Making A Mockery Of Democracy

Posted on June 13, 2011 in Politics

By Gitanjali Maria:

For all those who accused the UPA —II government of being a weak and soft government, the midnight drama at Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Baba Ramdev’s protest, has been a fitting answer, may be given in a bit of overdose. I believe it was a fitting reply to all those who thought that they could bring the government to its knees by abandoning food and sitting at any public grounds with large gatherings and a ‘pandal’, air conditioning system and mikes that itself costs lakhs.

Though corruption and black money is a grave problem facing India today, black mailing the government in this fashion everyday is not the way we can sort out things. Hardly a month after Anna Hazare led his supporters on a fast to get the government to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill with the amendments they demanded, yoga guru Baba Ramdev started out on a similar stunt to bring back Indian currency stashed away in foreign accounts illegally.

Though the government did its best to request Baba to stop his mission by sending a team of ministers (more than the number that even go to welcome a foreign dignitary) to appease and request him to give up his plans, he was unwilling. After a couple of correspondence and cross correspondence and consensus and amicable action not reached, the police force finally arrived and evacuated the demonstrators. And if Baba Ramdev was fighting to get justice, why did he then try to escape disguised? Leaders of freedom struggle never tried to evade jail during their satyagrahas. Why did he create confusion by jumping in the crowd?

The stand of the government that there could be law and order problem has its merit as we all clearly know what happened when saffronites converged in Ayodhya two decades ago. Though chances of such an instance repeating are less, the government certainly did not want to take any risks. Secondly, having just bent its knees to Anna Hazare’s demands of participation of civil society representatives in the Jan Lokpal Bill amendment, it did not want itself to see in position having to accept every person’s whims and fancies. The question can be rightly raised as to what is the guarantee that the representatives of the civil society will not one day fall prey to the glitter of currency notes? And as the Prime Minister rightly said there are no magic wands and that all the problems will be solved but will take time.

India is a democracy and there are a lot of freedoms that it guarantees its citizens. But we often fight for those freedoms but never bother the duties that we have towards our nation. Democracy gives you the chance to choose your representatives through the ballot not to take governance into your hands and demand for the policies and schemes that please you or favour you or mobilize masses for media-attention. As knowledgeable citizens of the country, we are to monitor the performance of the government and can speak out our opinion but not try to black mail and threaten it. We can, and should raise our voices against injustice, but it should be done with right intentions only. A black sheep can always be spotted in a crowd of white sheep how much ever it may be hidden.

A proper understanding of our rights and duties is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of a democracy. Unwanted and untimely protests and show of strength is not the greatness of a democracy but a strong vigilance by the citizens and good understanding of the working of a prudent democracy will help both the government and civil society to get along well and perform better.