A frailing democracy – Priti Jain

Forms of governments have been evolving since the inception of the very concept of governance. We started off with monarchy which was considered to be normal, but turned tyrannical and was done away with. It then took the form of Aristocracy but soon transformed itself into being dictatorial and despotic. We moved towards Oligarchy, saw its breakdown and accepted Polity to be our governance. The penchant for Polity did not last and had to make way for Democracy, our current support system.

 The form of government that cyclically succeeds a democratic rule is anarchy, a complete lawlessness in the state. Assumed to be the worst of all, might come into being with the banality of democracy. The onus of keeping the true nature of this government intact falls in the laps of the lawmakers. When we come to think of the reasons why we dread the failure of the current system some very potent threats manage to recrudescent in front of us.

Democracy thrives on the rule of majority; in fact, loosely they have been treated with the same meaning and respect. But come to look closely, this might not be the absolute truth. What we witness today in India is some kind of mob rule that has been assuming the role of the voice of the people. And mind you, for all the wrong reasons. When it comes to hurting some groups’ religious sentiments, there is a mob attack, a speech kindling violence against a particular community ( in a nation that fundamentally guarantees freedom of speech) or threatening someone not abiding by their rules and laws. Their ideologies and fundamentals are kept high above anyone else’s. This extreme jingoism in the name of fidelity and devotion is indeed misplaced. This takes up the form of a parallel set of governmental organs with a mind of their own. Honestly, their entertainment in this system is a big blotch in the face of democracy.

This mob rule is backed by religious and communal fanaticism. When a political or religious leader makes inappropriate or provoking remarks targeting a selected group, there are ripples all over the nation, but with no certain actions taken in succession. On the same lines when a common man raises his voice against the many atrocities, he is either charged with sedition or hate speech. It is quite ironical how the state has double standards for all its equal citizens. Though, there might be some interim relief in the case of Akbaruddin Owaisi pertaining to actions taken against him for defamation of the Indian gods, the history of convictions or penalization tunnel down our chances to zero. Another irony lies in our constitution and the election system itself. A state that has been declared secular has allowed parties to contest elections underwritten by religious sentiments. Regional parties are transforming themselves into religious parties with their manifestos addressing a selective vote bank. This is the crux behind the dilution of national parties into small and mostly significant regional parties.

Another fallacy lies in the concept of bringing in multiple parties at the national level, having a coalition government. We know that today it has become nearly impossible to get a single majority at the center, bringing in the trend of coming together of two or more parties sharing mutual benefits. But things always sail far away from what had been envisioned; it aimed at somehow just getting to the center with addressing regional problems as its by-product. The regional parties saw it as a chance to make its national presence felt, this also brought with it a state bias. They tend to forget that their role should not be restricted to their own state but being a national party disseminating to the whole nation. To make things worse, the opposition itself needs a coalition to barely even stand up against the ruling party. There has been a big change in the role of the opposition; it used to be to prevent the ruling party from taking irrational or biased decisions and making frivolous laws, now all they do is pin-point their mistakes after the decisions have been made, bills passed with their support and asking them to roll back the law. There has been a clear degradation of the democratic system of governance. Rampant walkouts, non-parliamentary language, an incompetent meek speaker chosen by the majority and a blatant mockery of the rule of the law; democracy exists only within the four walls of the parliament.

We have forgotten to put the nation before an individual state, a region, a religion, a caste, a class and a sect; they should always be secondary in a country’s priority list. We are still prey to the divide and rule policy; seeming like a nascent democracy still figuring out its basic structure. A democratic is the best the world has had so far. This despicable cycle of the changing forms of governments needs to stop here, at democracy.

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