These are catchy titles and are not my thoughts but phrases used by the Indian media. But what follows in this article is a view from my own lenses of what’s happening in the country. India is the largest democracy in the world and is in the middle of assembly elections I.e., we are in a process to electing our king. Pardon what did I just say ‘king’? But what I was told and also studied in school is quite different. Don’t democracy means a governance by the people, of the people and for the people? then where did the word king come from? Every morning when I read the newspapers, TV media and everybody are talking about who will sit on the throne of India and hence I get this notion that we are electing our king. If we are electing a king then are we are true democracy? Let’s go little deeper to understand the question and evaluate the definition of democracy.
By the people
Well that is the very reason we have this election right? that we will be casting our votes to choose our representative and not king. But who are we? Are we people like me who is writing this article, thinking, understanding, evaluating and then choosing who should be my representative in the assembly? No I don’t think so, we are a country where 1.25 billion people live and majority of us are either poor and illiterate or one of the two at least. How can you expect people like us to think, evaluate, understand and choose correctly our representative? Not possible. Then who chooses the kings our so called representatives? Of course they themselves. If you observe closely we who are voting for the country have not eaten for days, we have no clue what is written on the ballot box, we are just told which symbol to press the button on and we do it and what we get for that every five years is 100 or 200 rupees and probably a bottle of local wine.
Democracy cannot work where there is so much of illiteracy and struggle for daily life’s necessities. It is a mature state of governance where people know what they are doing, whom they are electing to represent them. India is still far from being a matured country in the new world in terms of democracy and polities. To be a successful democracy we as a nation need to focus on educating ourselves. No one is going to do it for us but ourselves. No one can help you but yourself. Till the time this happens we will keep on electing kings and not representatives. We will keep electing kings who are going to dictate their terms and we will have no other way but to follow their system.
Of the people
Now to the second part of the definition, who are the representatives? Again the answer is us. If today we evaluate we will find a large section of the political representatives have some or the other criminal backgrounds and they are not small charges but charges of corruption, rape and even murder. We the representatives are coming from illiterate backgrounds struggling for day to day survival and are one fine day given 10 million rupees and asked to govern and do what we want to do. Of course we are bound to get corrupt, we are going to take unlawful measures to make sure this power of money and authority is not lost and we will try to make sure that our future including our immediate family ais secure. If you expect us to think about the society then you must be joking.
The problem in Indian democracy and politics in not superficial but deep down embedded in the social DNA. Changing this situation will not be easy. It will require us the literates, people who have some kind to economic stability to think and work for the society at both macro and micro level. A learned person will always think about the society as a whole and an illiterate will be selfish as that is what knowledge teaches you and being literate is the tool to get this knowledge.
For the People
This is another classic joke or tamasha. We the people are the last priory of the king at the helm. It has been more than 60 years of democratic regime in the country and still if you drive down 100 kilometers from our national capital New Delhi you will find no electricity, roads, schools etc etc etc. We are still struggling to fulfill our basic necessities in life like good healthy food, clean drinking water, and clean hygienic clothing’s. Even after 60 years the political manifesto of each and every political party talks about improving these areas. It is like the first few pages are fixed only the annexure bit changes. It the focus would have been for the people I am sure the situation would have been much better.
Every morning the newspaper only cover news of political cat fight. Everybody party and politician is trying to make sure that the other party or its representative is pulled down. This is not healthy polities, this is negative polities and nothing good will come out of it. We as a nation have to grow up and this only happens when the basics are in order otherwise cats and dogs will keep fighting election after election.
So again coming back to my basic question are we a democracy? The answer is yes but we need to evolve. Is everything lost? No, defiantly not. We are a great nation and it is not that we know of democracy only for the last 60 odd years. India has been a principally democratic country for ages. It is the land of sages (the wise men), political teachers like Chanakya who showed us the way to govern with people prospective long before the existence of some of the so called super powers of the modern world. Your roots and history paves way for your future. Sure with time things get diluted but then again new things are developed from the very same seed. Look at word religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism all have evolved from the Vedic religion, which we call in the modern world Hinduism. But has Hinduism died?, no it is ever evolving. In this similar fashion democracy in India is ever evolving.
It is time for those wise men to rise again and show the world how democracy is achieved. A true democracy is where people are literate, knowledgeable and can express their power of choice. A true democracy where we are not forced to choose the bad from the worst but the best from the good. India was once called the golden bird and we still are, it is just that we need to reinvent and in some ways rediscover ourselves. This change has to happen from our society itself as no one will come and do this for us. It is the wise men of the country and the youth of the country who have to work hand in hand.
Call it the dance of democracy or the great Indian tamasha, it is important and it is the most important step towards making this country a true democracy. So come and vote, choose your representatives wisely. If you don’t have the understanding ask the wise men around you. Don’t vote blindly, if you can’t read ask the wise men about the people who have filed nomination to be your representative, their work, their background and then vote. Don’t vote for a party but vote for representatives as then the party with the most likeminded people and with a vision will win. Above all if you think you don’t want to vote as there are no good candidates, don’t just sit in your home, go to the polling booth and click the ‘no vote’ button to show your opinion and anger and also make sure that no one else can misusage your power.