Sunday 19 February 2017

There is no construction without destruction
To those who suggest this or that reform in the legislature, judiciary or executive of India, my simple answer is this : any radical and sorely needed reform will meet such fierce resistance from the entrenched vested interests in India, who want no major change, that it will certainly fizzle out.
For instance, everyone knows of the inordinate delay in disposing of court cases, which often linger on for decades, but no radical step can be taken to remedy the situation, as the vested interests will stoutly resist it. Everyone knows that parliamentary democracy in India has largely degenerated into caste and communal vote bank politics, but no serious effort is made to change this.
I am reminded of the situation in France before the French Revolution of 1789. The most sorely needed reform then was in the taxation system then prevailing in France. Under it, the richest classes, the nobility and the church, which owned almost all the land in France, had to pay no tax, while the bulk of the burden of taxes fell on the peasantry, the poorest section of society. This was grossly inequitable, but every attempt to change this system and levy tax on the nobility and church was so fiercely resisted by these classes that it ended in fiasco.
With the French Govt. under heavy debt and without money to pay it, and the financial situation desparate as the govt. expenditure far exceeded the govt. revenue, Minister after Minister of King Louis 16th proposed a tax on the nobility and church to generate the funds needed---Turgot, Necker, Calonne---but each was hounded out of office by a cabal of powerful vested interests including the King's brothers ( the Dukes of Artois and Provence ), Queen Marie Antoinette, etc. The Assembly of Notables, consisting of nobles and bishops, was called by the King in 1787 to try to persuade these classes to accept taxation on them, but instead of consenting to it, they thought that by procrastinating they could wave away the move. Hence they passed on the buck by suggesting an Estates General, which was held in May 1789, and was the beginning of the French Revolution.
It was only when their manors began to be burnt by the peasants, and the Bastille was stormed on 14th July, 1789 with the beheading of its Governor and others, that 'wisdom' dawned on the nobles, who realizing that now their own necks were in danger, in a sudden act of 'generosity' gave up their feudal rights on the night of 4th August 1789. (That, of course, did not save their necks. )
So it is no use to talk of reforms in India any longer. What is now needed is a Revolution. There can be a building which can be repaired or renovated. There can be another building which is so dilapidated that no amount of repair or renovation will do, and it needs demolition and fresh construction. India today is like the second kind of building. Its system of governance has become so rotten that no amount of tinkering with it will do.
And there can be no construction without destruction

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