Outsourcing the government

What is the foremost thing that we expect from government? It’s, undoubtedly, security. In exchange of security, we surrender a portion of our freedom and our income. For instance, we subject ourselves to frisking, before boarding a plane.

The collective will of a democratic society is codified as laws. To enforce those laws, the government gets a monopoly over violence. For instance, if you beat up someone, it’s a violation of law. If the police cane a violent crowd, it’s enforcement of law. When collective will and laws are not in agreement, conflict emerge.

In recent times, the government is outsourcing itself – by design, default and complicity.

In the state of Chhatisgarh, the government has armed a large tribal population to fight Naxalite extremists. The Supreme Court of India has slammed this.

That’s outsourcing of government by design.

In the states of Bihar and UP, there are local gangsters who collect tax, settle disputes and administer justice. In many cases, local people are happy about such Robin Hoods, who also dabble in politics of the legal kind. The state is helpless. That’s outsourcing by default.

In Karnataka, you have recently seen a group of a few dozen hooligans, calling themselves the army of Lord Ram, codifying and enforcing laws as they please. Girls and boys, if seen romancing, will be married by force instantly, according to the latest dictum by the group. (See an interview with the group’s leader Pramod Muthalik here). The government of Karnataka is a happy spectator to all this. A senior police officer in charge of the area even defended the locus standi of the group to intervene in matters suspected to be of religious conversion. That’s outsourcing by complicity.

What do you expect our governments to do?

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