BY Arundhati Bhattacharyya
The words ‘democracy’ immediately creates an idea of heaven in our mind; the phrase ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’, sounds very good and we remain in a trance thinking that the power is in our hand. But is it so in reality?
We have the power to press the button for election, to make a choice among a list of politicians. Then the person who is elected by majority of votes, has the power to make decisions. During his governance we can criticize, we can protest, but we cannot remove him from power immediately. Even our protests are restricted as the so called ‘democratic parties’ often exercise muscle power upon the common public.
We Indians are very well accustomed to the term “Ram Rajya”, the Kingdom of Lord Rama which is an emblem of peace, harmony and perfect equilibrium. It is told that Lord Rama was so caring about his subjects that not even a single man was distressed or unhappy in his kingdom. Remember, it was not democracy, but a monarchy!
We can also remember the rule of Emperor Ashoka, after he was transformed to Dharmashoka, the pious king. He set an example of good governance and welfare state. So, the idea that monarchy simply means dictatorship and usurping people’s power is not absolutely correct. Still there are a number of absolute monarchies in the world, setting an example of good governance.
New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada and Luxembourg have been enlisted among Transparency International’s top 10 list for countries without corruption. All these countries are ruled by monarchy.
The basic flaw of democracy is its ‘all are equal’ theory, because it is not rational from any aspect. Everyone does not grow up in the same environment and does not have the same education; so, mindset and attitude of voters can vary in multiple ways. Taking opinion from a wide mass is not as easy as it seems. A voting machine is a too simple procedure for collecting opinions.
In democracy, coming to power is all about majority and popularity; it does not depend on qualification and capacity. Whoever is able to please the mass, can come to power. The common mass cannot have the depth to judge the true ability of a leader; rather they are moved by the words of person who is able to touch their emotions. And it is easier to please the common voters with sweet words during the two month vote campaign.
In The Republic, Plato gives a hint about how unlimited freedom and liberty in democracy can give rise to tyranny. The main problem with a tyrant is that he cannot govern himself; he is lead by impulse and frenzied emotions.
In public polls people actually do not think about democratic interest; they do not vote for general issues, rather they have interest for specific class, caste or gender benefit. Common people cannot have the power to think about overall betterment of the state, they would rather love to think of their own benefit and the benefit of their race, and they will cast their vote accordingly.
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