Monday, October 12, 2015


Why reinventing democracy a dire need of our age?

Though India gained freedom from the British some 60 plus years ago, and people have a government of their own since then, the common man of this country gets the same treatment from their various government offices that they used to get under the old rule. They get despised, ignored and made to feel like outsiders at government offices.  
The spirit of the ruler and the ruled, and the values around the old POWER-STATE model still remain the same for all practical meaning ! The power and authority of a  Police-man, or a revenue-officer, or taxation and municipal officers are still the same as it was in ancient times! Our rules and laws are used more often to trap the citizen than to liberate him, the latter was thought and held as the very intended purpose of having a governmental system of EQUAL-MEN ! For the common man, the relation between the state and the people is more or less felt like that between a predator and its prey ! 

Though the American Democracy experiment was said to be exceptionally different in her initial 150 or so years,today, conditions of democracy is more or less same there too, if close angle-experiences of ordinary citizens are to be believed.Prof Noam Chomsky once explained his experience;He wrote a book on the wrong foreign-policy of American govt. He found his publisher himself vanishing from business soon-after ! A safe and silent way of killing dissent and opposition !

  Democracy has turned altogether a specialized and different institution for OCCUPYING the old,coveted seats of Kings  by members of ordinary-public,but who have become a class-apart from people for the very business of RULING nations and controlling its immense power and wealth !

If not for power and wealth, it is for establishing a particular kind of society with an upper-hand for a particular religion or cultural-ideology, as India witness these days under her current govt.( 2015-16, predominantly a Hindu-life system seeking regime, under prime-minister Narendra Modi) Democracy has become a passive tool for such peoples' groups, to use high-tech electioneering techniques to woo people, and gain a majority to form POWER-STATES. Brute power of majority could then be used to establish their kind of govt, and then seek to spread their kind of ideology by the force of straight propaganda, or by the force of law, or by the help of an obliging police force,or by the brute-strength of large enthusiastic-masses who are too wiling to share power of the state, by acting as their foot-soldiers in suppressing dissent and opposition !   

The current American experience

It will be an injustice to this deliberation if we do not bring-in the recent American experience with Democracy; President Trump got elected following all the existing rules and tradition of Democracy, the people's own, coveted political system.But now, a good number of the countrymen find it unbelievable, how the country elected him! They now feel that the new man will be an embarrassment to them in long run, with his policies, temperament, and way of work vis-a-vis the nations proclaimed tenets of human liberty and general humane-values. 
They forget, that the guy has got elected per norms of the system of Democracy.How can they ignore that? What they, being the oldest democracy in the world, must seek to do is to recheck the system's basics,norms,rules and value-system, tradition etc, and do everything possible to PREVENT loopholes,norms,values and traditions that could lead to such men, even more dangerous than him, comimg to POWER quite legally!


It will not be untrue at all if we say that, modern-day democracy with its existing myths and norms around its excessively politicized avatar is a GREAT social evil, or a social malady, at par with similar social evils of the past, like witch-hunt and slave-trade in Europe, and Sati, ( practice of wife jumping into the funeral pyre of the husband as a custom) caste-system and child-marriage in India, needed to be abolished and banned !

In a recent article, ( March 25, 2015) an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Mr. Abhinav Kumar wrote an article ( 'Sad day for the pompous' ) in the leading Indian Newspaper' Indian Express', wherein he was straight and blunt about the ground reality of modern democracy: 

" In today's India, once elected, politicians prefer to behave neither like representatives not like delegates of the people. They prefer to see them-selves as RULERS and MASTERS, and must be treated as such especially by pliant, supine law-enforcement agencies" 

He continues:

" to hope ( by citizen ) to be the state's master is to hope in vein when citizens are a long way from  being treated even as clients or consumers worthy of dignity and respect. The prevailing balance of power between the state and citizen is unacceptable, and not commensurate with our self-image as an important democracy" 

What had been intended to protect the weak from the strong has turned out to be an institutionalized scheme of things to strengthen the hands of the strong, and to shut-off the avenues of the weak to rise up and protest the violations of his rights. Now the institutionalized scheme of things could brand the protests as sedition, and jail the weak.  


Certain examples emerging from certain pockets of democracy should baffle future generations as to how our generation had celebrated it as Peoples' form of Govt: Coomi Kapoor, a senor-journalist with the leading Indian news-paper Indian Express narrated a story from the southern State of Tamil-Nadu:( Sunday,21st Feb,2016,Delhi issue) " Jayalalithaa's ( Chief-Minister of the State) method of selecting candidates (for elections in the state, under her Party's ticket) is truly imperious.All the hopefuls from a particular area are herded into one room, and prostrate themselves when she enters". In many states as well at center,successor to the present Ruler is chosen by the previous head of the state,most of the time from his/her family, or from the small coterie.
               
