What are the defects of the present political system in India, and what is the remedy?
What type of political system would be suitable?
India is in a political mess. The reason lies in its past history.
Before the British government, India was never one country. It was divided into hundreds of small kingdoms. There was no political system; the word of the king was the law. The credit goes to the British government that it put it together and made India a country.
When India was struggling for freedom, my family has been continuously involved in the movement. Everybody had been to jail, everybody had been beaten, everybody had suffered. But I was not in favor of independence at that time. I said, “Independence needs a certain clear conception of what you are going to do after freedom. Freedom simply gives you the opportunity to do things, but you have no idea what you are going to do after freedom. And this will bring a tremendous turmoil in the whole continent.”
The freedom fighters were involved so much in the fight, they could not conceive a certain political system that would work after freedom. On this point I am absolutely against the British kingdom, that it left India in chaos. It had found India in chaos. In two hundred years of effort the chaos has settled – under pressure – not because of any understanding.
I used to say to my father, “The moment India becomes free there will be chaos again, because the pressure will be gone. This peace, and India living as one country without any inner conflict, is superficial. Once the pressure is gone, all their old rivalries – thousands of years old – will surface again.” They are surfacing.
To understand India’s position clearly one has to conceive of India as almost a continent. It is not a small country. Switzerland, England, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Germany – countries like these are just the size of states in India, and there are thirty states there. It can become thirty countries any day; it has the population, it has the land, and the fight has started for that, because these thirty states speak different languages, have different civilizations, different culture. There is as much difference between them as between countries.
The only hope is that the present prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, is not a politician. He is a non-political man, and that is the only hope. The politician functions for his own interest; he looks at everything through political eyes.