalization” for all our problems? Any problems that have arisen out of liberalization are offset by the innumerable benefits that it has brought us. “land scams” and all that might have increased in Karnataka, but that is because people have more money. So people like this retard writer will want to keep everyone poor so that land scams are avoided.

    Moral policing, “fascism”, “cast in caste mould”, “unconstitutional means” – yella ok, but how is it related to liberalization?!!!!! Is the author trying to tell me that casteism, “moral policing” and all these things were absent before liberalization and that all this has cropped up after liberalization?!

    Try again, no one is a moron here.

  2. Kelu Janamejaya Says:

    The theme of the social science congress was “India–Post 1991” and Prof Sharma presented a case study of Karnataka to highlight the adverse impact that the globalization has on the political system in the country.

    So on a theme which tried to look at India – Post 1991, this professor has come to a conclusion that the problems afflicting Karnataka is the handiwork of one party which is in power for a period of two years out of the 20 years in consideration!!!!

    Sheer brilliant fellow he is, what say?

  3. Sanjeeva Says:

    What a nonsense of an article by a well known journalist! MMM Sir, such a rotten post is not expected from you. End of liberal democracy in post-global India! You are totally confused and trying to mislead the readers as well. State of affairs in Karnataka have nothing to do with the title of your post. And you have failed to include one important aspect of Karnataka politics. Leaving aside the merits of the government, the JDS and Cong are not at all allowing the government to function right from the day one. What do you expect in such a situation?

  4. DailyBread Says:

    One day Prof K.S. Sharma will get the Infosys Prize for social sciences like Nandini Sundar.

    >a paper presented at the 34th Indian Social Science Congress held at Guwahati in the last week of December 2010, by Prof K.S. Sharma, senior vice-president of the Indian academy of social science congress.

    Now we can imagine the quality and content of the papers presented by other eminent social scientists.

  5. Murthy Says:

    We are No 1 in corruption!!
    25th in HDI!!!
    when did we beat Bihar?

  6. twistleton Says:

    The author should not generalize. Globalisation did not come with free moral-makeovers.

    BJP’s betrayal is that much larger because their only claim to fame – clean governance, has gone for a toss of the order of Dhoni’s helicopter shot.

    Revolution is not a good idea. Especially as the upper classes are in love with Coke, Pepsi, air-conditioning, malls, MacD’s, and the whole “if- you’ve -got- it -flaunt- it” philosophy .

    The change that will come has to be as insidious as the cultural hegemony of economic giants.

    People in this country have seen but a travesty of liberalization and in their ignorance taken it to be the real thing.

    If change has to be ushered in, young Indians have to reassured that it is okay to not have a pair of Nike shoes.

    This reminds me of the Back to the Future movie where Marty finds himself in a parallel universe where things have become worse instead of better.

  7. Nagaraj Says:

    Land scams, corruption, bribery, nepotism and all the rest of it has always been in our blood. Globalisation and the resulting increased cash inflow and outflow have just helped. To confuse causation with correlation is stupid and short sighted in the very least.

    Let’s see… so those countries that are very non-globalised should be doing well now? North Korea should fit the bill, Burma a close second, maybe Sudan or Somalia next? They are all doing well, no?

    I have a lot more to say but can’t be bothered responding in a more detailed manner to this tripe.

  8. Isaipriyan Says:

    And attempts to talibanise, by advising Hindus not to mix with Muslims and avoid pubbing, partying and dancing in the dark.

    And Doctor Sharma what about Muslim leaders who advise their fellow Muslims not to mix with Hindus or if they do refrain from pubbing, partying and dancing in the dark Or maybe you know Muslim leaders who have no problem with other Muslims pubbing, partying and dancing in the dark

    I am sure there are heckuva a lot of pubs in the Old city in Hyderabad and more than a handful of nightclubs in Gulbarga?

    One of the two things must be happening,

    -The BJP must be consolidating its electoral hold on Karnataka, leaving this half baked “intellectual” dismayed
    -The BJP’s dominance is exaggerated

    When did this bozo become worried about caste politics in Karnataka? The Congress has always played caste politics in this state – by playing off the Lingayats against the Vokkaligas, until the Lingayats gave it the miss. It is brahmin CMs like Gundu Rao and Hegde or a non-Brahmin noin-L/V CM like Devraj Urs who provided stability. When the Congress tried this same trick last time and appointed the lacklustre Dharam Singh, a Rajput, it failed miserably. Similarly in AP the Congress has played off the Kammas against the Reddys.