Democracy is said to be mankind’s  last of governmental systems. No other superior system is waiting in the future. So, we have to either improve it, or get annihilated with it! Without doubt, peoples' lives are not anything greater than that in the older versions of a government, but much worse, as we have seen above. Hence, this enlightened age has to probe into the causes that have made democracy a tragedy. 
We observed a few of the possible causes, and are happy to share it with the world.

We attempt here to point-out why this generation must try to REINVENT it, to do justice to our celebrated sense of intelligence and Reason: 
1)   Democracy was exclusively meant to end the subjugation of man under any ruler, and to give him his DIGNITY OF SELF that he had never tasted in history before. But the old institution of government which was built around the myths of fear, power and authority was taken over by democracy as it was, with out modifying its foundational spirits. A peoples' own government never needed a government that is centered on myths of fear, power, and authority over its people.
Instead, what it needed was a government constituted around a spirit of REASONWISDOM and COMMON SENSE. The fuel of governance in democracy should not have been POWER AND AUTHORITY, but peoples collective Reason and wisdom! ( see our dedicated work, as to what a true democracy should have been, see link: http://anewtheoryondemocraticestablishment.blogspot.in/)
2)   Under a government built around the same old myths of political power over its people, a citizen will get his constitutionally guaranteed 'RIGHTS and JUSTICE only at the ‘MERCY’ of government officials, who wield power. Or else, he will have to pay a price and buy it from them. As you know, it is rampantly happening in the country. ‘Corruption’ is the name of this business of selling peoples RIGHTS for a price! It needs no introduction. A power centered government was never intended under democracy.' 'Power' and 'rights' can never go together.
3)   Alexis D. Tocqueville, the famous French Jurist who had visited America to observe its initial periods of democracy reported that when government officials in the US behave as SYMBOL OF PEOPLES RIGHT’, in other countries they act as a 'SYMBOL OF GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY’. Though our government officials are designated as 'government servants'; they act like the masters of people in the society, in all respects. 
4)   The greatest deprivation in this democratic country is not that of food, shelter and cloth, but that of dignified self identity. Indians are one of the most despised and scorned people in the world from the institution of government. Deprivation always leads to craving, and then hoarding. Hence, every one in the country is in a mad rush to amass wealth, or hoard power, because a citizen fears his deprivation every moment. People fight each other, and con each other, to prevent the other from gaining an upper hand in the matter of self relevance.  
5)     It is like men trapped in a great flood. Money and power are the only rare dry mounts where one could cling on and escape the calamity of non freedom, and the ignominy of being a common man! Hence we find this mad neurosis in our country for acquiring these two life boats! They are not ends in itself, but only a means towards feeling free. It is a protective shield against subjugation by government agencies and fellow men.
6)   When a citizen is respected and valued in his country, he will naturally learn to respect and value his fellow citizen, instead of fearing and despising him. People treat each other the way the state treats them. It is the simple logic behind people turning fearful of the other, and one treats the other as a potential enemy.
7)   In the process of providing EQUALITY for all, it was the dignified self identity that was wrongfully taken away from every one! One has no relevance in the country as a common citizen. As I am a no one, I refuse to accept my fellow being as 'some one'. Thus, every one treats every one else as 'no ones' -a social calamity in the largest democracy in the world. (You are invited to visit our blog post on EQUALITY at link:http://whatequalityshouldmeanindemocracy.blogspot.com/)
