Thursday, October 12, 2006

Democracy from an Evolutionary Perspective

The popular definition of the term Democracy is ‘the Government of the people, by the people and for the people’. This has various textures and connotations such as Popular Democracy, Representative Democracy, Participatory Democracy etc. We in India have solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.

The rule or governance as understood in olden days was an exclusive right of a few individuals. As thought and particularization developed at later times, it has come to be accepted that governance is a concern of everyone inasmuch as it affects every person of the State. Ideas like ‘no taxation without representation’ have gained lot of ground the world over and have paved the way for participate-structure in governance. To facilitate representation in the governing bodies through elections, organizations called ‘political parties’ came to be advocated. The unifying theme before a political party is its ideology as to ‘the right system of governance’ in its opinion, to cater to the needs of the people.

Now, the structuring and management of the political parties have been far from ‘ideal’, reflecting the weak-nesses of the human mind. Further, of late the political parties have shown ugly factors such as self-interest and self-centeredness displayed by the persons at the helm of affairs, deceitful and disruptive behaviour, in and out of the legislative bodies and dynastic tendencies, throwing to wind democratic norms. Politics has come to be accepted as a profession. It has become more a means of menace than usefulness for people’s welfare and better living. While the use and utility of the political parties cannot be ruled out, their extending arm beyond all reasonable limits is to be deprecated and dismissed outright. The function of political parties is, by conception, limited to work for bringing about political awareness among the public on matters of public interest and policy. Governance is not a matter related to the political parties or the predilections of the people connected with them. To maintain the representative character in the context of governance is to be above the narrow or parochial tendencies of human nature. We have the ‘Representation of People’s Act’ giving out the methodology to achieve this objective.

The rule or governance of this Nation over the 50 and more years has clearly brought out the latent evils in the minds of the rulers aided by the medium of political parties. These being obvious and well focused by many forums, need not be elaborated here. Suffice to say that the intended results of governance have not percolated to the masses, and many parts of the country still do not enjoy the basic needs for human existence. Developmental activity is much talked about laced with statistics, but hangs above and beyond the reach of the commoners. The ‘below poverty line’ syndrome continues to expand.

Democracy as a system is seemingly a western concept but its appearance in the earlier Indian context is traceable. Even in the monarchial system India enjoyed the fruits of democratic wellbeing. The possible mis-rule of the ruler was all the time kept under check by the council of ministers, advisors and the like. Under good rulers people had a definite say in all matters of public policy. After suffering under the foreign yoke and attaining independence, made possible by the selfless leadership of a few people, the newly independent Nation with its party-based political system provided the setting for self-centered and narrow-minded politicians to take over the Nation. Interference of the politician in every walk of life and corrupting that to his own advantage is the contemporary scene. Things have not gone beyond the scope of repair and this is the time for the intelligent public to think, come together and act in the best interest of the nation and its people.

The future of Governance, if it is to be totally aimed at the welfare of all the subjects irrespective of caste, creed, religion, race, language, gender etc., must be raised upon a structure which is devoid of all party affiliations and party-politic interruptions. It must be on a sound foundation of party-less Governance, a holistic approach to the regeneration and ultimate perfection of humanity.

P.S: The original of the above article was written by Dr.N.C.Ramanujachary of Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai, which has been partly modified and published above.


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