What Does Democracy Mean To You?

Posted on September 28, 2012 in Politics

By Prashant Chauhan:

Democracy: – The term derived from the DÄ“mokratía, a Greek word that means “rule of the people“. It was coined in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens. Democracy is a political form of government in which governing power is derived from the people, by consensus (consensus democracy), by direct referendum (direct democracy), or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy).

Isn’t it the time that we all should stop boasting about our so called “largest democracy of the world” status? I think the whole idea of democracy coming into effect is lost or forgotten in the realms of reality that prevails today. It’s not about giving power to the citizens of the country to choose representatives whom they want, think or admire to lead the democratic front. First of all it’s indirect; we can choose the person who will keep the things rolling at our local level, however we can’t choose the person who is in larger frame, “The Prime Minister”, as he is the ultimate authority who takes care of country’s smooth sailing at political, economic and, social ventures. We can’t choose the people who will become “Cabinet Ministers” or in my words “The Specialist Ministers” who will take care of country’s large chunk of sectors and be largely involved in major “decision-making” processes. Their decisions and handling of official matters is what affects each and every individual residing in the country.

So now let me take an example; a Manager in a corporate or professional company has degrees, experience, problem solving and people management skills, etc. so he manages the workflow and employees effectively and also has his appraisals and promotions directly related to it. But is this practice followed in our “Indian polity”. Ministers who don’t even have a slightest of knowledge of the work stream are made in-charge/managers of the portfolios. So how can they take fruitful decisions and implement improvement policies?

Our Ministers are “jack of all trades” in respect to tongue twisting on issues, such as terrorism, price rise, corruption, internal security, international relations, social reforms, etc. but not “master” of even their own, respective department. Few facts that put ministers in some kind of advantage or special immunity are:-

– There is an eligibility criterion to become an I.A.S. /I.P.S. officer, but there aren’t any to become a minister.

– In private firms, good work done and organizational behaviour is considered for promotions and appraisals, however in government your closeness to party leadership or strongmen is given preference.

– Experts give their recommendations and suggestions on matters they are into for a long period of time, so how come an agricultural minister with “NO Knowledge” of even fertilizers, manures and advanced farming techniques, starts giving his expert opinions on “How the highways in the country should be like”.