This is continuation of my earlier post dated November 27 2013.
“The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards.”
Joseph Lelyveld, 'Great Soul / Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India', 2011:
"India has now been free and independent for about four months...No single catastrophe served as catalyst for his (Mahatma Gandhi's) decision to start his seventeenth and final fast on January 13. In the days running up to the fast, he’d been forcefully struck by several indications that matters were on a downward slide. First he received a detailed account of rampant corruption at all levels of the newly empowered Congress movement in the Andhra region of southeastern India..."
"...Institutions got such a thrashing that it has not been possible to restore them to their original form even after three decades. Politicians of all parties and their cohorts, the bureaucrats, have found the battered institutions convenient and cooperative...The system has not recovered since..."
(The Asian Age, June 25 2007)
Capital is constructed around a series of mesmerising interviews, largely with members of Delhi’s ‘entrepreneurial’ class. Their identities mostly disguised, they speak with astounding and in some cases incriminating frankness about how they have achieved wealth, power and status through bribery, political corruption, land-grabs, money laundering and beating up anyone who gets in their way. What Dasgupta calls ‘the flourishing bourgeoisie’ tends to flourish at the expense of the poor, hundreds of thousands of whose homes have been torn down to make way for glossy new apartment complexes and shopping malls. Like most Indian cities, Delhi has been subject to large influxes of refugees during its history, but according to Dasgupta the ‘enormous transfer of wealth and resources from the city’s poorest to its richest citizens’ that has taken place since 2000 has ‘turned many of the former into refugees in their own city’.
How did this transfer happen? The final entry under ‘Nehru, Jawaharal’ in the index of Ramachandra Guha’s magisterial India After Gandhi (2007) reads bleakly: ‘Work undone by daughter Indira.’ Dasgupta concurs, noting that it was during Mrs Gandhi’s long premiership that widespread collusion between thrusting businessmen and corrupt politicians became more or less accepted. He further suggests that the communal violence which followed Mrs Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, during which politicians and police not merely stood by but actually encouraged and facilitated the massacre of thousands of Sikhs, ‘sent a definitive message that law was a degenerate part of Indian social life and one’s only moral duty was to oneself’..."
As time went by, I am not sure how many of modern India's founders, M/s. J. L. Nehru and Yashvantrao Chavan (यशवंतराव चव्हाण) included, remained as committed to the institutions as we thought they were in 1947.