Democracy becomes false- Shreya Singh

Democracy becomes false if all the people of the country do not have basic literacy .

Democracy as we all know was once defined by the 16th American President Abraham Lincoln as the government “Of the people, by the people, for the people” … and the same man said again “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

These words of wisdom give us a fair idea that a democratic form of government stands for the larger good of the masses, which it represents. And the cornerstone of such a society is laid by equal distribution of rights and opportunities.

One can argue that the very understanding of one’s own rights and freedom comes to a large extent from the faculty of education, which comes from literacy. Thus, my esteemed opponents will argue, that the purpose of democracy gets defeated if all the people of the country do not have basic literacy. I though have a different opinion on this issue and would like to substantiate my argument purely on the basis of facts.

The biggest fact of them all is that We are all proud citizens of the world’s largest democracy. A country which is the second most populous in the world and where literacy rate dwindles somewhere around 65%, India continues to progress and grow. And when I say that this democracy of ours is growing…I am not talking about the “Shining India” of the cities but that of the villages and hamlets where 60% of the country’s population still resides.

Let it be the Panchayati Raj system of self governance or choosing a representative for the Centre, the Indian people continue to take their own decisions. It would indeed be helpful if they have basic education as that would empower them more, but to say the absence of it would take everything away from the system of democracy would be a well decorated but exaggerated lie.

I have a question to ask. When the great minds like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel and others were fighting for the nation’s freedom, why did they press hard for India to follow the democratic model? At the time when India achieved freedom from British rule, the country had a literacy rate of 12% but still we chose democracy and since then from being no hopers to becoming a model for growth and prosperity…India has come a long way. And all that has been possible because democracy has empowered the people of this country.

It has given them the right to choose for themselves. Some or the other form of Democracy has been followed in our country from times immemorial and it has been the most effective form of governance in our nation ever since.

Even today in our age of global literacy. In a Naxal infested village deep inside the forest areas of Chhattisgarh., a voter chooses his representative not by the virtue of education but by his experiences and survival instincts.

But yes I do agree that the ideals on the basis of which our leaders had wanted the implementation of democracy in our country have been distorted. Malfunctioning of the bureaucratic set-up, corruption in every link of the social chain and lack of employment opportunities are factors which have plagued India for long and continue to do so even now.

Thus rather than blaming the system, all efforts need to be concentrated on making it function better for our own good. We have lessons to learn from our neighbor Pakistan, who have continued to be in turmoil and apathy due to the dysfunctional democratic set up there. The human rights violations in the stern Chinese Communist regime also shows that India has been by far the most successful, righteous and humane nation to have grown big in the 21st century.

Hence before concluding I would say that in a diverse land like ours where life is crisscrossed by contentions of caste, creed, color and where more than half the population is engaged in a daily battle for survival, discussion over the failure or success of democracy is futile. Education for all is a must but until attain that state of absolutism…let us make this system of ours work because “fortune always favors the brave”.

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