ByÂ Bhaskar H. Narula:
Today we live in a world traded under varying forms of government. Some countrymen enjoy their right to vote and elect their representatives to head their state while on the other hand we have people who aren’t blessed with the liberty of speaking up their mind for the election of a right candidate. Monarchy is one such form of government.
In a recent incident in Morocco, citizens and journalist were brutally penalized by being physically assaulted when they exercised their right to protest against the government set budget. Reports exclaim aloud that poverty is increasing in the country. Spending on the royal monarch has been raised up to 700,000 Euros a day, which is certainly a questionable amount for a country living in poverty. Their situation poverty should be countered by an increase in the jobs and liquidating the market which is hardly the case. Such is a usual plight of monarchical form of governments wherein citizens hardly enjoy the right to express and protest against economic and political issues. All they are expected to do is fill their increasing tax returns which can adorn their king’s royal palace.
Competence is another factor which yields negative results in monarchical government. A king should be wise; however a hereditary form of governance problematizes the factor of being wise. A wise father cannot ascertain a wise son. History speaks volumes about such sons. Louis XVI of France appears to be a particularly egregious instance of incompetence on the throne. His administration so enraged the public that his reign resulted in the French Revolution.
Looting in the name of public taxes to provide for a royal life is unacceptable but it goes without notice. Saudi Arabia is one such form of corrupt monarchy. Back in 2001, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan has been accused of accepting bribes for clearing an arms deal. Later in 2007, US and UK investigated and charged Prince Bandar with heavy penalties. Further in 2009, around 130 citizens of Saudi lost their lives due to flooding by Jeddah rains. Reports conveyed that people were allotted lands which were not allowed to be used for residential purpose. In the following years, top officials have been accused and counter charged but it borne no results. The hierarchy supporting such scams is so long that no police investigation could prove the allegations.
Monarchies tend to impact the cultural leverage of a country. In a country like Saudi Arabia, one can find dreaded conditions for women. Saudi women dress in a black burqa as per the culture of the nation but it’s a state permitted (read: enforced) act that any part of the body which is left uncovered would be butchered off without any trial. Women in Arab countries have always faced such drudgery. Furthermore, right to free movement in the country has also been curbed for women as they cannot move around without informing their male counterparts. When right to express discontent has been thoroughly curbed, there is none who can march down the lanes of royal monarch and protest.
To present the other side of the coin, monarchy has its own plus points. It has been effective in procuring stability on cultural fronts. With a royal family reigning, a country’s values and traditions stay tuned for years. Monarchy also reduces the competition on governmental fronts. There is no wastage of money in election and re-election of the supremo every five or seven years. It fosters unity. Since there is no enmity between political unions or parties as the supremo is pre-decided. Unity at procedural and government level further ascertains unity and integrity among the citizens of the country.
As a layman, it hardly matters to me who is driving the bus; all that matters is to reach my destination on time without delay and safely (financially and mentally). If people vest power in the hands of rulers, it’s because they tend to rely on their supremo for he is the one who can lead their land to prosperity and a comfortable state to live in. A humble request from the citizen’s front, “Please Drive Our Bus Responsibly.”