Democratize power


By Tinky Ningombam

Are you the decision maker in the family? That`™s what they normally ask in marketing research. One of the first signs of power is decision making. A kid turns an adult once we know that he/she is capable of making his/her own choices. But it is the toughest job. And the bigger the stake, the harder it is.

Most of us believe that we make our own decisions but as I have repeatedly espoused it is not so. We seldom question who the decision maker is and what he does with our lives `“ in our personal or social space. We just know that there is. He/she who has power over our lives.

When you ask people of who they think have power, one will always point to the authority figure. It will be the majority in a group, the leader of the pack, the rich, the elite, the famous? But power can also be a very subjective term. Man is powerful than animals, Ideas are more powerful than Man, God is all powerful than everything else? But above all, power is the control over choices. This is the power play we face every day. Who decides over whom?

We somehow secretly think that life would be much easier if all we did was just follow orders. If we are ok in believing that just following orders will make us be successful, accomplished, famous and alive. If we knew that those orders are going to make our life good. Even if they seemed wrong. `Why did you burn the house down, john?` `Because the boss said so.`

Because ignorance is bliss and a huge majority of people like to be told what to do. People like to follow the boss. The boss who has the courage to control the lives of people. When people believe in him/her, they give them the authority to decide and take over their lives. Maybe not entirely it may seem but an awful huge part of it. Because it is easier to live that way. As a child, one would not question if an adult told us to stay in one place and not move. Obviously as a child, we wouldn`t have had the mental prowess to question that order nor will the adult accept the validity of a rebuttal. We are all `children` to someone or the other, we like to be `children`. To be told things.

The hypocrisy in our lives hence is, the fact that we are quite protective of our personal daily choices while we give away all the important decision making to people in power without even raising a question of doubt. The sad part of everything here is that while most men envy power and the control, most common men do not think they are capable of wielding it. People think of power as in this context something that is manipulative, evil or corrupt. Something for people with money or people with connections.

I will get a little cheesy and quote Spiderman`™s Uncle Ben here and say that `With great power comes great responsibility`. Common people need to understand that Power doesn`t mean making others follow them blindly. It does not mean arm-twisting the law. Power does not mean having to decide over others`™ lives to serve selfish purposes. And it is definitely not only with the leader of the pack, the rich, the elite or the famous. Not all great ideas comes from the top. Not all great movements comes from board-rooms. Power comes from the people. From the citizens. Decision-making comes first from the people, from the citizens. Laws are made and are supposed to be made to accommodate the lives of citizens. And if that is not the case, people need to use their individual rights, their powers to revolt, redress and reform.

Yes, being your own boss is the hardest task of all. The boss who thinks of all the pros and cons, the boss who apparently can see the big picture, the boss who`™s neck will be in the noose if something bad happens, the boss whom everyone relies on. Not everyone wants power. It seems fun for a while, but not for long. Hence we consciously stay out of the power games. We leave them to the so called connected people, the moneyed people, the people with agendas, the people who like to take control. And then we get caught in the vicious circle, because we rely on them to make our decisions for us, without even knowing what power it is that we are giving up ,the same one that they are using over you.

You ask me, where do we start? Start with your family, with your neighborhood, with your community. Power should be democratized. You need to question choices that are made for you. Question if people are using power over you and if it is justified. See if your opinions are considered for the choices that affect you. Don`™t just do it for yourself, do it for the people, for your children and the children after that. If you do not take control of your lives, you give control of your lives to people who are waiting to take it.


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