India adopted the democratic and political system of Britain, its colonizer. Lok Sabha, the lower house, elects the executive prime minister of India. However, despite the similarity in the political system to Britain, India has exhibited a sluggish economic, political, and social development. Typically, multi-ethnic conflict, inter-religious riots, high poverty levels, and runaway corruption in government have crippled India's development as compared to other contemporary liberal democracies.
High level of poverty among Indians has deterred economic growth and development of India. Poverty has made many Indian youths engage in terrorism for daily providence as well as to revenge against outstanding political disputes. According to Piazza, there have been several sources of political conflicts that are risk factors for terrorism (17). These sources include separatist movements, scheduled tribes and castes, communal and ethnic conflict, stateless areas, and high population growth. This makes it hard to adopt a functional counterterrorism policy. Many terrorist attacks scare away investors, leading to a poor economy. In contrast, Great Britain and other Western countries have efficient counterterrorism policies and strategies that avert and suppress terrorist activities. According to Spalek, one effective way that has proved helpful in Western countries is the use of community engagement strategies to curb terrorist activities (825).
India is a multi-ethnic country having 46 officially documented mother tongues out of which 17 are recognized languages. Over time, there have been intermittent mass demonstrations over language issues that have rocked the country as some ethnic groups have felt that the government oppresses them. This led to the closure of businesses which rendered the economy crippled. Also, Kolas explains that there have been occasional ethnic clashes as there has been the emergence of insurgency and militant groups in Assam, a hilly area of India (pp.22-37). This is different to western countries such as Britain, which enjoys relative peace as a result of cohesion and overall acceptance of linguistic, religious, ethnic, and regional diversities which spurs economic growth.
Another issue that that has dragged economic prosperity of India compared to Western countries is persistent inter-religious conflicts. Crowne notes that since India was partitioned in 1947, there have been conflicts between Muslims and Hindu citizenry (13). The ramification for this has been persistent riots and Hindu-Muslim violence that has paralyzed the economy of sections of India. On the other hand, Britons and other European countries have enjoyed peaceful coexistence. This has provided an investment environment that has attracted both local and international investors which has led to the growth of the economy of Britain.
It is also prudent to note that India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Its citizens have to pay bribes to access government services. Niehaus and Sukhtankar reveal that the Indian government enacted social spending schemes that promote corruption by state officials like the "National Rural Health Mission" and "Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act" (pp. 52-54). Moreover, the corrupt politicians own the media that should expose corruption scandals, a situation that makes corruption unnoticed. Unlike India, European countries such as Italy consider corruption as a social problem that requires stringent and punitive measures to be taken against its perpetrators. Tanzler and Maras assert that in Italy and other Western countries, civilians report instances of corruption to the police who then take measures against the corrupt as stipulated by the law (136). This explains why corruption levels are high in India, a condition that hinders economic and social growth.
Imperatively, there have been many historical developments in India that explain the sluggishness in India's development as compared to Britain or other developed Western countries. Crowne identifies the arrival of India's identity politics in the 1980s to have promoted political, ethnic, and religious tensions within India (pp.12-21). For instance, the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was initially associated with a brand of violent Hindu nationalism called Hindutva which inspired Hindu-Muslim violence such as Gujarat riots of 2002 and the Mumbai riots that occurred between 1992 and 1993. Notably, Hinduvta promoted religious and social intolerance among communities in India, thus deterring economic growth and development.
In conclusion, it is indeed true that high levels of corruption and poverty, inter-ethnic conflicts, and inter-religious riots have deterred socio-economic and political developments in India. It is worthy to note that India has one of the best liberal democracies in the contemporary world. However, India's liberal democracy has not led to the improvement of its social, political, and economic wellbeing as several factors can be attributed to this. It is, therefore, important to develop policies that promote India's development. To achieve this, the Indian government needs to come up with stringent policies to curb corruption and poverty. The government needs to initiate peace campaigns that teach people the importance of embracing diversity and tolerance. In addition, there is need to empower the poor through giving them loans as well as training them on investment tips. Good policies, peace campaigns, and poverty eradication will thus spur economic development of India to reflect its liberal democracy.
Crowne, William. "Ethnicity as a source of conflict in India." Journal of International Relations 2.1 (2013), 12-21.
Kolas, Ashild. "Framing the tribal: ethnic violence in Northeast India." Asian Ethnicity 18.1 (2017): 22-37.
Niehaus, Paul, and Sandip Sukhtankar. "The marginal rate of corruption in public programs: Evidence from India." Journal of Public Economics 104 (2013): 52-64.
Piazza, James. "Economic Development, Poorly Managed Political conflict and Terrorism in India. "Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 32.5 (2009): pp.17-25.
Spalek, Basia. "Community engagement for counterterrorism in Britain: An exploration of the role of "connectors" in countering Takfiri jihadist terrorism." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37.10 (2014): 825-841.
Tanzler, Dirk, and Konstadinos Maras. The social construction of corruption in Europe. Routledge, 2016.
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