Many in India have sought to take heart from these revolutions without realising that India already is a functioning liberal democracy with both the right to freedom of expression and the right to vote in free and fair elections firmly established. Even though there is a serious problem of livelihood security, nevertheless there are democratic vents for expressing dissatisfaction politically right from the grassroots level to the parliament and legally through the judiciary. Moreover, the media too performs a satisfactory role as a watchdog. What we here need is a more radical change which is going to be difficult to achieve against a well entrenched state system.
Here is an example of the difficulty involved from the work of the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath (KMCS). The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has now been extended to private lands also. Thus, in Madhya Pradesh there is a scheme called the Bhoomishilp Yojana for soil and water conservation work on the private farms of small and marginal farmers. The KMCS this year has gone about trying to get many of its members to apply for this scheme so that along with the money received as wages they will also get their farm lands levelled and bunded. However, getting this scheme to be implemented is proving to be really tough. The Sarpanches, Panchayat Secretaries and the Block level government functionaries are all against this scheme because it involves more work for them and there is little scope for corruption. After tremendous efforts only two Panchayats have been able to get work under this scheme. Even Sarpanches elected with the support of the KMCS have opposed this scheme. The Sarpanches have considerable influence in their panchayats and so it is difficult to go against them when they prefer to side with the state.
Thus, in India politics is very complex especially at the grassroots and the Jasmine Revolutions have very little to offer to us by way of lessons and tactics to be learnt. In the ultimate analysis it is the huge concentration of resources in a few hands that constricts any movement towards genuine mass democracy and this will continue to be a problem for some time to come.