    So what next for Karnataka? A Manglorean Catholic like Oscar Fernandes? But that would anger the Kannada Catholics who have for years fought the Roman Catholic clergy which itself is the subject of a keen tussle between Tamil, Malayalam and Konkani priests, all of whom have suppressed the Kannadiga clergy. Or maybe Sharma would like to import from high-flying Catholic clergy from TN like the notorious Fr. Jagath Gaspar Raj who has been running a racket (an NGO with Rs.600 crore in assets!) with Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi (who incidentally spends a lot of time in Bangalore!

    Sharmaji if the BJP does not return the next election, Karnataka is doomed. It will be in the grip of the corrupt oligarchs under the control of either the humble farmer or the Mata of Dilli and her Pappu darling Rahul. What to talk of a highway, even a galli in Bangalore will not be repaired!

  9. twistleton Says:


    That is why the people who ensconced India into Independence mode screamed themselves hoarse saying “Secularism” – which is the separation of Religion and State.

    Easier said than done.

    As long as people are loyal to their socio-cultural identity above all else it is impossible to govern them in a secular way. This ticks off the rightists no end and they get their underpants in a knot and start baying “Pseudo-secularist!”.

    How can we blame politicians for playing caste politics when we ARE casteist to the ground??


    Another interesting line of thought would be to question WHY there is an increasing tendency to “talibanise” culture- Hindu or Muslim. Where is this frustration stemming from? And how do fringe groups get young people to turn into rowdies and support their perverted notions? Isn’t it also a possibility that most of these rowdies are kids from economically backward homes?

    The rise of religious fanaticism itself shatters the myth of globalisation. In one fell swoop globalisation has raised the perception of “good living” and thus delivered millions more into the “Zone of Exclusion”. You cannot sell only dreams to people and get away with it.

    Unable to articulate or actually pin-point the source of their frustration men do what they have always done – attack what they think are THE symbols of globalization and among them the most accessible ones – pubs and parties. Beating women is of course an added bonus as they are the easiest targets. .

  10. DailyBread Says:


    >attack what they think are THE symbols of globalization and among them the most accessible ones – pubs and parties.

    Naguvudo alvudo neeve heli.

    Who has told you that people think pubs & parties are symbols globalisation. The entire post is a pink chaddish,pub bharoish hot air. Can you please tell us in last 20 years how many pubs/parties were attacked in India by right wingers. A sample size of one is being extrapolated to fit a theory which does not have a leg to stand on.

    Sir, for your kind information Agnivesh, darling of Jholawalas/maobadis is the one who arranges high profile protests infront of hotels holding parties on every new year eve.

    >In one fell swoop globalisation has raised the perception of “good living” and thus delivered millions more into the “Zone of Exclusion”. You cannot sell only dreams to people and get away with it.

    Why are you against good living?, whats wrong in aspiring for a good living? and finally what is a “zone of exclusion”, where is it.

  11. twistleton Says:


    Oh ho. The master of extrapolation is seeking moderation from me. Forgive me, your majesty, i thought since you love to equate liberalization with all that is good and fair in the world, you might overlook my lack of detail.

    Babri Masjid is just one case but it makes a statement that elevates it to the level of a symbol. Similarly, the Mangalore pub incident, the regular campaigns of the Shiv Saininks may be small in scale of number but large as far as impact goes.

    Would you agree that staging a protest is vastly different from beating up people? Anyway, continuing your trend of generalisation, let me club the two together. I did say that pubs and parties and “dancing in the dark” (whatever that means :)) are the tangible symbols of the culture of money in India.

    In their defence ideological warfare is difficult for the common man to grasp. So they use the next best thing – envy. That is the power of symbolism and that is something every politically conscious being in this world exploits – be it Gandhi or Godse. Dig?

