India as the Democratic Federal Republic
Republic is a Latin word. A Republican state is one in which power rests with the citizens. Democracy is a Greek word. It means a state in which leaders are chosen from among the general population, and not the aristocracy. Republic and democracy don’t mean the same thing, and even democracy has many interpretations.
Republics are not easy to keep because we are naturally attracted to the heroic savior who will sort out our problems with his genius. Our literature is occupied with stories in which we see heroic figures. Their struggles and people narrate stories from that side only. We usually don’t see the other side of the coin.
It is obvious that we are a democracy because our leaders are chosen by voters. But are we a republic? Does real power rest with the citizens of India? At this point, I must say that everyone should watch this movie, which is the official nomination for OSCARS from India, for the 90th Academy Awards. Many interpretations of democracy are shown there. The outside observer will notice that the interest of the state and its organs are put above the interest of India’s people. There is a background to this: Nehru inherited an aggressively expansionist imperial state with tentative borders. Its relationship with the citizen focused on taxation and law and order. This continued after 1947. Even today, where the state feels threatened by citizens demanding rights, it will not hesitate to put them down with lethal force.
At the same time, if we say that India is a Republic. It means that it’s a country driven by the constitution. In which we have multiple norms and rights which are reserved for the marginalized sections and also in interest for the development of the nation. So with all these complexities, we must say that India is moreover a democratic federal republic.