A democratic government is a government ‘by the people, for the people and of the people’. When I was writing this article, the Gujarat elections were under way. To all the supporters, I do not support the propaganda of any political front. I only want to unite the crores of Indians who want to protect of our largest democracy. Anyone may win or lose, but the one thing that must remain intact is the flow of democracy in India.
A democratic system not only gives strength to our voices – it also, directly or indirectly, keeps the undeserving elements from reaching unnecessary heights. Democracy should not be limited to just the process of voting in elections. Democracy also ensures the practice of each and every liberty for the welfare of the society, for getting the basic requirements, and also to help other people to enjoy the living standards they deserve.
I think ‘democracy’ is a concept which should be practised more than being propagated. For example, Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption will not bear any fruit in society, if we maintain silence on the immoral working of the authorities – at the civic, state or national level. The Right To Information (RTI) is a good approach to fight corruption and irregularities. But, it has also failed to construct a confidence in the citizens – the confidence that it will also protect its user from the authority against whom the person wants to take action.
There is probably a better solution for this – a strong ‘whistleblower protection bill’ in the Parliament. The problem here is that our legislators are more clever and far-sighted. Any kind of law, however strong, may not be able to frame and prosecute them. It is to be expected that our legislators will try and find ways of overcome the wall of investigations which may fall over them. After getting free from the net of law, it’s equally possible that they may target the complainants and keep pressurising them till they give in.
The probable chronology of events is:
1. The rules are broken.
2. This may lead to a loss of peoples’ money.
3. If a complaint is made, then the complainant, in all probability, is threatened.
4. If the complainant/whistleblower retreats, then all is good. Otherwise, the person may even be physically assaulted, which will probably do the trick.
Now, the question rises: where is the law of the land? Even if a strong and desirable ‘whistleblower protection bill’ may be in place, will it be of any need after the death of the whistleblower? It is the same situation as the police investigating a crime after having watched the crime when it was going on.
If another complaint rises, then the matter may reach up to the court, but if the ‘helping hands’ of the judiciary and the executive are coordinating with each other, how can we expect a fair trial and judgement? It will surely be a very cruel joke with oneself.
Now, as every door seems closed, this is the point where an unseen face of India’s democracy must enter the scene. In my opinion, any matter which reaches the ‘Lok Adalats’, along with a simple media backing, will definitely lead to a solution. Here, the phrase ‘Lok Adalats’ do not mean the ones that are already a part of the Indian judiciary. Here, ‘Lok Adalats’ refer to the public consensus on a particular matter.
Martyred whistleblowers fought for the betterment of the society and for justice. Now, it’s society’s turn to pay tribute to such people who did not think about their lives for the collective and greater good. The much-needed recipe for this movement lies in its start. The spark needs to come from an individual or organisation, along with a little bit of hard work to attract the masses. We all know very well that Anna Hazare’s campaign had become successful for a very brief period, because the masses had given support to the movement.
Common citizens, who can’t take up the initiative to change something because of their larger engagement with their daily lives, have to secure the rights of those citizens who are, in turn, fighting for the rights of the society in which all of us live. They are trying to make the environment better, so that the coming generations can learn something from the struggles of their elders.
It is understandable that every one may not be able to take such initiatives. But, neither is it possible that thousands of people cannot save a single person from becoming the victim of the selfishness of a handful of greedy people, who are eating the system and the nation from within, with their corrupt thinking. If a society consists of people who are turning a blind eye towards crimes which they can possibly oppose or prevent, then the only consequence of this will be that the victims will be replaced by silent spectators.
A democracy prevails where people do not fear the oppression by the administration or any other powerful shark for raising their voices against the unjust. A democracy prevails where a person or a group of people fight for rights and justice – either for their own selves or for the whole society.
If a democracy is made by each and every citizen of the country, then it is also offended every time the fundamental rights and freedoms of any of the citizens are snatched away. A democracy does not mean only giving votes in the elections. A democracy resides in the freedom of citizens to fight for their rights and justice.