At 4pm today, the nation will find out if we have lung cancer or liver cancer

With the advancement of modern medicine, many of us pass through a tormenting time of uncertainty when we are forced to wait for a biopsy report on the illness from a pathology lab.

Today, we, the people of a democratic nation are made to feel the same way. At 4pm, on the floor of Karnataka assembly, Indian democracy will pass through a pathological test for malignancy.

But, unfortunately, whatever the result may be, the real diagnosis is known to all of us. We, Sir, as a nation, have cancer, only the type is yet to be determined.

As the issue is debated and dissected on media to a level that there is no real point in naming and shaming any political party here. The universal nakedness in Arabian bath is a cliché so overused that being naked is now a comfortable norm and not an exception in political arena. So, it is better if we don’t try to correct the incorrigible; and, instead see if anything can be salvaged.

Democratic nations have to live with a certain amount of chaos due to the inherent nature of the system that permits, or rather demands co-existence of conflicting opinions.

It is a systemic problem that democracies world over have tried solving through formation of political parties. Political parties are expected to reduce the diversity of opinions to a manageable scale.

But, if we look at Indian democracy vis-à-vis other democracies that seem to be faring better, the real point of difference is in the number of political parties.

As our nation is almost like a continent in terms of population, the large number of political parties is statistically justified, but the practical problems caused by this diversity are now looking ominous for the nation.

There is no doubt that when 1.3 billion people of a nation are forced to live with devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea kind of options, we need a better option. But, as it is completely unlikely to arrive without a revolutionary transformation of value system of the nation, we need to become pragmatic and try and look for lesser evil through practical and achievable systemic changes.

One choice is to disallow multiple parties beyond a cap of three or four. It does make logical sense, as issues that government is expected to deal with are not exactly such that there could be too many viewpoints.

But, we must accept the reality that we are just too large a nation for such a cap to work at national level.

If we are to live with multiple parties at national level, there is another possibility that we need to ponder over.

We should disallow regional parties from participating in national elections. This sounds a bit radical and restrictive too, but it is possible to make this work by legislating that a regional party member must enter into a firm immutable pre-pole alliance with a national party for participation in national elections, and must fight under the banner of the national party.

This is one democratic reform that is a dire need of the nation that seem to have hit a cell-division button to divide itself.

I am certain that we are a resilient nation that will survive either form of cancer for now. But, this pathological test should wake us up to find a cure of the malaise before it destroys our beloved nation.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

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