Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Governance. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


I have been using expression Indocracy to describe a more advanced form of democratic political and governance framework that can help transform India from a semi-developed country with modest public infrastructure and military capacity to a fairly prosperous, egalitarian, socially harmonious and cohesive country with far stronger militarily and security capacity. Indocracy envisions further refinement of democracy by resurrecting some of the original and ancient values of the Indian subcontinent. Following write up is reproduced from my page named Indoocracy:

                                                                 (  I )

When Shri Narasimha Rao took the bold political-governance step in 1991 to liberate the Indian economy from shackles of licence-Raj, it was a big move towards unleashing locked up entrepreneurial and economic energy of India. Until then,  state had allowed only few mega industrialists and chosen cronies to retain their stranglehold over aspirations of nearly a billion people. Of course, among them were few conscientious corporate leaders but the club was too tightly closed. Someone like D B Ambani had try ingenious ways to break in, through means that were not considered all that honourable.    

At that time, for a duration of nearly one year until I joined civil service, I used to argue that India needed simultaneous reforms in civil service, political parties, private sector and criminal justice system to bolster its overall governance capacity. We needed to ensure that resultant opportunities for economic competition did not turn into conflict. 

I believed that the prevailing structures of Indian bureaucracy or even political parties and even criminal justice system were incapable of either regulating this competition or absorbing the shock. No one with a bit of sense, at least in my generation, had any doubts about the promise that such a move held for our future. The issue at stake was how to harness and optimise the dividends of economic liberation for the people and the country as a whole.  After three decades of experience, my views have become more entrenched in this direction.  

While competition is critical for excellence and optimal output in any sphere, it must be fair and well-regulated. An unregulated or deficiently regulation competition turns into conflict and retards excellence and output in any institution or society. 

Many intellectuals, media and even my friends in student politics were arguing that the role
of state in economic sphere would decline following this step. I used to argue that the role of state had become far more challenging and complex and there was an urgent need to refine it. Our country needed to follow up reforms in economy with reforms in other sectors. Of course, I was disdainfully dismissed by all concerned. 

Even in civil service examination of 1991, there was a question in political science paper on this issue. I took a similar line rather than writing the standard answer. I had gone to the extent of arguing that there would be faster development for a while, following few initial hiccups and knee jerk reactions following such change, as unleashing of so much of locked up energy was bound to have a positive impact on our all round productivity. But sooner there would be conflict, confusion, contradictions and decline in pace of development, leading to social disorder and multiple other malaise. 

In absence of simultaneous reforms in political, administrative and education sectors, powerful cartels, and enterprising elements with not so sound values, could benefit far more. Some of them could rise to take over major institutions and use the government authority against the interest of Indian state and Indian people. State shall fail to contain abnormal rise in corruption and even sophisticated criminality. These could undermine ability of state to administer rules and laws fairly. 

Existing mega elite could exploit their clout to rig the process of economic competition. Newer criminalised elements who were on the fringes of economy could capture centre-stage, as state would not be able to regulate competition. There could be much larger criminalisation of politics with steep increase in financial clout of such elements. 

Thankfully a visionary T N Sheshan and the same outdated but relatively honest elements in bureaucracy salvaged our electoral process and proved such assessment wrong to some extent but not entirely in my perception. 

I had argued that we needed more specialised, competitive and autonomous civil service to support and regulate competition - both in politics and economy- and not obstruct democracy and development. We also needed more honest and efficient businessmen, which too was a rarity  those days. People who aimed to prosper must contribute to society by providing services and generating jobs. All these would require newer norms, rules and and faster output of criminal-justice system to uphold these. Otherwise,  resultant conflict and chaos could choke the entire productivity and output of people. 

I had insisted that competition could lead to excellence only if competing people  had a higher semblance of equality. There could be no competition in a race between few well-fed well educated people riding helicopters and majority of ill-fed, weak and ill-nourished people running with bare feet on rough and thorny grounds. 

While complete equality  is neither possible nor desirable in any system, some semblance of equality and universal access to economic security are indispensable for competitive economy and politics.  These alone could optimise capacity and productivity of people in democracies. 

This was the first question I had answered and examiner virtually failed me in this paper. Probably I had created an impression that I was simply bluffing and had no clue about the issue as I had not read or memorised information to reproduce it, like other good students. 

Even now, most educated Indian elite of that generation dismiss my views in this direction, on the plea that system permitted lot of upward mobility and we were far better-off today, compared to earlier times. I do believe, we need to think bigger and think differently. 

