|Photo courtesy: hindu.com|
Confusion between tools and intentions
The whole show exposes how confused India is between tools and intentions. A democracy which is not present in the hearts of people cannot be implemented using computers. The crumbling pillars of ethical governance cannot be patched up using computers. Yes, e-governance can slow down corruption, but the corrupt can always beat the system (one idea is to simply not turn on the darned computers).
Did the founding fathers of the United States of America need computers to write a good constitution? Did computers come up with the idea of federalism in that country? Did wireless communication technology come up with a nearly flawless implementation of a system of governance which fosters life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans? Wasn't the United States of America a vibrant democracy before video-conferencing existed?
Democracy should not become rocket-science
Projecting all that technology as necessary for having a working democracy, makes democracy seem like something inherently implementable outside human hearts, and only within computers. It turns a simple concept into an "over the head" monstrosity. That's probably good for those who sell computers and technology (and even for US-India trade), but bad for implementing a true democracy. Implementing a true democracy should be made to seem very easy, not very difficult.
Technology cannot run India
Putting technology in perspective
There is another grave danger of using too much technology to implement a decent democracy in India. And that is, many could simply "rest assured" that there's no need for them to do anything because something (in fact, a computer) is taking care of it. It can become a solid reason for the crème de la crème of India to further divorce itself from grass-roots Indian democracy. This danger has to be avoided.
We need to put technology where it belongs. Technology cannot fill the voids created by lacunae in human hearts, especially in the hearts of the powers that be. Technology cannot substitute a federal polity which is the only legitimate implementation of a democracy in a large and diverse country such as India. Technology cannot substitute sincere public workers. Technology cannot substitute education for the masses. Technology cannot substitute your and my concern and action aimed at the development of the have-nots.
Note that I'm not saying that technology is un-necessary. It's necessary, and can only supplement human hands. It cannot supplement human hearts. Today, what we need is a transformation of hearts in India.