Why did we shift to democracy?
“The adoption of democracy was good, but I rather opt for monarchy than watching this sickening and unnecessary wastage of money on elections which they reap much more again from public expenditure during their tenure.” -by Raju Athokpam
The Preamble has it – We, the people of India, … give to ourselves this Constitution. This declares a principle that the power ultimately lies in the hands of the people. The grass-root democratic governance is codified in the statute book under the 73rd amendment two decades ago. All the good things can be found in the Act ranging from devolution of power to the basic unit of governance call Gram Panchayat, to social justice, to economic development plans etc.
Well, those are the plans in books.
A recent development in the panchayat election held this month (September, 2012) revealed these rough figures below. It has no relation to anyone. A Member has some 500 votes, spends 3 to 4 lakhs, a voter gets 500 bucks and each family is being sent enough fish quantity as a gift. A Pradhan has some 5000 votes, spends 15 to 20 lakhs, a voter gets 1000 bucks, the same fish is gifted again along with special presents like clothes, etc. A Zila parishad must have roughly 25,000 votes assuming that there are 2 or 3 of them in each constituency which theoretically is made up with an area of 1 lakh population, lesser in real terms. Rumours has it that they spend around 1 crore. This is the actual practice as against the envisaged role.
One will not throw out a huge money for the seat, if the motive was clean. Because it is an alarmingly low salary they are entitled to, the crazy drive for the seat shows that it is an archaic business with exorbitant returns rather than a social service. The ulterior meaning of the election extravaganza is self-gratification. Any genuine person couldn’t have enter the contestant fray because of the inherent cause that if he managed to win the election would meant spending a lot for which he expects no return. Hence, any contestant, however truthful to the collective conscience, overtures his expressions and gradually makes himself the victim of a sickening system. This is the systematically flawed design of the election politics in Manipur (and elsewhere). The grass-root democratic principle has transform itself to something like it’s own anti-matter wherein a non-existent of panchayat would have been better – a quintessential of the saying that goes – a remedy worse than the disease.
Since the ancient Greek days until now, democracy had become a popular public outlook, all-pervasive and all-perpetual and it is still evolving. The rule-by-people Republic, however vague it is, captured the minds of human. Many of its structures are evident, elsewhere in the world too, as a process of its mental adventure. Empty vessel makes more sound and so is democracy. Historically, I think Manipur is not used to democratic principles. For example, until the last king, the erstwhile laws, be it for criminal, civil, customs etc. were very rude and punishments were mainly of corporal infliction. This exemplifies the situation then prevailed where public discourse on reforms and expressions on tolerance seems to be only undergrounded.
As enough time was not available before the society embraces to the new order called democracy, and the people, having known only a pie of it, starts to think the whole philosophy of democracy from his obscured len. A dangerous development it is indeed. Corollary, the immature democracy is one of the factor that leads to a corrupted society and corruption became the most formal institution of the day.
Democracy, in a way, makes an abled person feels that he can be the “king” unlike those yesteryears whom the king is only ascribed at birth. He feels that the society is modern and had given him room for human potentials to reach where he wishes. It is true and good, if the responsibility aspect was part and parcel of his aspiration, the power. To dream of standing in a podium is easier than to dream of taking responsibilities of that position. To think of money is easier than to apply our mind elsewhere progressive. This is evident from the fact that everybody thinks of money but not everyone must be thinking of progress. Coming back to responsibility, this is where the society lacks and democracy remains immature.
The adoption of democracy was good, but I rather opt for monarchy than watching this sickening and unnecessary wastage of money on elections which they reap much more again from public expenditure during their tenure.