Has democracy failed the world over? The Paradox of Democracy: Promises, Politics, and People

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Blog post from Prof. H. O. Srivastava

Prof. Dr. Sir H. O. Srivastava, IBS, K. St. J
M.Sc. M.Phil, Ph. D. (Info Sys.), Ph. D. (Chemistry), D. Lit. (Management)

Amid bustling streets and vibrant rallies, the largest democracy in the world gears up for another election cycle. As political parties fervently field their candidates, the essence of democracy stands at a crossroads, where ideals collide with harsh realities.

At the heart of this electoral spectacle lies a paradox: the path to becoming a lawmaker requires no qualifications except the ability to win votes. In this democratic arena, individuals from all walks of life, regardless of literacy or legal standing, can throw their hat into the political ring. It’s a system where even those with multiple criminal cases pending against them can seek the highest office, shielded by the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Such is the legacy of our visionary forefathers, who enshrined the principle that one is innocent until proven otherwise. Yet, as we navigate the complexities of modern democracy, questions arise about the integrity of our electoral process and the moral fabric of our society.

In the pursuit of power, political parties spare no expense in luring voters with promises of freebies and perks. From stipends to free food, electricity, and even religious pilgrimages, the list of enticements seems endless. But amidst this frenzy of promises, the underlying cost often remains hidden.

While in business, prudent planning governs receipts and expenditures, the electoral landscape operates under a different paradigm. Here, the allure of freebies can overshadow concerns about infrastructure maintenance and development, leaving critical issues unaddressed.

In the realm of politics, some adhere to the philosophy of total opportunism, echoing the sentiments of the ancient Indian philosopher Charvaka. Their mantra, “Live happily, take debt, and indulge,”(यावज्जीवेत सुखं जीवेद ऋणं कृत्वा घृतं पिवेत, भस्मीभूतस्य देहस्य पुनरागमनं कुतः॥“) reflects a mindset driven by immediate gratification, regardless of long-term consequences.

Moreover, divisive tactics based on caste, color, creed, race, and religion further polarize society, undermining the principles of equality and unity. Instead of championing equal opportunities and respect for all, politicians exploit these divisions to secure votes, promising preferential treatment and entitlements.

In this landscape of promises and polarization, the true essence of democracy faces a formidable challenge. It falls upon citizens to navigate this complex terrain with discernment and vigilance, holding elected representatives accountable for their actions. But what happens when a majority is happy receiving freebies unmindful of the consequences in the future?

Ultimately, the future of democracy lies not in empty promises or divisive rhetoric but in the collective efforts of an informed and engaged citizenry. By upholding the principles of justice, equality, and integrity, we can strive towards a democracy that truly serves the interests of all its people. But who cares for philosophy and morals? Public faith in democratic processes is declining.