I have  harnessed my wide exposure, compared to most academics, to real life events and processes in geopolitics, governance, national security, and other spheres,  to articulate a viable and pragmatic vision of transformation of democratic governance institutions and their processes in India and the developing world. These usher in far greater prosperity and security for people in the developing world. I have named it Indocracy. The discussion shall continue. 

(To be contd.....)

( II )

I remember words of one of my esteemed elders and mentor with whom I would have interacted extensively in Calcutta, Delhi and finally at Lucknow. He was Shri Vishnu Kant Shastri, initially a teacher of Hindi and then a politician. He is the one who taught me the concept of Dharma, admitting that he could not answer me more as he had limited knowledge of Sanskrit as he was essentially a teacher of Hindi who had read a little bit of Sanskrit.

Once at his government house in Delhi, probably at Vishambhar Das Marg, he told me: “Beta tum naukri me aa gaye ho, lekin tumhare vichar nahi badle. Aise vicharon ke saath tumhein baahar aana padega nahi to tum baahar Kar diye jaoge. Lekin apne vicharon par tumhein swayam prayas karna hoga.Tum ek naye samaj ki Srijan ki baat Kar rahe Ho. Is ke liye apni Ahuti deni padti hai. Atm-bali hi samaj Srijan ka adhaar hai”. 

(Son, you have joined civil service but your views have not changed. With these views, you will soon have to come out of civil service or you will be thrown out. You will have to pursue these views on your own. You are talking about a new social order and self-sacrifice is the foundation for any creative advancement of this kind)     

Though much later even at Lucknow, once he had presented me a copper-brass statute of Goddess Saraswati, acknowledging my penchant for innovative thinking, and had amusingly asked me "Eis sade hue vyavastha mein aise vicharon ke saath kaise rehte ho tum?" (How do you manage to survive with your views in this rotten system of government service). Fortunately, I was away from mainstream bureaucracy and I never discussed these.   

I continued in my profession and kept trying my level best to be innovative and push frontiers of individual and collective excellence and yet remain a role model for my juniors. My real accomplishments can never come in public domain but I am sure some of my earlier bosses, who have mentored and tutored me during early days of my service, and whom I also opposed on many occasions in a bid to go way beyond what they coached or taught me, would concede my insane levels of professional commitment and integrity. Some of my mentors have indeed been generous to tell me that they had not come across anyone who could make more accurate futuristic projections in matters of geopolitics on a consistent basis, often by taking bold risks.  

I may have committed lot of mistakes in dealing with issues and individuals. But there was never a malice. In my crusade against cronyism, corruption and subversion of institutions,  more harassment I faced - from both visible and invisible quarters- stronger and more determined I became. It is possible even now that I can meet with an accident or suspicious death, which has been tried by a few of my former colleagues and others who have felt threatened by my views and actions. They have already attempted criminality like forgery, manipulation of records, robbery of my personal papers, and conspiracy in collusion with enemies of Indian state among others.  

But this is not going to shake my conviction in Indocracy and dream for a stronger and fairer India and a similar world. I have not been a civil society activist who has only advocated social re-engineering. I have been a member of one of multiple institutions that directly or indirectly protect the country. Even Indian elite would have benefited from enterprise, innovation and insane levels of initiatives that any one attempts in any profession but it would be particularly so in the sphere of national security.

Of course, there have been very very large number of people far more superior to me in intellect and commitment who have made far more serious sacrifices for the country. With all humility, I acknowledge that it is their contribution which has inspired me.

Few days back, a friend told me that it was utterly stupid for any intelligent and innovative person to stay idealist and adhere to such levels of integrity. She went on to argue that this country and society didn’t deserve insane levels of integrity. I urged her to look around. It is unfortunate that elite and people in power, or even others, tend to think in this manner. 

This is the time when we are seeing huge examples of selfless supreme sacrifices by large sections of in far too many sectors in course of the ongoing war against Corona. This has not happened for the first time. It has been part of Indian DNA for ages. Members of our armed forces have always made supreme sacrifice to defend the country and our liberty. So has been the sacrifices of scores of freedom fighters of India. One can only feel humbled and more inspired to try harder if one has the capacity. 

Hence, the quest for Indocracy shall continue as a tribute to all the Indians who have sacrificed themselves for a better India. All Indians who are committed to the eternal idea of India and believe in a stronger India must join our initiative. We may not achieve an Indocratic political, social and economic order in entirety at any point of time. We may not make even substantial progress in this direction in our entire life time. But still we can pursue it as the self-ordained Dharma in pursuit of a real India and a better world. 

