Quleen Kaur Bijral
The common people pray for rain, healthy children and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.
-George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones
In India, the making of democracy has become a noisy affair of political crossfire, scandalous link-ups, death threats, censorship, horse trading, full-day telecast of ministers’ fashion statements, and other dramatic media stunts.
While the common people have become mere spectators:
* In India the voice of the common man is shamelessly ignored in the high-octane drum rolls and noisy trumpets of our chest-thumping Heroes of Democracy
* The system in India forces the general public to accept the overgenerous, blatant, pretentious, pompous and high-flying broadcast of the ministers and their ridiculous antics.
* The public is made to believe that the job of the minister or a prime minister is only to enchant, to spellbound and to be spoken highly of by the ruled masses.
* As for the common people, they should handle their own farmer suicides, train wrecks, bridge collapses, hospital deaths, lynchings, rapes and so on.
Very logically, Banibrata Mahanta has commented on the absurd condition of democracy in India:
* We seem to be inhabiting two parallel worlds.
* One in which our political leaders campaign, fight elections, claim power and indulge in sterile rhetoric.
* Another, in which the citizens of the country grapple with lynchings, rapes, kills, and accidents on a daily basis.
* Both the worlds seem to have so little to do with each other. In fact, they are mutually exclusive.
The Minister is elected to listen to the concerns of the public. But, shocking as it is, he/she is more greedily vigilant to remain in power or seize it rather than earn it.
The prima donna of democracy
The coronation of our minsters as the lucky one, the powerful one, the chosen one, the orator of orators, the best dressed one – when did this telecast become an embodiment of democracy?
What is wrong about it, this is democracy, most argue.
* Day after day, we are assaulted with the loud heroics and exploits of politics in India.
* All this is done at the behest of the taxpayers’ time and resources. How criminal indeed!
* Instead of people’s demands, protests, and opinions being addressed, the minister is made a prima donna of democracy which is worsened by the hero-worshipping civilians.
Media is hogged by the minsters to address personal selfish needs, vendettas and rivalries, whereas the masses are either left unrepresented or misrepresented. This is what we can call hijacked democracy. In this version of democracy as is seen in India:
* It is considered that the only way to know a minister is by an excessive coverage of his lifestyle than his actions.
* That only through this sycophantic reporting, the political party or the candidate can remain under public’s supervision.
* It is also falsely shown that only by highlighting the deafening spectacles of the minster’s speeches and his twitters and posts, the public can inspect the hidden workings of the minister or prime minister.
* The public is made to believe that this is the only way to monitor his/her activities and it serves as the proof of People’s Power.
Consequently, the minister’s life must be represented right down to the nitty-gritty of his fashion statements rather than putting his actions under the scanner.
The love of the common man
The love, faith and trust of the common man is viciously turned into blind praise by highlighting the starry persona of the ruler.
While the ‘ruled’ common masses in their excessive admiration of their leader forget to check his actions and happily clap at the ridiculous drama of democracy.
What is even more terrible, that even when people protest against this drama, the minister might be removed or penalised. But the public have to accept a successor who will rule in a system cut out of the same cloth.
*It is not only the minister that needs correction alone, but the system which crowns him as a hero than a public servant.
The public servants of India
In the long course of governance, people are cunningly persuaded to accept the abuse of democracy as an upshot of a bad day and to move on. It is high time we got out of this sarcophagus of dead democracy.
* The civilian should irrespective of his political affiliations state his/her protest against the system. It is not only our right but also our duty.
* The ministers at the helm should be deterred and penalized when they gag the public from protesting.
* As for the civilians, it is high time hero-worship is stopped. Do not just swoon also check your leader’s actions.
* Consequently, the public ought to realize that ministers are public servants. Not divine heroes and heroines.