For years, I have been told to appreciate and glorify democracy. It is a popular opinion that democracy is our generation’s (although Greeks and Romans had achieved it already) greatest achievement and therefore, like most people, I bleated the same. The praises of democracy engulfed me and engulfed my thoughts. Anyway, according to me, democracy is an old system for regulating a society which failed to evolve with the evolution of society in the past few years. Democracy has made some questionable allowances which, instead of holding society together, have broken it.
Look around. Everyone around seems to have their “own” demands from the Gov’t. Only a few seem to think about agendas that would benefit all of the society in general. Some people want subsidies. Some people want tax reforms so that they can save more money. Some people want reservations. While some other demand privileges. And all of them have demands that would definitely benefit them and others with similar demands. But, is a society a niche group of people or all the people together, co-operating and co-existing?
We all vote for a representative who represents “us” and our particular group. This representative of the particular group, then goes on to be the representative of the society in general. Democracy has fueled our self centred nature. We compete with other groups in pushing forward our demands to the Gov’t, which then fulfils those demands even though it barely leads to equally helping all the people in the society.
Democracy is said to be – of the people, for the people and by the people. And yet, democracy is “of the majority, for the majority and by the majority” in reality. The minorities will have to make do with the benevolence of the majority if any.
Indeed, it cannot. If popularity of opinions or the majority made the opinions right, there would never be any need for any opinion to change. If the majority think it is alright to oppress, it will be okay to oppress. If the majority chooses monarchy, democracy will make way for monarchy.
Acharya Vinoba Bhave had explained how –
“Whether in India or in any other country, if the people are taught to depend on Gov’t for everything, then whatever the nature of the Gov’t, the situation is politically dangerous. In its political evolution the human race has rejected monarchy because under monarchy the people become dependent, although they may feel happy in the reign of a benevolent monarch. We should have sense enough to understand that if the people become as much dependent under the Prime Minister in a democracy as in monarchy, there is not much to choose between the two under any circumstance. This is a dangerous state of affairs and calls for a serious consideration from all those who believe in democracy.”
On the other hand, does democracy protect minorities from oppression? It perhaps does. It also gives such powers to minorities which enables them to have advantages over the rest of the society. The bully becomes the bullied. The bullied becomes the bully. It goes on and on and on.
Would you give an irresponsible person the power to make decisions and rule? Democracy assumes that all the citizens of the nation are responsible and will use the power they hold for the benefit of the society and nation as a whole. Citizens are humans and most of them prioritize themselves over the society.
Perhaps democracy would be a tremendous success in an educated society where people will know the right from the wrong. They will hold themselves accountable to all the others in the society and not just to their families or community. In such a society, there is a possibility that someone will represent humanity and society as a whole and will strive for the progress and development of all the people in the society and not just of the majority who sometimes barely make up the 50.1% of the population.
While the Gov’t focuses on the demands of a few communities who threaten to break havoc otherwise, the general causes such as education, health etc. that benefit all are often neglected or forgotten.
Democracy Has Divided Us More Than Ever
If it weren’t so, how is it that every politician has a group he/ she addresses to, promising advantages to them if they vote for their political party? Only a few politicians have ideas to reform society. Rest of them are simply trying to rule over the people who shall let these politicians be their king or queen. We live in the age of kingdoms with no geographical boundaries. But nonetheless, even if in our heads, these kingdoms exist.
I come across feminists, transgender activists, environmentalists etc. Although, they are doing a great job trying to reform our society, they only try to protect and promote the interests of their community. There is no harm in that except for the fact that the moment you separate yourself explicitly from society, society starts falling apart. There is no harm in protecting a group of people. It just would be better if every human had the same basic rights and we could progress towards a society where all these diverse groups and communities will co-exist in harmony with each other. There won’t be protests or fights. It will not be “Communities” vs “Society”. There is no harm in identifying oneself with a community but there is some harm in not identifying oneself as a part of the society.
I have heard of kingdoms that flourished. I have yet to come across a nation that truly flourished under Democracy. That doesn’t mean that we must go back to the time of Kings. Democracy is certainly a point in our progression and has done a lot of good for our society but, we will have to move forward.
Our society has evolved. With such evolution, a new system is required. A tree is often recognized by its fruits. Democracy has stopped yielding sweeter fruits at this point. Democracy seems to have outrun its use. It is time that we contemplate about the kind of society we want and approach this accordingly.
Gov’t is an agreement between you and myself. You and myself are often wrong.
You and me, who form democracy are often selfish, biased, misled. We are humans and we err! Sadly, I must admit I have no solution to this. Forgive my opinions if they have offended. They are opinions and can be changed for the better. They assuredly stem from a sincere concern for the welfare of society.