    WRT to your aspersions on the “Zone of Exclusion”, i only apologise for the cheesiness of that line. :)

    Is it possible for a billion Indians to live the good life? And this by your definition of it – a large house/houses, a couple of SUVs, a nice IT paycheck, and a weekly trip to shop for branded items, parties of course with free-flowing spirits and cash, costly weddings. If that is possible then i have ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM with the good life.

  12. twistleton Says:

    Dude you can laugh. I’m not such a chump as to take myself so seriously. :D

  13. Vinay Says:


    As dailybread said, you are making the fundamental error of extending a sample size of 1 to extrapolate a theory which does not have a leg to stand on.

    And to add to what he said, I want to ask you what makes you link “globalization” with riots and religious fanaticism? Some pages back you were wondering if I have “sufficient knowledge”, but when you make such comments, it leaves absolutely no doubt about your lack of knowledge on topics which you comment on here.

    Was globalization responsible for the “religious fanaticism” we saw during the partition of 1947? The frequent, innumerable communal riots we have had in our country since independence? What about the demolition of the Babri Masjid? All the Kar Sevaks were so excited with the thought of globalization having arrived that they went into a frenzy before even experiencing the “evil effects of globalization”, eh? What about the Malabar Rebellion (also known as the “Moplah Rebellion”) which saw forced conversions, slaughter, rape, as far back as 1923? Maybe they had prophetic visions of globalization and jumped in to prevent it, 70 years in advance?

    Oh wait – there’s the Ram Sene incident in 2009! Of course, it is all globalization’s fault, capitalism’s fault!

    Riots and communal tensions have reduced after globalization and the lifting of dozens of millions out of poverty, can’t you see that?

  14. mounaprasad Says:

    >>socialistic secular democratic India cannot emerge>>

    Is this not what the KKaangress peddled for the last 65 years and what was the outcome…we had to pawn the family gold to keep the country afloat…it amuses me that there are still audience for this relic Prof.Sharma to peddle their socialist wares.

  15. Isaipriyan Says:


    Every party expect the BJP plays caste politics. The “secularists” are the ones who play jati politics, because that is the best way to fragment the Hindu vote, unlike the xtian and Muslim vote. In hte last civic elections in Kerala the several churches as well as Muslim clerics issued edicts/fatwas to their congregants to vote out the “godless communists” and that is precisely what happened. The Congress as well as the DMK play church politics, because with the Hindu vote fragmented everywhere, a 2-3% swing with a consolidated minority vote easily propels the Cong/DMK to power. Xtian priests in TN are on record boasting that without their support no party can be voted to power. Which is why when the BJP works to sink jati differences the secularists cry foul, because a consolidated Hindu vote where a Vokkaliga doesn’t think twice before voting for a Kuruba or a Thevar for a chekkiliyan or an Avadhaney for a Kapu, would blow up the “secular” strategy. This is what has happened in Gujarat where the Congress’s communal vote bank strategy of KHAM has collapsed. In the last election in 2007, the Congress tried playing caste tricks, by cleaving the Patel vote – just as it has done in AP (where it pitted Kamma vs. Kamma by propping up up TRS – a Telegana Kamma against Chandrababu a Telengana Kamma turned Kosta Kamma; and is now trying to do a Reddy vs. Reddy to checkmate Jagan). Expect the Congress to pull the same stunt in Karnataka. Anybody who has campaigned with the BJP/ABVP will tell you how entirely devoid of any feudal/jati/communal color its offices are. It is only in the BJP you will have a bunch of brahmin workers taking orders from a Passi candidate, because there is only way to rise in the BJP; not by family connections (Congress/regional parties) or by breaking heads (commie crooks style) but by working on the streets and in the slums. Several BJP leaders of today even the ones who have gone soft like (Venkiah Naidu) have risen from the ranks of the ABVP and spent their time in jail during the Emergency (Arun Jaitley) or fought it thru the courts (Sushma Swaraj). No Pappu Darling joyrides or nann appan gaddi like the humble farmer’s humble children.

    When you can find me Muslim activists encouraging their children to pub, club and party we will talk about it here.

  16. Vinay Says:


    Did you intend to address me, or were you addressing dailybread? I hadn’t even typed my comment when you typed your “reply” to me. Anyway…

    I thoroughly dislike having discussions with fancy statements, rhetoric, bombastic language with deep meanings, and similar stuff. Keep it simple, straight, and provide concrete crystal clear, coherent and tangible points.

