Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Democracy - Is it Lollipop ?

Eighty thousand people or more marched for democracy in the Hong Kong streets last Sunday. It is, as you would guess from the turnout, a matter of much discussion in this country and a matter of much cover-up on the mainland.

It is also a matter of strange revelations, or at least, statements from the Chinese people that i find very strange. Its a disconcerting feeling, probably akin to how my husband feels in the fact that he will never understand me. For I think I will never understand the Chinese.

But that's not the point.

The point isn't about the goodness / badness / appropriateness of democracy either.

The point is at that quite a few people are saying how they are / aren't mature enough to have / not have democracy.

Things like: We are educated etc and that speaks volumes about our ability to handle democracy.
And rebuttals like: please lower those volumes, and we definitely lack the maturity, but maybe in 10-20 years we'll be grown up eough

Stuff like that leaves me queasy - even though I am no George Bush who thinks democracy should be clamped down everyone's throat, and nor as a non-citizen do I think I have the right to fight this fight.

It's just that the whole idea of being mature enough to deserve democracy is ridiculous!
Since when did one have to pass an exam to want or get democracy???
Does that mean that some people do not deserve democracy?
And what is this metric to find out who's deserving?

If the metric is education, then can politicians rubbish three-fourths of India into taking the right decisions for them? [happens a lot anyway - and not for the better of the uneducated!]
If it is appreciation of rights, then should George Bush just turn America into his dictatorship as half of his country fails to vote at all and use the oportunity. I mean, clearly they can't want democracy if they don't vote, he can say.
Do the Burmese deserve the Junta because after all, they are just rudimentary farmers?
After getting a democracy, would you shut down the voices of those people who prove themselves 'undeserving'?

This whole "deserving democracy" line is no different from a rationalisation of dictatorship. That's what all dictators have always said: you don't know well enough, and I know better than you.

Democracy is not an award. not a prize for good grades. Not something you deserve, in lieu of which you get a punishment called dictatorship! It is an entitlement. The question isn't 'are you good enough for it?', but 'do you want it?'. And THAT is the question HK should decide.

Coz the only disqualification for democracy comes from democracy itself - if people don't want it, then they need not have it.

The whole point of democracy is this premise: no man is more or less qualified to get the government he wants.
if that govt be communist, so be it
or a democracy, if that's what he likes

The only poplulation that doesn't deserve a democracy is one that doesn't want it, or finds itself unfit for it. coz that is the poplulation that will fail to be a democracy even when it is given a chance - it would elect the same old people one after the other, creating a pseudo-monarchy.


Ajit Chouhan said...

Hummm some thought..

Anonymous said...

Ask for it; Democracy
Let it be no fantasy!

Democracy; its not an award
but Dictatorship is surely a fraud!

Of, For and By the people
Let this voice prevail
Keep it simmering all the time
Let it not become frail.

- Gurdeepak Ahuja (gdsahuja@yahoo.com)