This is the best tribute that, probably, I am capable of paying to all the martyrs who have laid down their life through out the history of India to defend India and Indian values. Some of these may be in tatters today. But Indocracy is all about resurrecting those eternal Indian values which have been the strength of India as civilisation, state and society.


Indocracy is not an alternative to Democracy. It rather incorporates all scientific aspects of the contemporary representative democracy and amalgamates these with original subcontinental values of Kautilyan, Buddhist, and pre-Buddhist era to further streamline structures and processes to minimise conflict and optimise harmony and output of people.

Post-independence India has been the only exception in the entire world, where democracy has thrived and flourished even under most adverse circumstances. This was not entirely due to our association with the West. It was more due to inherent strengths of Indian values. Indocracy is about scientifically refining the idea of Democracy to the next higher stage to bolster governance and national security capacity of a diverse and large country like India.      

I would have developed the core concept of INDOCRACY during my University days in 1980s. Both at Presidency college Kolkata and JNU,  Marxism and Marxian Revisionism were predominant ideas that were being actively discussed by politically conscious students, teachers and activists. There was no confusion about obsolescence of some of the basic premises of Marxism. But the prevailing structures and processes  of representative democracy too appeared incapable of addressing legitimate aspirations or even basic governance expectations of people, at least in the Indian context. 

It was under these circumstances that I came out with what I can say the core idea of Indocracy- the three interdependent levels of harmony: a)  within an individual; b) between individual and society; and c) between man and nature. I had worked out a matrix to show : a) how it could be achieved; and b) how can it potentially push people, societies and states, on course of a continuous and comprehensive empowerment and progressive evolution. Later, I realised that what I was speaking may not be entirely new. Yet, I continued to develop and refine this idea, utilising my experiences and observations. 

When initial discussions on Indocracy started in late 1980s, I was not confident whether the idea was strong and appealing enough and  people would take interest. I gained from experience of writing pamphlets for nearly a year in JNU. I was the only person who was trying to articulate newer ideas on behalf of a centrist political organisation on the campus. I was pitted against a formidable group of Marxist-Leftist campus intellectuals, and their more established opponents- Free Thinkers. All of them were senior to me and luminaries in their own rights, at least within the boundaries of JNU. I had to come out with an original ideological framework that was essentially Indian and yet democratic, unlike the revolutionary Marxist model of the left or radical Maoism of the ultra-left or Trotskyism and the Western liberalism of the rest.  

My JNU days friend Sanjay Sinha and Braj Jha were often hapless victim who had to endure my monologues and yet encourage me. Though I left that centrist organisation within a year, out of disgust over activities of some of their members, but my quest for Indocracy remained. And my friends over three and half decades, Sanjay Sinha and, of late, Braj Jha continue to occasionally call me up and encourage me even now. I am not sure whether they do it out of commitment to me as a friend or they really find my ideas interesting. 

Over the years, I have built a comprehensive and detailed framework of governance and social order that I describe Indocracy. I had also worked out ways and means  to pursue and achieve these. Until recently, it was not in the form of a book. It was rather in the form of a proposal, which must be still available with some of the eminent citizens of India. 

In fact, at one point of time, in late 1980s I wanted to set up  experimental model villages, by adopting few existing villages, as labs to see whether the Indocratic governance model could succeed in transforming plight of people at micro-level. Some people offered to join me in return for some  political enterprise and contributions. Thankfully, I chose to join civil service which helped me build a more comprehensive perspective, incorporating vital elements of national security. I would not have been able to appreciate these, had I joined politics or civil society activism right in the beginning. 

Since those very days, I have consistently nurtured aspiration of giving a concrete shape to the idea of Indocracy. I remember discussing it with Hon’ble late Shri Chandrashekhar, former Prime Minister of India in early 1990s. By this time, he had stepped down as Prime Minister. I had appeared in civil service examination but not joined service as yet. He was too indulgent to me and used to listen to me with amusement during prolonged interaction on few Sundays at his Bharat Yatra Kendra, Buvaneshwari, Gurugram. In fact, the seriousness with which he once took my papers and tried to read, really gave me confidence that what I was talking did make a little bit of sense. 