8)   Our fundamental right of ‘freedom of speech and expression’ has no meaning and effect till it is supported by a ‘citizen's right to be heard’. Thousands and thousands of unseen, unread, unacknowledged and unanswered applications, submissions, and complaints from citizens are piled up in our government offices every day! It is the primary cause of citizens getting compelled to adopt the ultimate coercive methods such as strikes, 'hartals', mass protests, processions, and ultimately violent means like destroying public property, movements like 'Naxalism' and 'Maoism'!
             This law for 'a citizens' right to be heard' was more fundamental than RTI, (Right for information Act) because when such a law exists, the need for the latter would only have randomly arisen.
9)  Every nation is mad about its 'sovereignty' status, but it forgets that its right to be 'Sovereign' originates from the sovereignty of its individual citizens. Democracy, a system exclusively dedicated for ensuring freedom, liberty and individual dignity of its citizens should not have moved an inch from this principle. But, after getting control over the government machinery, every democratic politician ignores this central goal of the great ideal.
10) Politics has become the art and science of capturing governmental power through few established symbols of democracy or periodic elections, wooing public for votes, and using all kinds of propaganda techniques to pin down opponents. Instead of the old time players of the same game like Kings and Royals, the game is played now by our own species of ‘PEOPLE’, hence we reverently call it 'DEMOCRACY'! The game sometimes gets bloodier than that witnessed in the older systems. How can peoples' own governmental system degenerate itself into a mere war for capturing thrones?
             As a system of governance, democracy is not different in any way from the old regimes, except in the fact that the evil practice of authoritarian governance is now enacted within peoples' own class and status. 
11) Elections, the most exemplified symbol of democracy, many times works like a 'lottery'. Peoples' choices are limited, like between death by hanging, or on the electrocution chair! 
They are helpless but to make a choice between available alternatives. This is their only name sake participation that the system has awarded them.
             Political parties spend millions on propaganda, and mind manipulation techniques to win the elections. Fighting the elections has become one of the most complex entrepreneurial tasks that politicians have to learn in the 'state craft', under democracy. The recent trend is that, elections are won on sheer power of rhetoric.Why rhetoric when nations have a sensible document called constitution,and good governance is nothing but its sincere implementation in letter and spirit ?
            It has all the features of a typical capitalistic enterprise in the business world. The spirit of democracy is more about the professional politicians' dream about entering into the business, and more relevantly, the DREAM of RULING A COUNTRY, with all its mythical attractions and gains! (Do visit our blog for further insights;
http://influxofcapitalisticvalues.blogspot.com/)
            People are mere symbols on the flags of political parties, for the purpose of false swearing! What we do with democracy today is the most glaring self deception of our age! We carry on the symbol  not for its originally intended goals, but to use it as a tool for  achieving hidden agendas, and goals of professional members of peoples own class, who have tasted its smart potential to become masters in a society. 
12) The singular factor that carries the great ideal of democracy into the realm of 'absurdity' is the political party system. The fight among political parties for power deprives democracy of all its intended good.
              The only goal, and sacred motive of the opposition party from day one is to find fault with the ruling party and to somehow bring it down. The very subject matter of democracy has degenerated into this absurd game! Instead of relying on plain Reason to guide the governments in policy matters, often populism crops in to guide them in
 
