Democracy still to pass through experiments
Prasenjit Chakraborty | 23 Jul 2009

The world has seen many forms of governance. Democracy is considered the most reliable system of governance. Only in a democracy, can people can rule themselves. But are people the real rulers?

DEMOCRACY HAS come a long way. If we speak about the old forms of it, we have to go back 5000 years, and turn the pages of Rig Veda. According to this book, India had a system of governance where people elected a person from amongst them as king. They would also elect representatives to the Sabha and Samiti(like upper and lower houses of parliament) to make rules of governance and to control the king. People had the right to pull down their representatives if they failed to perform their duty. Great Britain is the first nation in the world to introduce the modern form of democracy which, in turn, which the whole world has gone on to adopt. Over time, democracy overcame other systems of governance.

But, democracy still faces challenges. A good section of intellectuals still consider democracy needs more improvements for it would not cover the desires of a majority of the people. It could not bring peace and prosperity in everybody’s life. Or in other words, the few people preaching it were seen creating division among the people, may be nationally or internationally. Britain, the birthplace of modern democracy, spent hundreds of years in establishing colonies in different parts of the world snatching away human rights of the people of other nations, though fostered democracy on it’s own land. India, the biggest democracy of the world, could not ensure the uniform nature of development in all the parts of the country.

When government is planning to introduce bullet trains in some parts of the country, mainly imitating Japan, at the same time, ironically, it’s preparing more toy-like trains to run on the meter gauge line in some other parts. The government that recorded dynamism by increasing salary of a public servant up to rupees 90,000/- per month ridiculing the principles of a republic, sanctions hardly 15-20 rupees per day for a growing school student living in the hostel. The government that stands for decisive war against terrorism after the parliament(where elected leaders assemble) or five star hotels(the owners of which allegedly provide huge funds to political parties) get attacked, but the same government does keep indifference as the common people are killed in a bomb blast carried on by the internationally sponsored terrorist groups.

The list of democratic countries in the united nation’s record book expanding regularly. More inclusion may take place in near future. Citizens are expected to live a dignified life in democracies. But unbearable poverty compels innumerable people to migrate from their own country to other nations in search of food. A democratic environment makes millionaires to billionaires, can’t feed them. Values and principles still remain in book. Violation is often in practice. It’s true, the world witnessed modern technological inventions and humane innovations in the era of democracy. But most of these remained limited to few. The so called civilization could not, or did not break the barriers of discrimination.

Still the days are not gone, hopes are not finished. Democracy has not failed completely. And, the old alternatives are not better. We have to give more opportunities to it. We need to experience the priests of democracy a little more. But in vigilant mood, in open and active organs, keeping heart and mind expeditious in search of better alternative, in case democracy breaks down completely. We need to remember, conscious people, not autocratic discriminators, are the last word in democracy.