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Indian democracy is not a western import but has indigenous roots going back 2500 years—PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that Indian democracy is not a western import but has indigenous and independent civilizational roots.

Speaking virtually at a summit of democracies  hosted by the United States, PM Modi stressed that India had a 2500-year-old tradition of democracy, implying that Indian democracy predated Western democracies by several centuries.

“The democratic spirit is integral to our civilization ethos. Elected republican city-states such as Lichhavi and Shakya flourished in India as far as 2500 years back. The same democratic spirit is seen in the 10th Century "Uttaramerur" inscription that codified the principles of democratic participation. This very democratic spirit and ethos had made ancient India one of the most prosperous,” PM Modi said.

Robustly negating the notion in some western quarters that British colonial rule introduced the concept of democracy, the Prime Minister asserted exactly the opposite. He pointed out that the colonial rule tried but failed to extinguish India’s entirely home-grown  DNA of democracy.  “Centuries of colonial rule could not suppress the democratic spirit of the Indian people. It again found full expression with India's independence, and led to an unparalleled story in democratic nation-building over the last 75 years.”

Countering  those who posit that authoritarian systems, such as that of China,  drive faster material advancement, PM Modi stressed that “democracy can deliver, that democracy has delivered, and that democracy will continue to deliver. “

The Prime Minister  cautioned against the blind adoption of social media and crypto-currencies that could undermine democracy .  “ We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and crypto-currencies, so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it.”

PM Modi highlighted that India was ready to share its experience with other democracies, which were nurtured by different roots. “Different parts of the world have followed different paths of democratic development. There is much we can learn from each other. “He added that India would be happy to share its expertise in holding free and fair elections, and in enhancing transparency in all areas of governance through innovative digital solutions.

Also Read:  Modi unveils pillars of an Indian civilizational state in three back-to-back speeches