As recent protests indicate, Indians increasingly believe that their government is letting them down. New Delhi's faults -- criminalism, cronyism, and corruption -- are well known. Less understood is that these problems result from positive developments, that they will get worse before they get better, and that the solution is not less democracy, as some have suggested, but even more.
The most urgent problems facing Rajiv Gandhi when he assumed office in Oct 1984 were the Punjab, Congress Party reform, the economy and relations with Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Halfway through his five-year term his record is mixed. He is not a politician by instinct, but he may yet develop political skill to enable him to lead India into the 21st century.
THE fall in India's stock with her friends abroad is matched by the doubts that assail her own people. To misgivings about economic prospects have now been added a deep disquiet about the political future. The marked increase in tensions within Indian society, accelerated by intensified competition between the political parties since the general election in February 1967, raises fears that the consensus which has so far sustained the Indian experiment in democracy may break down. These fears, now at the center of the political debate within the country, testify to a crisis of confidence which is far more debilitating than the actual difficulties faced by India as a result of the loss of economic momentum and political coherence. But, paradoxically, the crisis is also a sign of hope. India has reasonably well- evolved political institutions and a fair leavening of educated public opinion, and these give her a sporting chance of pulling through. The practical solutions are still difficult to perceive, but the fact that all political elements are searching for them is itself reassuring.