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A Plea for Presidential Model of Democracy

Sanjog is a freelancer. Lives in New Delhi. Writes articles mostly on politics and current affairs particularly pertaining to his country.


Our Former President late Pranab Mukherjee once reportedly had expressed the view that Baba Sahib Ambedkar had ensured that India did not opt for the Presidential model of government like in other democracies. While he did not substantiate his statement with any research-based historical evidence, the circumstantial evidence tell an entirely different story. Both Dr Rajendra Prasad President of the Constituent Assembly, and Dr BR Ambedkar, President of the Constitution Drafting Committee, had serious reservations about many constitutional provisions. The document was virtually dictated by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, our first Prime Minister, who was in unseemly haste of getting done with it, quick and fast, before the steadily rising clamour against many of its provisions got out of control. He knew it fully well that while the American Presidential model, if adopted, would certainly jeopardize his very career in politics, it would be very easy for him to get anointed as the first Prime Minister of the Sovereign Republic of India under a devious Westminster model, and in that capacity, he could always dangle a highly paid post, ( sumptuously stocked-up with the plethora of freebees, perks, privileges, pension etc., complete with decorative titles like Head of the State, and Armed Forces carrying the designation " President of the Sovereign Republic of India" and rent-free tenancy of the palatial Rashtrapati Bhawan to boot, before any of his heavyweight political rival or opponent to lure him to come over to his side and do his biddings. Unfortunately for him, the prominent politicians of the day were made of entirely different stuff. They still carried the Gandhian legacy of simple living and high thinking. Sarvodaya leader Jai Prakash Narain and Socialist leader Dr Ram Manohar Lohia refused to rise to the bait. In the last bid effort, Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent Assembly, who had earlier refused to put his signature on the Constitution, was somehow persuaded to accept the post and entered into Rashtrapati Bhawan as the First President of India. Earlier, sans any authority to do so, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru himself had signed the document and declared it as: 'Enacted and Adopted by the People of India'- those illiterate, ignorant millions, who had not the slightest of inklings about what was happening at Raisina Hills in their name.



Even before Independence, Mahatma Gandhi, the great visionary as he was, had envisioned Congress-free Independent India. This fact strongly suggests that he had visualized the most egalitarian American Presidential Model of Democracy (of course, with many vital modifications in it) for his beloved country, as the first step towards one-party democracy as is obtaining in Russia, China and several other countries of the world. However, after the Mahatma was dead and gone, in the closing years of the forties, on 26th November 1949 to be précis, the clever politician of the day introduced a phoney, debauched Westminster model of parliamentary democracy, and as stated above, codified the system in the form of a Constitution with its Preamble replete with grand-sounding mottos- slogans and catchphrases liberally borrowed from French and Russian Revolutions, the American War of Independence, and the Constitution of several other countries. IT was invested with loads of lofty ideals that were neither intended to nor could ever be implemented under the faulty system of governance the Constitution prescribed. The intention could be just to impress the gullible common citizens. We are told that almost all the colonial laws, rules and regulations, were retained verbatim, so much so that even the phrase ‘Governor-General in Council’, which, in the changed context of India becoming a republic, had long become redundant, was not discarded and replaced by the appropriate phrase: ‘The President of the Republic of India’ in the rulebooks - most of them continued to carry the junked legend till through the late Fifties. Thus all lofty ideals, aspirations, expectations and vision of Father of the Nation, who lived and died for them, were given a deep and decent burial so that they many not forever resurrect in the people's memory. In their place, Nehru's image as a great leader was planted. The fact that the common man was still being ruled and governed by the Westminster-made rules and regulations fit only for slaves, conveniently ignored.


Those laws, rules and regulations, including criminal laws, were framed by the English obviously to suit their repressive policies. They were meant for the colonies of the Raj only. Only recently quite a few of them have been junked by Modiji after he came to power as Hon'ble Prime Minister of India on 26th May 2014.


So much obsessed all the previous governments had been with the Nehruvian legacy of VIP culture that they had neither any time nor the inclination to make people feel that they also matter. For the English there was their healthy legacy of conventions, traditions and norms that defined the spirit of Great Britain’s unwritten Constitution, meant only for the English, and applicable within the territorial limits of the island called England. Deeply ingrained slave mentality of the people persisted even after Independence only because they were still being governed under the old laws, rules and regulations made for the colonial people by their white-skinned rulers, and purposely not changed by the new brown-skinned Desi rulers for a very long time after Independence as the VIP CULTURE generated and nurtured by those laws, rules and regulations, and inherited by them from the ex-British rulers suited them eminently. While all the successive Prime Ministers, and Netas who mattered, looked the other way, the oppressive order continued to breed rampant corruption and all manner of mal-practices till 26th May 2014, when Modiji took over as the Prime Minister of India, and the First Prime Minister ever who has taken due cognizance of this and several other maladies tormenting the common man in India, and has empathized with him. While the big, bold, revolutionary reformative measures he has taken, and still taking are giving some solace to the common citizenry even in these most difficult times when we are plagued by the pandemic Covid19 scorch, thanks to the system, the efforts could not yield the expected results.

