I, as a kid had always admired and felt proud to be born in this country- a country which is multilingual, multicultural demography, which is what my social studies text book told me. My admiration for the democratic political ambiance grew taller and as Civics enlightened me with the excellence of the Indian Constitution on how it equally treats every individual of the nation alike, my awe grew even stronger. Those were innocent days when I firmly believed everything on paper is the reality of the nation. It took some time to realize not everything on paper is happening reality.
The law says no criminal should walk free and no innocent should be punished in the court of justice. Yet, we keep witnessing the reciprocation of this judicial promise. Justice shows different faces- to the haves and the have not, wears different masks- to those in power and to the powerless, tells everyone are equal yet keeps its eyes shut against discriminations (social, gender, religious, caste … be it any). All are equal before the law, in paper. This reality strikes one only when they get out tackling practical life, face to face. Many get used to it. Others curse their inability to stand against the shit around them and live an unsettling life unable to digest the fact that they too are the part of this set up.
The motive of this piece of writing is not to point the fingers on any politician or blame any particular political party. This is a citizen’s despair on the widening gap between the democratic values preached to remain intact amidst us and the harsh reality that it doesn’t actually exist. This viewpoint isn’t exclusively a comment on Indian political environment but the entire world, by and large.
From an era brimming with hope on virtue and justice, an entire generation’s mental makeup shifts slowly towards hopelessness. There is a void around the virtues we once believed and that emptiness and absence of hope on them is hard to stomach.
Democracy is not the system of governments of all nations in the world. Even in the countries which proudly proclaim themselves as truly democratic – I still remember the phrase ‘India, the world’s largest democracy’ from my text books that evoked inexplicable proud- have to ask seriously whether they’re true to their proclamation. The events that have unfolded and filled the pages of history have only made us to label democracy as De’moc(k)’cracy.
The former president of USA Abraham Lincoln in his most famous Gettysburg Address said conclusively, “…. and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Everyone can agree with ‘by the people’ with ease. But accepting the rest depends on individual experiences. The power of the people which is often reiterated in political speeches especially in democratic nations has now reduced to a fanciful word of praise, a political myth perhaps.