Subsequently, Chandrashekhar Ji would have urged me on several occasions to quit service and step into public life to translate my vision of Indocracy in to reality. He used to advise that I would never succeed in any big mission if I delayed beyond the age of 30 or maximum 35. Once, while I was travelling with him in his car in 2001, just a day before Holi, he had said in Bhojpuri: “Jitender Ji, sarkar ke nokri mein kuchhu baa naa. Rauwa ke kab se kaha tani, chali aayeen, hamani ke mil ke kucch kail jao. Khali badhiya badhiya baat batiyawala se kuchchu hoi na”.  (Jitendra, there is nothing so attractive in government service. I have been urging you for too long to come out and join me. You are not going to achieve anything by just talking good ideas). He was on way from Gurugram to AIIMS, to see someone from Koirala family of Nepal who had been admitted. Soon after that I fell seriously ill and this discussion could not be followed up and he advised me to focus on my health. After that I did meet him on couple of pleasantry calls where Indocracy was not broached. Finally I met him at Apollo hospital, following my return from a long diplomatic assignment, in December 2006. He was too pleased to see me but was in immense pain. Soon after that he passed away. 

In late 1980s and early 1990s I had become a rolling stone, changing my objectives and associations too frequently. Hence,  in early 1990s, I was looking for some stability and consolidation, with some solid governance and leadership level experiences before I could take the plunge to carry forward the idea of Indocracy. I also remember discussing it with Shri Oscar  Fernandese during late 1980s and early 1990s. He too, like late Shri Vishnukant Shastri,  has been a mentor who has treated me with far more indulgence than his other associates and proteges. Like late Hon’ble Chandrashekhar Ji, he too has shared lot of personal experiences and observations to drive home the challenges of democratic realpolitik and hindrances it poses in building an efficient governance and national security apparatus.

I also exchanged my ideas with Shri Hemant Karkare in April 2000 with whom I had opportunity to interact extensively in informal settings, while undergoing a residential training programme along with him over few weeks. He was an avid reader of Somerset Maugham and often used to listen to me with rapt attention and citing few characters of Maugham in between. He too had told me, I would soon be out of government service if I had such vision and ideas. But the dynamics and fast paced challenges of service, my determination to excel in the same,  along with my health constraints, prevented me from taking the idea of Indocracy beyond thinking, occasional scribbling or academic discussion.  

In early 2012, when I made up my mind to quit service, I had prepared a comprehensive proposal to set up a think tank and handed it over to yet another statesman - Shri Pranab Mukherjee- whom I had first known while I was a student political activist and had the privilege of his indulgent interactions for too long. This was on July  26, 2012, just a day after he had taken oath as the President of India. He always believed that even during informal discussions, I could make highly accurate futuristic assessments in matters of geopolitics, even with limited media inputs. On a few occasions, it had proved useful. 

Since then Hon’ble Shri Mukherjee has been insistent that I meet him at regular intervals, whenever I was in Delhi or even while I was transiting through Delhi. Once his close relation, Shri Rabindranath Bhattacharya @ Mr Robin, a retired IPS officer, emphatically conveyed his appreciation when we ran into each other at Chandigarh in early 2014. 

I had told Hon’ble Shri Mukherjee in July 2012 that the Indian democracy had reached a dead- end and we needed to chart out our own course with a set of comprehensive reforms in political parties, civil service, judiciary and entire criminal justice system, corporate sector, media, healthcare, education system and research institutions. These were outlined in my paper. (It will soon be published on this blog or a new blogs named:  


The proposal form of Indocracy was devised following my haunting exposures to certain dimensions of serious subversion of India's governance institutions. I was convinced that it was impossible for India to optimally secure its legitimate national security objectives and goals, given the prevailing state of subversion of democratic institutions by both internal and external forces. 

I was also convinced that if we were able to build some broad consensus on certain issues, India could reach an entirely different level and trajectory of all round advancement. My ideas, in all probability, were viable and yet too ambitious to be tolerated by vested interests who had got addicted to power. It was also not possible for me to carry out preliminary work on these as long as I was in service. 

Hon'ble Shri Mukherjee, as the President of India, had a hectic schedule over the preceding few days when I met him on July 26, 2102. He promised to have a look at my ideas leisurely. It was merely an aspirational  paper, which I intended to pursue only after exiting the government service. I had left Delhi next day and subsequently remained caught up in back breaking professional commitments. 

Soon I started facing  more concerted harassment from a section of clandestine elements in influential positions both in India and abroad. They were clearly afraid of my ideas in general and some were already angered over my diplomatic professional initiatives (and not intelligence as some media reports have attributed) that had exposed the vulgar underbelly of arms kickback, serious global crime, money laundering and their influence on Indian politics. I was convinced that Pakistan (and through them probably China) linked global crime syndicates had acquired considerable clout within the Indian establishments and sections of media and they were subverting and crippling us as a society and state. I had given it in writing to the concerned authorities and subsequently as well and some of these are part of court documents. 

