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Democratic Set-Up and Democracy
|by Pramod Khilery|
If it is democracy it has to be only sane; prone to headache, fault lines and fits but capable of raising the bar and achieving the highest standards possible, being in sound health and rearing greatest disquisition provided measures to this effect are in place. A democratic system never guarantees an absolute Right; for that to happen we will have to revert back to righteous monarchy but makes sure that every crepuscular Wrongs is set right to the maximum push-able degree. Hence a democratic setup aims to have an ideal happy society at its core even at the expanse of a very successful one in riches.
When looked at from this view democracy paves the way for the concepts of equity and equality. This equality further can have myriad aspects to be explored but the rudimentary seeds when watered with the civil justness give rise to the tree of highest possible esteem having branches touching every section of the society.
The trunk of this tree is rooted in the capital of the nation and hence the soil of the capital will have crucial bearings on the health of the tree. More healthy and green will it be better the all encompassing shadow. This esteem is nothing but a link between the democracy and those who are being democratized by an official decree that in all senses is also a granting of consent on the part of its subjects. But still even as pious and righteous a system as democracy may be, like any other system of governance democracy too does cleave society into two parts.
The sanctity of the democracy can be gauged by which one comes first and which second. If people think they come first not their representatives then it is assertive democracy which is good but not great. A large measure of this democracy is contingent upon the intellectual level of people which broadly and quite curiously is nothing but a reflection of their representatives. Thereby much more than this assertiveness which works as a healthy dose for any democracy to grow it is the nature of assertion that determines the direction the democracy will venture into. If representatives position themselves after people it is nothing short of a utopia though along with its own share of fault lines. At the most any society can hope for bouts of these utopian moments for it is not easy to fill the lacunas and chinks in an democracy owing to its being so open and at the same time hostage to the world economic and social order. In third case if people are too acquiescent and toady and representatives too royal and dominant than democracy appears making way for another system which wears the same clothes but gives account of a different disposition. This is psephocracy.
Now imagine we have a body with only spine and no limbs. Democracy too looks same when elections and alliances come to become the be all and end all of a democratic set-up. To get finer perspective we can also equate this state of democracy with the mental setup of a student aiming to crack an entrance examination on account of whatever he could cram in a fortnight before the exam. His buoying through the exam is bound to be proved disastrous in the long run for both candidate himself and the environment he will inhabit. Invariably conflicts will arise thanks to lack of loyalty and dedication to the environment. These very innocuous looking conflicts take on dire consequences when the desire to have a sense of purpose slips in one's life. This conflict when engendered in political arena which even empirically is all about social service exerts undue influence on entire nation and more importantly on the very definition of service. Every so Often we see the manifestations of these conflicts when we bear witness to a politician utterly naked in his avariciousness. It is not the welfare of the society which forms the crux of a polity outwardly steeped in democracy but the greed that drives his actions and deeds. Corruption which like a waterfall falls forms top to bottom not other way round is nothing but just one offshoot of this conflict. When the conflicting position of a candidate whose cramming planted him at the wrong place in the system leads to uncharitable ways then the challenges another candidate who sought to cheat his way into the superficial but personally favorable result poses to the idea of democracy can easily be imagined.
This meeting is a perfect epitome of how some political leaders do their calculations and does Rajnath Singh's idea of democracy revolve around only filing nominations and winning elections? Didn't his political experience make him think that winning an election from a constituency is also about taking care of it? Will Vajpayee, one of the only few statesmen among our living politicians, be able to serve his constituency deeming the health problems he is running into. The act of reducing a leader like Vajpayee into one more number in the total tally speaks not only poorly of his own party but also of the democracy which seems to have been incarcerated inside the walls of elections. Unfortunately this is just one case of many that exemplifies the ills that psephocracy brings.
If we contrast this verily quote with what Aristotle had to say we will find how far the intents and ideals of democracy have moved from their original interpretations. When Aristotle said,
did he have in mind the virtuosity of rulers or the power of awareness of people? Don't we miss both? In most of the democratic set-ups today technically at least owing to either gerrymandering or number of candidates or parties the triumph may come even with less than one third of the total ballots cast.
Here I am not talking about the religious intolerance, terrorism or self styled gurus and mullahs of ethics and moral values which we all know not only stand on the other side of democracy but even leer at it. But in contrast, think, if a software engineer of the new emerging India can kill his four year old daughter allegedly for as absurd a reason as her coming in the way of his spending quality time with his wife or a CEO of a TV channel beheads his wife or a political leader chops his wife into pieces etc then what sort of societal values are we venturing into?
If people belonging to educated or even elite class can indulge in such medieval and barbarian acts with what hope we expect people living in the recesses of poverty, gloom and darkness of illiteracy to give account of moralistic values. Isn't it incumbent upon all of us that we call into question our own comportments and those who helm our democratic set-up? Some might want to dismiss these incidents as stray and aberrations but when acutely observed over a period of time only the thinly reported incidents even from the metros are enough to sicken us let alone digging deeper into the dark lanes of hinterland where often law faces the scimitar on the altar of ignorance or insularity. Not only our politicians but we all stand guilty of reducing a system passed onto us by our forefathers to a mere formality. If we and especially those whose job entails this don't squirm at the sight of a bare feet emaciated boy walking in the excruciating heat or shivering cold or a women splashing contaminated water off her body in the public or a child in an English medium public school using cuss words and expletives at the age of eight then it is not the slow pace of lumbering democracy but the fast pace of the vehicles of governors of democracy and a lack of community-hood that stands reprehensible.
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