The Result:

While America has been shinning amongst the least corrupt nations for the last about 350 years; thanks to the vested interests of the self-serving professional politicians, India had been sinking deeper and deeper in the fathomless morass of rampant corruption till about seven years ago. However, there is no guarantee that the corruption will never resurrect, and we will never again be subjected to demonetization and the miseries it entailed particularly to the middle and lower-middle-class citizenry.


Since the tenure of all political posts, including that of the President, are subjected to a strictly limited term, the question of the formation of the community of professional politicians, solely responsible for ever-increasing corruption, neither arises nor poses any threat to that country. Quick-fix solutions and cosmetic changes, half-heartedly doled out to tackle the monster of corruption in our country only go to strengthen it and aggravate the malady. We are told that even Mrs Indira Gandhi, our ex-PM, had also once harboured the idea of switching over to American Presidential Model of Democracy. She could not withstand the pressure against the move mounted on her and proved helpless against the entrenched vested self-interests of her friends and family members within and outside the Congress Party. The no-nonsense and egalitarian American Presidential model, being too hot for the comforts of powerful ruling politicians of those days, was out-rightly rejected by them in favour of this one which invests in them all the legislative and executive powers- absolutely and completely, and thereby gives birth to and fosters an all-powerful community of VIPs and VVIPs who are well-insulated against all and every blasphemous action(s) they may commit and, therefore, are supposed to do no wrong.


The common man, after suffering centuries of oppression under the foreign rule, had already got used to living life as a slave, revelled in the euphoria of the newfound fake freedom without ever realizing that nothing and absolutely nothing had changed, except only the pigment of the skin of the rulers that made them ‘brown-skinned.’ He could never fathom the game-plan of his new rulers and as the time passed it became increasingly difficult for him to think about shaking off the feudal system of governance, and live as a citizen of a free country. Thus we continued to remain a free nation in theory only, whereas, for all practical purposes, the common citizenry remained slave as ever before for a long time to come and our brown rulers continued to behave like the English- donning white Gandhi cap for the right effect. By the time the realization of this bitter truth dawned on us, it was too late as our rulers got heavily intoxicated by the absolute power that came so easy to them, and the VIP culture got firmly rooted in the system. (Ordinary MLA likes to be addressed as 'MANINIYA VIDHAYAK JI' even by a DGP, let alone an ordinary citizen). The whole gamut of vile and vicious arrangement-the Raj legacy- eminently suited our ‘Brown rulers’, who had replaced the ‘White’. This enabled them to alienate the classes from the masses. Naturally enough now they stubbornly refuse to see the reason and not willing to share even a fraction of the power they are addicted to with the people. As intended, the legacy is successfully passed unabated from one generation to the next as the politics come to stay as a family business. The people have been rendered helpless prisoners of this legacy which they are brainwashed to acknowledge as a democracy even when all the power remains centralized in the hands of a few families and their cohorts. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" aptly observed Lord Acton. No wonder, ever since Independence, India is being ranked almost at the bottom of the corruption index. And it is a safe bet that we will continue to hover around this dubious position year after year till we completely and delink the Executive with the Legislature as a first step towards replacing this system as a whole with that of the American Presidential model of democratic governance, perhaps as a step towards Gandhian ideal of Congress-free Independent India which in the ultimate analysis could mean Political Party-less democratic set-up or one-party democracy for India. China, Russia and many other countries have long back discarded their old feudal system in favour of One-party democratic arrangement to their great advantage.


In the ultimate analysis, it should be abundantly clear that Parivarvaad and corruption can be eradicated only by switching over to the American presidential model of democracy may be as a first step towards single-party democracy as visualized by the Father of the Nation when he alluded to what he called "Congress-free Independent India". Single-party democracy AS ENVISIONED BY THE FATHER OF THE NATION could draw its sustenance substance, inspiration, power and energy from our rich heritage of ancient Indian culture, embodied in thoughts and accumulated wisdom and experience of thousands of Rishies and Munnis over several millennia. This our legacy is much richer than the thoughts of Marx and Lenin, both in spirit and substance. Bapu was both: a down-to-earth practical man and a great visionary. Unfortunately, he came to be disregarded in all matters of national importance several years before he fell to the bullets of an insane assailant. In this 151st year of his birth-anniversary, the grateful nation must pledge to fulfil his dreams in its interests and for its wellbeing and betterment.


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