Western Federalism vs Indian Federalism

Let’s not consider western principles and beliefs as ideal undisputable benchmarks. Those concepts are marred with numerous loopholes and are not immune to criticism. We shouldn’t be even glorifying their democratic vision. We can keep singing praises of Jeffersonian Republicanism and the Ancient Republics in Greece and Italy but the fact remains that they were people who believed in enslavement of the Blacks. The English used to practice democracy to some extent at home and called their Parliament the ‘Mother of all Parliaments” but at the same time they colonized and oppressed over hundred countries. It was this which prompted Gandhi to remark that western democracy was a form of diluted fascism.

USA always dreamt of establishing capitalistic hegemony (and did) in the name of an open worldwide capitalistic market and today, when the world stands at crossroads and is on the verge of a classic market of capitalism, the United States is bent upon thwarting the financial rise of other establishments. I don’t understand why India should not consider itself a federal country if it doesn’t follow the kind of federalism which is practiced in the United States, which we often call classical or conventional federalism. Our country has always maintained its own ‘Indianized’ version of federalism which is slightly bent in favour of the Centre so as to ensure superiority of nationalism over regionalism. But in my opinion India has never actually been able to propagate the kind of federalism it enshrined in its Constitution.

During the time of Congress domination, when the Congress was in power at the Centre as well as in all the states, the decision making process was wholly controlled and influenced by the Union Government, the power faded a bit when the Congress’s grip loosened across India but still the Centre was calling the shots, its only now that we are witnessing states overruling the Centre on numerous occasions in the name of federalism. So in my assessment India has gone from being a non-federal state to a quasi-federal and now to a quasi-con-federal state where the states are far more powerful than the Centre.

We should have faith in our ‘Indianized’ federal representative democracy. There’s no need for us to pursue practices prevalent in the West. In USA, if you want to go and reside in a different state, you’ll need a separate citizenship. Havoc is playing out in states like California where they have embraced certain principles of direct democracy. In a direct democracy, states undertake referendums and the results of those referendums are binding on the legislature and the executive while making laws and passing executive orders, respectively. California is going bankrupt and the people are not allowing the state to raise taxes as they have rejected the proposal in innumerable referendums. Giving such veto power to an unaware and non pragmatic civil society is like providing terrorists with a lethal nuclear bomb. Indian institutions are at least pragmatic and plausible.