Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Things the UK PM would do well to remember on his visit to India

Alpesh Patel Thursday 21st April 2022 05:15 EDT

Western democracy has its origins in Christianity, Indian Democracy in its major religion.

PM Johnson said to my wife, a fortnight ago, at Number 10, “Narendra is my friend”. I believe both PMs genuinely have a fondness for each other and see each other as friends.

This week sees the passing of Easter. The UK PM visits India. He will urge India to take a stronger stand against Russia. He will point out the common values of Democracy and responsibilities of being the world’s largest democracy too.

The West doesn’t understand Indian democracy. To the West universal human rights, elections, equality all go hand in hand with democracy. They’re right. They do in India and the West.

But Western democracy, as Easter reminds us, is based on Christian traditions. Those traditions include proselytizing. The belief that if you are right, your values should be shared, first by persuasion and failing that by force.

They should go beyond the individual to other countries. Democracy is their creed. Their religion. It is why they were accused of a crusade in the Iraq war. It’s why the West will talk to other countries, when it suits their needs, or at least does not harm them, about human rights and gender equality.

The majority religion in India is Hinduism. It has been so for millennia. Hinduism does not proselytize. If you are right, you do not share your righteousness through holy wars, there is no equivalent of onward Christian soldiers. Of course some extremists believe Hinduism should ape Christianity and evangelise, proselytize and convert.

There is no goal to civilise and bring the word of God or Democracy as a creed to other countries. So Indian democracy by tradition, culture, heritage – abstains. It does by words criticise but rarely by actions of force.

Yes, India abstains at the UN because it wants Russia’s reliable veto in future and has 70%+ of defence hardware from Russia (cheaper than the west, better than Indian). But it does not soul search in doing so. It verbally condemns.

There is no single valid definition of democracy. The word simply means the rule of the people. There are many different forms of government and some people might argue that there are many different forms of ‘democracy’. The form we live under in the West has its origins in ancient Greek ideals and then evolved into various political systems including Athenian democracy, direct democracy and representative democracy.

It also developed through various experiments with constitutionalism. In general terms, when you look at the history of Western civilization, a key belief is that individual sovereignty is paramount—that individuals play a vital role in determining their own fate within society—that each individual owns his or her personhood and can make their own decisions about their future without consulting others for permission or approval.

There are many differences between Indian Democracy and Western Democracy

Political cultures are the product of their economic structures, socio-cultural policies, historical experiences, historical traditions, beliefs, social structures, cultures, languages and political philosophies.

Whilst the two nations are friends seeking ever closer union, their differences when understood by their backgrounds allow for a closer not more distant friendshi

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