decision making. (Kindly view our blog on a suggested alternative model of democracy without a political party system at link:http://democracywithoutpoliticalparties.blogspot.com/)
13) One of the singular purposes behind installation of civic society in the world was to protect the weak from the strong. But the present model of capitalistic-democracy, according to multiple studies recently conducted by agencies like Oxfam, Zurich University and others, every year the percentage of wealth is increasingly landing in the hands of fewer and fewer number of rich men, families or corporate entities. This is simply equal to making the strong more strong in the world, thus defeating the very purpose of civil society initiatives in the history of mankind. When the very establishment is run by the above combine of the industry and politics, it always remain a realm of the strong in society, making the rights and life of the weak and the under-privileged always at the mercy of the strong !  How the central role played by the industry and corporate entities damage Democracy and its base principles is narrated by The Guardian Journalist,George Monbiot, in one of his articles:

"The political power that should belong to us has flitted into confidential meetings with the lobbyists and donors who establish the limits of debate and action. It has slipped into the dictats of the IMF and the European Central Bank, which respond not to the people but to the financial sector. It has been transported, under armed guard, into the icy fastness of Davos, where Mr Friedman finds himself so warmly welcomed (even when he’s talking cobblers).
Above all, the power that should belong to the people is being crushed by international treaty. Contracts such as NAFTA, CETA, the proposed TransPacific Partnership and Trade in Services Agreement and the failed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are crafted behind closed doors in discussions dominated by corporate lobbyists. They are able to slip in clauses that no informed electorate would ever approve, such as the establishment of opaque offshore tribunals, through which corporations can bypass national courts, challenge national laws and demand compensation for the results of democratic decisions.
These treaties limit the scope of politics, prevent states from changing social outcomes and drive down labour rights, consumer protection, financial regulation and the quality of neighbourhoods. They make a mockery of sovereignty. Anyone who forgets that striking them down was one of Donald Trump’s main promises will fail to understand why people were prepared to risk so much in electing him."( Link:http://groundreportindia.org/monthly/columns/2016/12/the-golden-arches-theory-of-decline-by-george-monbiot/)
 114) The old concept of STATE was fit only for the regimes of RULERS, for whom the country and people were their personal property. They were not on the THRONE by virtue of the free will and consent of people, but it was inherited, or forcibly acquired from  its previous OWNERS by force. Such old concept of primeval STATE was never put to REVIEW or SCRUTINY during its TRANSITION to democracy, the people’s form of govt. Instead, democracy made to sit peoples representatives on the same seats of POWER that once the OWNERS of the country used to sit and RULE, a gigantic mistake ! The very concept of old STATE that till date Kings and totalitarians used to sit, and OWN the people SHOULD HAVE thoroughly reviewed, checked and thoroughly amended to suit a govt. of EQUAL-MEN, where the RULER and the RULED were of the same class, same right, same privilege, same right for dignity and equality with that of the ones on the RULERS seat. Earlier both classes were from TWO different ESTATES, the RULING CLASS and the RILED class. But under democracy, that primeval class distinction was no more valid and relevant. Both class had become one in democracy, thus needing thorough revision of OLD VALUES around the STATE, the ruler and ruled paradigm, the previous VALUES around the THRONE and those who UNDER them etc,etc.
But this VITAL exercise never took place in history !  The peoples’ representatives were allowed to occupy the same seats of past RULERS, with all the VALUES and NORMS, and also with the same one and only FUEL of governance-POWER- to rule over men equal in every respect to that of the ruler, a severe incompatibility in principle, and a severe non-logic in every respect. This serious lapses and errors of the past has played havoc with modern democracy, as when it represented man’s freedom, liberty, sense of Reason  and individual dignity in principle, it delivered  the same old DESPISE, NEGLECT and SUBJUGATION of the citizen that the old regimes had delivered to them ! Thus, democracy has turned the severe most intellectual and moral SELF-DECEPTION of modern age ! 

The sad supportive role of Media in the game  
               Media has opted to take up this fight-game to entertain people, in a role similar to the 'bout managers' in a professional wrestling competition. They are romanticizing it as an integral aspect of democracy! Hence, people have no options but to join the entertainment, and enjoy the game. Nobody exists in the field to shout that the game is absurd, and 'the King is naked'. In this sense, mankind is totally 'orphaned' in the absence of any other agency to show them better alternatives in leading dignified lives.
 Though fathers of our constitution had kept adequate remedies in the constitution to prevent such calamities from happening, by keeping a FRATERNITY clause (that which deals with providing individual dignity to citizens in the act of governance) as a directive principle of constitution; it has unfortunately not received its deserved relevance, or central importance in any aspect of country governance. It is not the top agenda of our media nor is it a hot issue in the judiciary. Hence the ones occupying the seats of power can have their own ways to play around with peoples' destiny. A citizen's cry for justice would take years to reach the destined abode of justice.
Conclusion 
Hence, the freedom of the oppressor is complete in our democracy. Unlike in plain autocracy, the oppressor is invisible in democracy. Hence, the helplessness of people is also complete for he does not know at whose feet he has to fall for mercy, or whom to annihilate as the enemy of his freedom!
We consider that, if democratic governments adopt zero tolerance towards violation of an individual's dignity, rampant playing around with his freedom and rights would come to an end.  If adequately cared for, this clause in itself will suffice to treat most of the above witnessed evils in our democratic process. This can be easily done by introducing imaginative bills and ordinances in parliament so that the Fraternity clause becomes an item of top priority, and a valuable instrument to strengthen our democracy.
We should also consider that only our media can play the crucial role in getting our democracy reinvented with the required amendments of its foundational principles. Only they can put a stop to the ongoing deception with the great ideal, by ending their blind alliance in the game. To enable them to take up this task, they also may have to revisit their professional priorities and vows of commitment towards people, and mankind in general, deviating from their predominant priority of seeking out NEWS VALUE from every event. 

We could always attempt for a new kind of Democracy without political-party system: please see how it could be achieved, at link:http://democracywithoutpoliticalparties.blogspot.in/2010/11/model-of-democracy-without-political.html. When we the People apply our mind, dozens of such alternative systems could be invented. 
It talks about the necessity of having democracy, especially its VALUES taught in schools and colleges so that every citizen turns a democrat, capable of participating in country governance.

By: Abraham Joseph Palakudy; He is a seeker and researcher in subjects like mind,Reason, Spirituality, Philosophy and polity, that includes Fraternity and reinventing democracy. 


Contact: ajoseph1@rediffmail.com
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1 

Profile and other blogs:https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293