this is a small essay I wrote for an interview at an instructional design Firm called Gapskills, ‘Making sense of Indian politics’
Making sense of Indian politics
Growing up in India is an interesting process for a young woman and one’s decisions are often dependent on the current political mileu of the state.
Indian politics is a complex terrain, hard to understand, but it is of great importance to a thinking individual in India to understand its ways, and India being the world’s largest democracy, understanding and participating in politics is necessary and can construct as well as develop a citizen. Traversing Indian politics is tenuous but not impossible, and is a struggle, given the culture, demographics, poverty, colonialism, and diversity of India as a country and as a new nation state.
The Indian parliament has just introduced a bill that is vying for 33% reservation for women in parliament, and this bill is being contested. The attitudes towards women in religion and Indian culture reflect a deep bias and discrimination, and women in India find it difficult to represent themselves in any vocational or political sphere. The state’s policies towards women reflect this but there have been some landmark changes and legal judgments that seek to and could better the status of women in the country.
One of the main aspect of Indian politics is caste based parochialism which is reflective of the Indian social system of stratifying people into vocational communities and based on a hierarchy of skills. In a democracy this could and has been a deterrent for progress and development.
The rising trend in Indian politics in the post independence decades is of vernacular, local indigenous, and decolonizing nationalistic movements. A lot of these trends are an assertion of pride related to local identity, but have engendered caste and social ostracisation and feudal violence against ‘others’, immigrants and outsiders.
Communalism is a big part of Indian politics because of the history of religious conflict and the diversity of communities. Because of the partition of the country in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the massive genocides that ensued, the residue of partition still continues and plagues the polity.
The preamble to the Indian constitution states that India is a socialist republic, and the founding writers of the Indian Constitution imagined it to be a class free society. And as a result of this the State has held a tight and focused policy towards internal development in the public sector till the nineties. India has thus benefited from the ideals of socialism, culturally and intellectually. The state’s attitudes towards globalisation and free market capitalism have loosened in the past two decades and globalization has brought with it new opportunities and inroads for growth.
For young people living and in India this is an exciting period of change as well as a challenging time of development and growth.