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Expressing the greatness of democracy Abraham Lincoln said, “Government by the people, of the people and for the people”. India boasts of being the largest democracy in the world. The General election in India is considered a festival of democracy. Unfortunately our politicians have exposed their hypocrisy and proved that they are misfit to be leaders of this great nation. Democracy needs statesmen who keep up dignity in their public debates and respect their opponents. Politicians of all parties in India have committed the crime of lowering the democracy to street fights with abusive and arrogant language. Instead of dignified political debates they have indulged in vulgar personal attacks. They have proved that none of them deserve to govern the country. Democracy and constitution are not safe in their hands.

‘BUY’ the people : Our politicians and elections have changed Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy. Votes of people are bought with money, leaders are purchased and change their loyalty overnight and seats for election are bought with money. People’s judgement is not the determining fact, instead purchasing power of candidates and parties decide the results and formation of government. After the election government is formed not by the power of people but by the money power. The amount of cash recovered from various candidates and people connected with various political parties recently expose the hypocrisy of democracy. People are made victims and puppets.

‘OFF’ the people: Today in our democracy and government, people have no significance. After purchasing their votes for money they are packed off and forgotten for the next five years. Welfare of the people is not a concern for the leaders of ruling party and opposition. The laws which are made are mostly anti people. Instead of acting as servants of people, ministers and leaders act as kings and emperors. They are not accessible to the common people. Only industrialists and the rich get their work done. Policies and programmes of the government are made for the benefit of the rich. People are constantly brainwashed with the drug of religion, caste and region. They are brainwashed and deprived of any critical thinking. After keeping the people off, the industrialists and multinationals continue exploiting the nation.

‘FAR’ the people: During the elections all politicians reach out to the poorest of the poor in the remote villages and urban slums with all kinds of promises. They identify with them and eat with them. They pretend that they and their party are for them and for their welfare. Once the elections are over both the winners and losers keep themselves far away from the people for the next five years. People cannot reach them with their difficulties and demands.

Seeing the corruption and lack of vision of political leaders once a top government official shared his concern during a personal conversation in these words: “Our country was neither ready for independence nor for democracy”. In fact early years after independence our country had perfect democracy because our leaders were statesmen. They had decency and respect for their opponents. All of them had concern for the people irrespective of their caste, religion and region. Today our political leaders have failed us. They do not have basic understanding of democratic values. They cheat people by exploiting their religious and caste sentiments. They succeed brainwashing the people by misusing propaganda machine. It is a pity that even educated people and youth are brainwashed to believe lies. They are blindly supporting the criminals and those who disrespect the Constitution and the universal values it promotes.

When elections are round the corner writers and speakers speak of preserving constitution, pluralism and democracy. Preserving and promoting universal values enshrined in the constitution should be a full time and an all season mission. Negative forces and fundamentalists are at work with great vigour. Young people are more vulnerable and brainwashed by the corrupt politicians and fundamentalist organisations. People who believe in democracy, pluralism and democracy need to work full time for this sacred mission. Giving democratic education and promoting universal values enshrined in the constitution should be made a priority by those who run the educational institutions. Every responsible citizen should take this difficult task as an urgent and sacred mission. It is a long term mission. A narcissist Hitler destroyed Germany, yet it rose again from the ashes. Proactive efforts of responsible citizens can prevent the destruction and preserve true democracy “of the people, by the people and for the people”.

(Published on 06th May 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 19)