Governance— Responsibility of the Polity and the Public Services

Published date01 September 2020
Date01 September 2020
Subject MatterDocuments
Responsibility of the
Polity and the Public
N. N. V ohra
India is the world’s largest democracy. Since Independence, Indians have been
governed by their own chosen representatives, elected every five years by freely
conducted polls. While seven decades is not a particularly long period in the life
of a nation, it would be beneficial to look back, even though fleetingly, to reckon
how far India has progressed towards nation-building goals, envisioned by the
founding fathers of our Constitution.
Among the mandated tasks of establishing a strong and caring democracy, built
on the pillars of secularism, equality, liberty, justice and fraternity, a crucial goal
which continues to await attainment relates to failure to provide food, shelter, safe
drinking water, healthcare, literacy and employment opportunities to millions of
people who subsist below the poverty line. Unfortunately, the continuing pan-
demic, COVID-19, has added many more millions to the number of those already
poverty-stricken. Thus, by all accounts, India still has to travel a long way to eradi-
cate poverty and inequality, alleviate the lot of the economically downtrodden and
socially depressed segments of the population and empower them to truly enjoy
equal opportunities with all others in the country.
In any discussion on the governance of India, it would do well to remember
that India is a vast country of sub-continental dimensions and a land of awesome
geographical dissimilarities. India has large desert areas, the highest mountain
ranges in the world, land and sea borders of nearly 23,000 km, over 1,200 island
territories and an exclusive economic zone of several million square kilometres.
Even more daunting is the heterogeneity of Indian population. India with nearly
1.38 billion population today, comprises over 4,600 communities that practice all
the world religions, speak 122 languages and nearly 2,000 dialects. Their vastly
* Edited version of Sir Syed Memorial Lecture delivered at Sir Syed Academy, Aligarh Muslim
University, Aligarh on 9 September 2020.
1 Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, (2008–2018) India.
Document 1
Indian Journal of Public
66(3) 390–403, 2020
© 2020 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/0019556120965380
Corresponding author:
N. N. Vohra, Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, India.

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