I could not exit service and pursue Indocracy until something unusual happened in January 2018, which again appeared an attempt to prevent me from initiating a campaign for integrity and dynamism in governance institutions of India to bolster our national security capacity. Even after that I was negotiating with Chatham House, London to set up a research cum advisory institution on governance reforms in democracies. I had already carried out a few meetings with them. I was of course challenging the patriarchic mindset where wisdom was expected to descend only from the top and positions of authority. It was once again deliberately sabotaged by a section of Indian media who indulged in malicious reporting under some pressure or enticement. 

There is no way, any genuine or patriotic Indian could be nervous at the prospect of a persuasive campaign for well thought out governance reforms for a better and stronger India.

What my intellectual mentors, guides and associates in this journey, believed that it was not sufficient that India as the oldest civilisation of the world, just some how struggled to preserve a semblance of social harmony, amidst underlying fissures. It was more important that the idea of Western democracy was further evolved in to a strong futuristic vision and architecture of governance and stronger national security capacity. 

We also needed to transform social order and larger values to optimise our cohesion, output and composite strength as a society and state. We needed something more effective than the mechanism of peaceful transfer of political power. We needed instruments and avenues to optimise our capacity and output as a state and society. Peaceful transfer of political power or coexistence of contentious identities were far too modest aspirations in a competitive world. These were likely to make us more vulnerable. 

Hence, following my eventful retirement, as the principal architect of the idea of Indocracy,  I have been writing and arguing on various platforms that why the idea of democracy needed to advance to the next higher stage. There is a write up on this very blog, of October 2018 vintage, describing my interaction with Francis Fukuyama and my insistence at his lecture at British Library London that Democracy needed to advance to the next higher stage. 

In recent years, even some of the powerful established democracies of the West have witnessed severe governance deficiencies. These are manifest in steeper levels of inequality, decline in life expectancy, lack of universal access to healthcare and economic security, mass discontent and anxiety reflected in aggressive parochial nationalism. On the other hand, democracy as a political-governance framework appears to have lost direction in most of the developing countries, notwithstanding advances in the electoral processes. 

As an ideological construct, Indocracy envisages recalling some of the original ancient Indian wisdom, values and practice to fuse these with modern democratic institutions, with suitable modifications in structures and procedures. At the core lays the vision of three-fold interdependent levels of harmony, mentioned above. This is very different from Confucian harmony of conscience of the ruler and obedience of the masses. 

Indian idea of harmony, as derived from the earliest scriptures, envisions harmony as a driver of excellence and comprehensive empowerment of people. These would be possible only by observance of a Dharma driven governance apparatus, which is backed by both values and institutions with good procedures. Optimal harmony within individual, implies strong physical, psychological, social, spiritual, emotional, cognitive and technological capacity of individuals. 

This would be possible only in a comprehensively secure, trust-centric, collaborative social order where individuals and families enjoy optimal harmony between them as well as with the outer world. This includes communities, societies, state and nature. Political institutions need to be geared towards fostering, and not fracturing, this harmony while retaining the freedom and liberties offered by the Western democracy. 

Indocracy envisions a concentric circle of social and group entities where each empowers the other. It is possible by observance of eternal Indian value of Dharma, which will be explained separately. Dharma is not about religious belief and identity but a self - regulation, which is critical for an organised and harmonious social life. Such regulation is a precondition for stronger state and society. 

 The third level of harmony talks about mutually empowering equilibrium between man and nature. Humans must never surrender to vagaries of nature but at the same time, they must not destroy the fundamental ingredients of nature that sustain and nourish all life forms. Consistent expansion of  frontiers of knowledge as well as innovation in development objectives or regulation of day today life and behaviour patterns shall become critical for fostering this harmony. 

Indocracy envisions not merely formal political and legal institutions that could be advanced versions of democracy. It rather aspires to build a conducive ecosystem that can sustain Indocratic political-economic-social order more conveniently and naturally. Equipping individuals with attributes, awareness and capacity to observe Indocratic values and practices, as well as building right role models and social systems, shall be backed by effect and deterrent legal instruments. A scientific construct of institutions and their processes are available separately.  

Probably, ancient India has been observing the three interdependent levels of harmony, as mentioned above, for a long time, at least substantially.  These had driven India on the path of sustained prosperity, social stability and scientific advancement for a long time. The entire order decayed due to lack of regular re-invigoration of political and social values and consistent refinement of institutions. A scientific research of governance and security capacity of ancient India suggests that these had been substantially distorted and subverted much before Mamluk invasions of late 1st millennium AD or little later. We shall discuss broad contours of Indocracy in next section.  

( To be continued...)


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