Save us from the Tyranny of the Majority

Has democracy landed into trouble? Without taking anything away from the great victory of the BJP , we  seemed to have reached a point where our democracy is threatening to dissolve into the tyranny of the majority.  Although, there are nay Sayers of Modi- Shah duo   and several conspiracy theories about the role of the EVMs,  godi Media  and the  partisan election commission are having currency , it is important to reflect on what such a massive victory to a single party can do to our democracy.  We all agree that democracy is the best political and social form of governance.  Most of us are democratic in the way we conduct our life.  Democracy is indeed irresistible and irreversible yet there are real fears that the right wing government that is installed through democratic power might put the last nail on the coffin of democracy in our country.  This is why one must agree that democracy is the worst enemy of its own self.   This happens when the generative principle of democracy, the sovereignty of   the people becomes in significant and depleted . 

Brute majoritarian government  coupled with  a weak  opposition  becomes a recipe for a totalitarian regime that  is best described by French political thinker , Alexis  de Tocqueville as the tyranny of the majority.  The Hindu first vision of the right wing seems to ban democracy from being the way of our life in our society.  It sees democracy as a form of Government and fails to see it as form of social organization.  Social democracy is certainly not vital for the right wing’s caste laden vision. When social democracy is not our priority, economic democracy cannot be  fully achieved.  Unfortunately, this fact does not seem to make sense to the large vote bank of BJP.  By handing on the brute majority to the BJP, we have put several hurdles to actualisation of social democracy and delayed economic democracy.  This is clearly visible even when the new Government had not assumed office several Muslims were harassed and brutalised by some Hindu supramists. Without social democracy, PM  Modi will not be able to deliver economic democracy  to everyone. Social democracy is a condition for progress of all. This is why PM Modi has rightly said ‘Sab ka sat’  ‘sab ka vikas’ need to grow into ‘sab ka Visvas’.

B.R. Ambedkar, the father of our constitutions, right from the beginning emphasised that political democracy without social democracy will not benefit our country.  This is why we see that he privileged equality over freedom and introduced reservations in education and administration for the depressed castes. Even today the question is about freedom of the majority brethren who are  marked by religion.   The Hindu supramists right wing forces have upheld the freedoms of one religion and brutally attacked the freedoms of other religions.  The question of balancing our freedoms with the ethical principle of equality is profoundly urgent to make democracy the way of our life in our society. Therefore, it is important to understand how a Hindu-first vision of the right wing is an expression freedom that has the ethical responsibility of social democracy that it  so blatantly rejects.  Hence,  the moral condition that clearly denies social democracy to all  wounds the  heart  of mother India and cannot be patriotic.  It also defames Hinduism and dismantles its all embracing altruistic approach articulated by ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’.

The dangers of the brute majority that we have handed to BJP are real and not simply  born out of fear or figments of imagination.  Democracy cannot become an empire of the majority. This is why the quality of democracy depends on how it treats its minorities.  This is where the raj dharma  of the BJP will be tested .  We have not much to rejoice on this front during the previous tenure of the Modi Government. There are no safeguards to prevent democracy from degenerating into a tyranny of the majority. We only have to depend on the moral force to save democracy for all . Tocqueville rightly teaches that tyranny of the majority would bring minorities to despair and force them to take recourse into material force.  Ambedkar also points in the same direction and  advocated legal safeguards for the minorities. Social democracy to the minorities is the indicator of democratic nature of democracy.  This democratic nature of our democracy is waning away and the tyranny of the majority is glaring into our eyes.  

Even if after a long enjoyment of political freedom, social freedom still remains a distant dream.  The ideology of right wing seems to push it several light years away.  Unless we find light from the moral ethos of our civilisation, nothing can prevent our democracy from dying into tyranny of the majority. We have to rediscover our Dharma or duty in the face of a brute majority as Indians. All brute majorities mostly  kill social democracies and foster economic inequalities.  Economic  hope ingnited by the PM Modi cannot be realistically built on social in equality. Social inequality will increase the tempers of social discontent and one might see the rise of crime and anarchy. During the last term the Modi Government craftily silenced the minorities by letting the cow vigilantes have their sway. This mode of action that is viewed as putting the minorities in their place may continue.  The denial of social democracy to minorities  will not hide the denial of economic democracy to the majority community for long. Unless we find ways of addressing the threat of the tyranny of majority, we seem to be set to be pushed into several eons of darkness. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao