A monumental, explicit and assertive judgement of Supreme Court, the highest seat of judicial authority of India, declared the right to privacy as a fundamental right which bestowed the citizens of India with empowerment; there is spring on our steps and sense of pride which has encouraged me to propose that it is not only important to live in a democracy but democracy should be the way of our life.


Mahatma Gandhi said "I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong".  


‘Democracy’ literary means ‘the rule of people’.  Democracy as defined by many the system of government in which power is vested with the people directly or indirectly; but the de facto meaning of democracy is slightly more.

 John Locke accentuated that natural rights - liberty, equality and property are inherent and inalienable. These natural rights are envisaged by democracy as its spirit; persuasion and accountability form its core; socio-economic sustainable development and welfare for all are its directive and guiding principles. Hence, democracy should not be seen as ‘a tyranny of majority’ instead it is a system where people govern themselves while respecting the rights, culture and requirements of each and every individual.  Eventually such a system becomes inevitably the most pragmatic and suitable choice for us.


The monumental ‘privacy’ judgment asserted emphatically that the government cannot interfere unnecessarily in the life of a citizen or induce unwarranted restrictions - what one eats, drinks, wears or ones sexual choice; the decision paved the way for the decriminalization of homosexuality and has also rectified the Adhaar Act. The privacy judgement has set an example for western democracies as well where Anti Islamist groups have been advocating for a ban on the burkhas or any other religious symbol.


 India hails as the largest democracy in the world with every second person living in democracy is a citizen of India. And it is due to this democracy only; today India has achieved great success. India was depleted, exhausted and bled by the drain of its resources to its colonial ruler which made it vulnerable to famine, poverty and sufferings. India from 1947 augmented its literacy rate from 16℅ to 75℅, reduced child mortality and increased life expectancy from 31 to 72, our growth rate of economy raised from below 1℅ to 8℅, we are the fifth largest economy in the world and also democratic India never suffered from any famine, infact, no single democratic country ever suffered from famine. Surely, more needs to be achieved but democracy has produced substantial outcomes.


The charm of democracy is its competency for peaceful transfer of power. It precludes the bloody battles and gory pillage through which affluent and mighty warriors conventionally settled their conflicts. In a democracy, the answer lies in the ballot not with the bullet Exercising and enlarging the ambit of the freedom of speech to criticize or appreciate our leaders is solely plausible in a true democracy. Some critics of democracy vehemently assert Winston Churchill's famous remark, ‘The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.’ Indeed democracy is not perfect, it disappoints, produces resentment, causes delay and has also resulted in malign decisions; but it breathes backs in life as it opens up to its own disappointments. Self correction is only plausible in democracy. History has enormous examples to demonstrate how societies were fractured and destroyed, men exiled and exposed to unmanned cruelty by the irresistible lure of lucre and savage avarice; the most profound animating spirit of the autocratic or non democratic projects .Today with world facing the wrath of global warming, global conventions or national acts can be successful only when all views have been heard and common ground is found in open public debate for securing an enduring agreement. The survival of Homo sapiens depends on innovation. Innovation flourishes only in democratic regimes as it provide breathing space for mistakes and experiments. This proposition can be easily proven by the fact that no single non democratic country is ranked in the top 10 of Global Innovation Index 2018 (co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the WIPO). It would be naive to expect North Korea or UAE or Pakistan on top of that list until they open up to democracy completely. An unmounted and unchecked power is not only malign but it reduces the efficacy of regime. Power without accountability can easily degenerate into ‘hubris’ - the father of mistakes and irreversible catastrophes as called by the Greek ancestors.

 Authoritarian and majoritarian currents have been dampening the hearts of people with irrationality across the globe but it is viable and essential that we stick to democratic principles, deepen its roots and try to evolve our democracy instead of supplanting it with any autocratic or majoritarian rule. The failure of democracy in various countries of Africa is not the de facto failure of democracy instead the countries have failed to implement democracy effectively. African countries accepted democracy from their colonial rulers from the late 1960s .It is well known that they never formed natural states, instead states exist due to scrambling of Africa (without considering the integrity of the cultural groups and ethnic groups) done by the colonialism. Incidents like killing of the Chief Justice for declaring an executive action unconstitutional in Zimbabwe shows the fragility of democratic institutions in Africa. Unfortunately, very low literacy, hatred politics between ethnic groups, unemployment, refugee migration, high debt and poor standard of living has made it difficult for governments to establish themselves.

To implement democracy with efficacy the state must be relatively independent of classes and ethnic groups in society. No class or ethnic group must completely control state power, or use it to push its own agenda in its entirety; instead measures and policies should be implemented to bring the minority and the suppressed class at par with the society. Democracy has its foundational pillars as - judicial, legislative, and executive. These pillars should be strengthened to fight incessantly against social sickness and any new confrontations so as to create an environment of self sustaining democracy. At times it may be frustrating and even punitive to work with the institution of democracy. Institutions make it difficult to take benign decisions swiftly but again they equally make it difficult to rush through malign decisions. It is overt that for good governance, democracy is a prerequisite condition not sufficient one. Any effort to undermine democracy or to use state power disproportionately in favor of one group corrupts democracy and jeopardizes the collective future of its citizens.


 The savaged and unmanned cruelty as well as the bloodshed world witnessed during the autocratic rule teaches the world the need for democracy, at the same time the fruits of democracy - liberty, equality and justice inspire us to deepen and evolve our democracy for a better world.





Views: 84

Tags: #essaycontest2018


You need to be a member of Global Ethics Network to add comments!

Join Global Ethics Network

Carnegie Council

Gene Editing Governance & Dr. He Jiankui, with Jeffrey Kahn

Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute for Bioethics, discusses the many governance issues connected to gene editing. Plus, he gives a first-hand account of an historic conference in Hong Kong last year in which Dr. He Jiankui shared his research on the birth of the world's first germline genetically engineered babies. What's the future of the governance of this emerging technology?

Trump is the Symptom, Not the Problem

Astute observers of U.S. foreign policy have been making the case, as we move into the 2020 elections, not to see the interruptions in the flow of U.S. foreign policy solely as a result of the personality and foibles of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, writes Senior Fellow Nikolas Gvosdev. Ian Bremmer and Colin Dueck expand on this thought.

Gene Editing: Overview, Ethics, & the Near Future, with Robert Klitzman

In the first in a series of podcasts on gene editing, Columbia's Dr. Robert Klitzman provides an overview of the technology, ethical and governance issues, and where it could all go in the near future. Plus he explains why the birth of genetically engineered twins in China last year was a "seismic" event. How could gene editing lead to more inequality? What could be some of unintended consequences?





© 2019   Created by Carnegie Council.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

The views and opinions expressed in the media, comments, or publications on this website are those of the speakers or authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by Carnegie Council.