Author: Piloo Mody
Publisher: Abhinav Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170170974
On the night of July 25, 1975, Indian democracy came within a hair-breadth of extinction. A people who, thirty years earlier had wrested their freedom from the greatest Empire on earth, came close to losing it for ever. That India had been given a second chance to make democracy work is due entirely to the miscalculation of the would-be dictator. Mrs Indira Gandhi believed that the Indian people, cowed and crushed by nineteen months of unbridled tyranny, would be too enervated by fear to oppose her but Mrs Gandhi was wrong. The people of India discarded Mrs. Gandhi’s well-ordered and regimented dictatorship and opted for the flawed and imperfect liberal model.
If the democratic concept came close to being destroyed, it was because the people of India had taken it for granted, delegating power to representatives undeserving of their trust, and looking on their rulers as their masters instead of what they actually were-servants on electoral sufferance. The author, a victim of the coup, had enough time during his 15. months in jail to ponder the causes that led up to it. What he found most difficult to swallow was the glib explanations offered by his colleagues in jail about their woefully shallow understanding of democracy itself.
It is this realisation of pervasive ignorance and apathy that led him to write this book - an attempt to trace the genesis of democracy and search for the origins of the attitudes and institutions that sustain it. The book tries to explain the virtues of democracy and how they were arrived at; it also tries to warn its friends against the onslaughts of economic and political controls and those who would advocate them.
At times this book will prove heavy going but human freedom is so precious that the fact that Plato or Hegel or Marx need effort and concentration for a proper understanding should be accepted cheerfully, their right postulates acclaimed, their wrong conclusions rejected, and an independent assessment arrived at. Finally, the book has an inspiring message: if people are ready to live democracy earnestly enough, they will never have to die in order to preserve it.
A liberal in the best sense of the world, Piloo Mody has made his mark as one of the great iconoclasts of India’s Parliament with devastating sallies against the pompous, the cur-rupt and the incompetent - all delivered with wit and urbanity.
By profession an architect, with a degree from the University of California, Mr Mody has the distinction of having worked with Le Corbusier at Chandigarh. He has found time to edit a political weekly, March of the Nation, has written numerous articles for the national press and is the author of Zulfih, My Friend, published in English, Hindi and Urdu.
An advocate of sound and constructive labour relations, Mr Mody is patron or president of several labour groups ranging from officers of the Life Insurance Corporation to the hawkers of Delhi. At the moment he is the chief proponent of a new political culture in India to bridge the gap between Kathni and Karni (precept and practice).
How it started
No alternative to democracy
Dangerous counter philosophy
The search for a system
The nature of man and his exploitation
The many facets of man pluralism
The task before us
The origins of power
The sovereign truth
Sovereignty: the will of the people
A method of approach
The sanctity of law
How societies change
Conflict of ideologies
The fallacies of Marx
The conclusions of Marx
About prophets and predictions
The abiding values of democracy
Democracy is indestructible
Fundamental rights - I
Fundamental rights - II
The contradictions of nationalism
A lament of decadence
The function of the state
The limitations of the state
The danger points
Some thoughts on the electoral rocess
Nationalism - I
Nationalism - II
The new realities
Making the poor productive
Towards an economic theory
The problems facing India
A new culture