    I don’t want to hear nonsense about “elevating to the status of a symbol”, “ideological warfare”, and such crap. You made a thoroughly frivolous claim that communal incidents in India are a result of liberalization. I feel like puking when I hear such dishonest and malicious nonsense. As I mentioned in my previous post, you’ll have to explain how communal riots were more common in the pre liberalization era – such as the Moplah rebellion of 1923, the partition riots, Babri Masjid demolition, Bombay riots and a thousand other riots besides.

    I generally ignore specious arguments peppered with bombastic and language completely devoid of substance, so I will ignore most of your previous post, except the last paragraph, which is the only part of your post that is readable, and worth answering:

    Yes, it is possible for a billion Indians to live the good life, and that is what we should all strive for. Yes, Indians can live all aspects of the “good life” which you have mentioned, except the part about two SUVs and the so-called “IT paycheck”.

    First of all, you seem to be one of those angry old men who rant angrily about how IT has “destraayed the maaaral fabric of the country”. Learn to look and think beyond IT. A “good life” does not need an “IT paycheck”. Thankfully, since the GoI and overwhelming Indian opinion does not agree with retarded socialism and wants to see liberalization moving forward, this decade is going to see several more high paying jobs in diverse fields, and the process has already begun.

    And as far as your SUVs are concerned, one of the few good things that the congress government has done is the deregulation of fuel prices. Differential pricing for Diesel will be worked out too, and your SUVs will begin to use more efficient engines, and gradually move to high power CNG and LPG. Hybrids will come in too, and efficient electric engines will show up towards the end of the decade. Metro rail and other means of efficient mass transit are beginning to make their appearance.

    Socialists need not bother their heads about SUVs. Had it been left to them, they would have staged union strikes, hartals, “Bharat Bandhs”, etc. to prevent deregulation of fuel prices, and the government would have continued subsidizing fuel prices through this decade.

    And what’s wrong with “a large house/houses”, “a weekly trip to shop for branded items”, “parties with free-flowing spirits and cash”, “costly weddings”? WHAT? You seem to be the moral policeman here, pontificating about Ram Sene.

    Socialists can moan their harts out, but yes, people will set up factories in India to manufacture branded apparel, employing thousands, apparel which people will buy on their weekly trips. Someone will set up a “wedding mall”, a one-stop-shop for all items which people will want to purchase for their “costly weddings”, and pour the profits into building high rise housing on the outskirts of the city which the middle class will purchase.

    This is the way India is going to develop henceforth, socialists can whine all they want.


    You are so right man – I wonder how these people have the guts to stand before us and talk, even after all that we have seen. Do they have any shame? Or perhaps they think we are all too stupid!

  17. twistleton Says:

    Yes Vinay

    that’s exactly what I’m saying. Social problems can always be traced back to economic currents. At the time of partition it was land and property ownership. Now it is the access to luxury items that are increasingly becoming necessities. You view the world as separate compartments where one does not mix with the other. Try seeing the big picture. That is where ecology helps.

    No need to look far where the frustration came from in the early 1990s. Like you say the License-Permit-Raj.

    Along with Liberalisation the Government should have done two other things: land and labour reforms. Without these growth cannot be far-reaching.

    Like I said before we have seen but a travesty of liberalisation. Why can’t we develop agriculture as well as IT. Why can’t we support more small and medium industries? Why can’t we make local arts and crafts on par with international brands? Why can’t we give the poor Social Security and affordable health-care? Why have we still not been able to eradicate the dowry sytem- originally an economic arrangement?

    How would you explain the rise of fundamentalism?

  18. DailyBread Says:


    Congratulations!!!! After Prof Sharma you will get the Infosys Prize for Social Sciences.

    The gobbledygook you are spewing here is good for a congreagtion of assorted pink chaddis,jholawalas, & babalogs.

  19. Isaipriyan Says:

    Like I said before we have seen but a travesty of liberalisation. Why can’t we develop agriculture as well as IT.

    Why can’t we listen to Narendra Modi, who runs India’s best administered state where the agricultural growth rate is >10%?

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