Democracy In India Is Alive And Well

In "India shouldn't Balkanize" (Editorials, June 3), you suggest that conditions in India are reminiscent of the Balkans. Anyone who doesn't know better is likely to believe what you have written is a good evaluation of contemporary India. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The editorial suggests only two alternatives: economic growth or "anarchy, hatred, and bloodshed." It goes on to "hope that the military, one of India's most integrated and national institutions, ensures stability." I am sure you did not mean to suggest a military takeover in India. This is appalling, coming from a respected weekly magazine published in the U.S.

We have witnessed the smooth process by which a dignified Indian President, Shankar Dayal Sharma, invited the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then chose to exit in an equally dignified manner after assessing that he would not have a majority in Parliament. H.D. Deve Gowda of the United Front has just as smoothly been appointed Prime Minister. It must be noted there was no "anarchy, hatred, and bloodshed" visible in this process in India.

The military also witnessed two Defense Ministers in the last week changing places: Pramod Mahajan was replaced by Mulayam Singh Yadav with no rancor. These events speak volumes for our democratic system.

Yes, the jury is out, equally to judge India--and your editorial--with the passage of time.

Sunand Sharma


Quantum Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

New Delhi

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