Year 2011 – Year of democratic innovations
It would be appropriate to call the year 2011, the “Year of Democracy & Democratic innovations”. Year 2011 witnessed the birth of an Idea, which will either take the democracies to a new high or a new low depending how the weapon is used. This year (2011) was certainly of political innovations driven by grass-roots and Internet, and has given one lasting lesson to politicians and rulers ‘ If you have a responsibility, behave responsibly’.
Year 2011 will pass as the most happening year in the history of politics and governance. We saw how Julian Assange unmasked the United States of America using the power of net, and how the Arab Awakening started on the net and the decades old regimes fell, and How Anna Hazare used the power of media to force the government to accept its demands & commit to change. It is no ordinary feat using the ordinary and every day use mediums to bring about a lasting change. We saw many changes without large-scale wars and bloodshed. It is unbelievable, but it happened, and not just in India but across the World!
Back home, this year, we have seen how the fierce standoff between the Government and the ‘Social activists’ / ‘Civil Society Organizations’ moved the ‘Policy Paralysis’ to ‘Parliamentary paralysis’. For sure, It is clear that innovations are not just limited to science labs and companies, but even the small and big democracies are innovating and finding ways to be heard using the power of low-cost mediums and issues that affect the ‘Common Man’. The ‘autocratic democracies’ have to learn to accept and function in accordance with the wishes of the people whom they are meant to serve
I have always believed that ‘Politicians’ once they acquire the ‘Power’ forget the basic philosophy of governance that ‘ Powers flows through them, and not from them’ and that, they are supposed to be ‘serving’ the people & not ‘Governing them’, using the power to transform lives rather than using their position for ‘I, ME & MYSELF’
So what is in store for politicians and the civil society now?
It is clear that the public has a new weapon of mass destruction – Dissidence with Disobedience till things fall in place!
We have seen that the Indian Parliament did not function during the monsoon session due to various issues relating to scams and corruption, and now that FDI in retail has become a contentious issue and has brought the government to a halt within the parliament. The UPA government, which was earlier being haunted with ‘Policy Paralysis’, has now turned to ‘Parliamentary Paralysis’ for the nation. It is both good and bad for a democracy. As long as this ‘Tool’ is used for right reasons for the well-being of the masses, it will bring about positive change, and when it becomes a ‘Tool’ to pacify the ‘Ego’ of the opposition parties, this could be the worst weapon to bring down the democratic ethos of any nation. Since FDI, 2 G scam and Lok Pal bills have vast negative ramifications, and so the opposition and the ruling party will get ‘the benefit of doubt’ on this modus operandi, but if the opposition uses the same tool for each and every flimsy issue, then the public will directly answer during the elections. It is clearly being felt that, the public is getting enlightened, and watching the debate and taking a stand and backing it with ‘viral marketing’. We will see the results much before 2014 and the Grand Finale in 2014. It is time that those who have responsibility, must act responsibly to take this nation forward. It goes without saying ‘ You can fool some people all the time, all people some time but not all people all the time’.
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Healthcare I Retail I Rural Economy I Public Policy