Democracy, where is your Sting?

The politics of these days has taken the sting out democracy. The demos/people are expelled and cratos/power is grabbed by heartless politics of the right wing forces. We will have to ask: Democracy where is your sting? We seem to have been left with only pursuit of power and not rule of the people for the people and most importantly there is no rule by the people any more. The sting of democracy has been ruthlessly taken away by politics today. It is a case of salt that has lost its saltiness. The absence of democracy can be felt so vividly. We have entered a post-dharma era which has propelled us into post-democratic era. What is life without democracy? Or Maybe we have to ask what have we done to democracy? With the waning of democracy, all our democratic institutions and traditions are on the verge of collapse. Some right wingers proclaimed that congress gave India pseudo-secularism. Now we may have to admit that BJP is giving us pseudo-democracy. The sharp pointed edge of the power of people has been successfully blunted today. All this is down by staying within the frame of the law. There is nothing much illegal about the way the recent Government in Bihar as formed. Yet it has shade of immorality.  What is legal may not always be moral. The manner in which the government was set up in a hurry triggered reminders of Goa and Manipur bringing us to a discomfort of a sense of loss of democracy. 

The promise of development has displaced the promise of democracy. We seem to have been put in a situation where ends are supposed to justify the means. Democracy in our country has become a ship of fools that is looking to the safety of a harbour that is painted as development. With the promised development steadily drifting to the powerful elite leaving the people crumbs that fall from their table, we are again faced with the dilemma of what may be called pseudo-development. Indeed, we have to agree that India is haunted by a quatro-lemma. Faster that we come to terms with this condition is better for us all. We are definitely challenged by Pseudo-secularism that hides pragmatic communalism, pseudo-nationalism that openly parades communalism of the majority, pseudo-development that hides the interest of the powerful corporate elite and pseudo-democracy that clearly excludes the people in its functioning. This is why in a free India, we suffer several (un)freedoms. In many real ways were disenfranchised by the hypocritical drama at play that we call democracy. The people’s democracy is steadily dying and we have politician’s democracy on the rise. With the death of people’s democracy we have put the last nail on the coffin of the voter who was nothing more than prince for a day. The price for a day is beheaded by the king of five years and we have moved into a politician’s democracy.  

Although corruption is evil and has to be dismantled, it cannot be weeded out by corrupting democracy. What we have seen in Bihar is a politics that corrupts our democracy. Something beautiful about our democracy is dead. We may be witnessing a watershed moment in Indian politics. We can see the dismissal of democratic politics and a heartless politics that strives to capture of democracy and power at all cost seem to have taken centre stage. The traditional opposition has proved to be toothless and have failed to learn from its defeats. The ideologies of the opposition seem to have become a spent force in the face of a new aggressive Hindu nationalism with a dash of development. This corrosive cocktail has intoxicated the young and old in India who seem to have come to love this new freedom to hate the demonised other Indian who is among the minorities, dalits, women and the tribals. The lack lustre leadership of the opposition forces has led several over-ambitious leaders among them to join force with the wining horse. North East, Goa in the past and Gujarat in recent days has shown how congress is finding it difficult to keep its flock together. We can see only the BJP emerging as the dominant force.  Unfortunately, with its rise we find the consequent decay of democracy and its traditions and institutions. While the politician’s democracy may be viewed as progress by the political class, it is certainly not so for the masses of our country. 

With the fading of opposition unity, there appears to be little or no hope for the ordinary people of our country. Maybe we are looking for hope in the wrong place. The media that we regard as the fourth estate seems to have sold its soul. Even it appears to have failed our democracy. With supari journalism ruling roost, we have very little hope except one that is offered by alternate media. Unfortunately the voice of this genuine messenger is often silenced by fake media sites. Therefore, where are we to put all our hope today? The hope for democracy is bubbling at the edges. It is the simple people of India that are our real hope. The simple people understand when the heartless number game hits them hard. The people of India have already nailed the lie of India shining of the NDA and the corruption of the UPA. Hence, in the context of dwindling democracy might be fitting that we put all our eggs not in the basket of the politicians. We might do well to believe in the political acumen of our simple people who in the pursuit of their self interest will rescue democracy from the profound crises that it finds itself today. Ultimately, it is the simple people of India that has the power to decide their own destiny and they have so far exhibited great political wisdom in the past. That is why nothing seems to stop us from placing our hope in them. It is not the politicians and their political parties that often prey on weakness of democracy will save us but it is the people who are oppressed will emancipate all of us. The sting of democracy is amidst the people.             

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao