The Dangers of Democracy without any Responsibility

” . . .and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln

The quote sounds interesting and amazing. It was hard to think of such kind of govt., a century ago. Democracy is now more or less experimented and tested (and enjoyed by some people) by many countries; a success in some countries, and a failure in few countries.

If one looks back and analyzes the success and failure of democracy, he/she can trace back to the (lack) of participation of the basic unit of democracy – the common man. We have to remember that, democracy can’t survive without active participation of the common man. Then, the question arises, what does the active participation means? By, casting votes?, by contesting elections? or/and some thing else?

Yes, we do need to cast our votes and participate in the election process, express our concern, support for a cause, oppose the wrong deeds/mistakes/lapses; but the most important thing is owning responsibility for all of these, which we are part of. We have to take the responsibility of both success and failure; for the survival of democracy.

For an example, even though at the time of independence, both India and Pakistan had tried to build a democratic setup/govt., democracy could not achieve in Pakistan, whereas a (pseudo-)democracy has prevailed in India for the last 60 years. In Pakistan, no one took the responsibility of failure, (failure of the army, failure of the judiciary, failure due to terrorism), resulting in frequent changes in constitution, suspension of elected governments and imposition of martial laws.

Contrary to Pakistan, in India at least some people took the responsibility of failures (even though no one openly accepts), and made democracy a success over the years.

True, it is a success in a broad sense, but…, neither as per Lincoln’s definition, nor as per the need of the country.

We do have democratically elected government, but do we select the leaders democratically ? NO; they are either imposed on us in a dynastic manner, or made by terrorizing people or through corrupt means or through pre/post-poll compromises.

Hardly 15-20% leaders are elected democratically, seasoned at the grass-root level. Then, should we continue with the 15-20% actual democratic leaders or need more? It is our responsibility and our job to decide. Else, who knows, the mere 15-20% will be marginalized and can be diminished.

In another sense, “by the people” will become a reality, if and only if, each and every person participates in government building. People should realize that nothing comes free, if you want to enjoy the fruits of democracy then responsibility is required. We have to participate or else the nation will pass into wrong hands.

Success and failure are the integral part of any system, any form of government, be it democracy or communist. Like success, failure too has an important aspect in nation building. The mistakes of the past, which resulted in failure need to be taken up with a pinch of salt. Will have to accept the mistakes at the appropriate level, pointing fingers at others will not help !

That is just a self satisfying and egocentric technique. In reality, that needs to be stopped at any cost. Else, minority – majority, rich-poor, privileged-unprivileged complexities will emerge.

Like supporting for good cause, opposing for the wrong deeds are quite necessary in democracy. It is our responsibility to oppose against the mistakes, the failures, the lapses, the partial approach and the divisional politics. But how? Through strikes? through violent means? through terrorizing people?

That is the big question and is quite relevant in the current political-economical scenario. One has to remember, that strike, or protests should be used for the benefit of the mankind, not for its destruction, not for a political mileage and selfish goal.

To many people, protesters have a bad image: the rabble in the streets. Although the majority of protest activity in democracies is nonviolent in reality and intent, an aura of actual or potential violence commonly accompanies media presentations and popular perceptions of protest; be it students’ strike in late 60’s or 90’s, or farmers’ opposition in 2008 or the regional violences of 2007-08. These images are part of an overall view which balances the “‘right to protest” against a need for “law-and-order”. It is our responsibility to distinguish between the right to protest and playing with law-and-order, meant to oppose ill treatments and the destructing forces, for the benefit of all.

Public speaking is an integral part of democracy. Many grass-root level leaders have emerged from rallies, from public speeches. But, speaking in public should be self-censored; a few sensitive words of a speech can create havoc in the society. Speeches need be made with a sense. The speaker has to take the responsibility of the consequences, else an irresponsible talk/speech can get things magnified and creates turbulence resulting in law-and-order problem.

Leaders leading a nation have to be responsible. The minority-majority or caste/religion based politics requires a full stop for the benefit of all. We have to realize this and should act/react responsibly. Some times the reaction requires some understanding, and a hasty decision needs be stopped in a responsible manner.

Aamjunta… are you responsible enough?


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