Monday, December 7, 2009

The Gullible common Man!

Of late I have begun appreciating what my 9th standard history teacher once said in class; “Democracy was our only choice. We chose democracy because it was the least flawed system….” I did not understand and I did not ask for clarification. However, for some reason, such a mundane issue like the choice of the political system at independence lingered on in my mind. I could not understand how democracy was flawed. So what was that “…..of the people, by the people, for the people…..” all about? What more than the common man controlling the destiny of the nation could be better? I was sure there was something amiss.

Over the past couple of decades, I started seeing (but not realizing) events and incidents that underline how flawed a system democracy is. It almost sounds like some crazy conspiracy theorist spewing anti establishment rant when I cite the helplessness of the common man in democracy and how that helplessness is engineered by the establishment.

What control does the average Indian citizen have? As control is a function of information, what information does an average Indian have? How many of us know how much about the most burning issues facing our nation today? Let us do a quick audit…..

·         What is the Maoist problem? Who are these people? What do they want? Why are they feeling alienated?

·         What is all this hullaballoo over some Liberhan Commission report? What happened in Ayodhya? Who did it?

·         What happened in New Delhi, then Punjab, Godhra, then Gujarat, Kandhamal, Mumbai, Coimbatore?

·         What is the Telengana?

·         What is the 123 agreement and what is our stand on it? Did you see what happened in Parliament?

·         What is our policy on Iran, Palestine, China, Pakistan…..?


The list can go on…… We are guided by history that has been decided by people. What we believe is history is nothing more than the most accepted version of the actual events. In many cases, accepted history has nothing in common with what happened. The establishment creates history, then uses media to whip up a frenzy when it seems appropriate. And it is funny to see even the supposedly educated people fall victims to such campaigns.

Consider the three links:

 A Discussion on Chinese Incursions on a travel forum

An Article Rgarding the 71 War

An Article regarding the Ayodhya Issue

The first is a well meaning discussion on a travel forum and the other two are articles on the website of The Dawn. Look at how people are reacting to “news” of Chinese incursions. Read the articles and ask yourself if you knew that about the 1971 war or what the article about Ayodhya talks of?

Then is it surprising that few are able to take an entire nation to ride and that too with such ease and so often?

Now look at the following recent events:

1.       We voted against Iran on the nuclear issue.

2.       We gave a “figure” for emission cuts.

3.       We made the right noises about Pakistan post 26/11.

4.       We made the right noises on China, Palestine and Israel.

5.       Canada jumped on to the great Indian nuclear bandwagon, France already has and Russia is about to.

6.       ULFA leadership suddenly drops in our lap.

7.       Suddenly FBI is closer to solving the 26/11 riddle than we ever were.

8.       Pakistan charges seven on the eve of 26/11 anniversary. All of a sudden!

9.       India asks for greater role in Afghanistan and USA grants it!

10.   Why not consider, USA signing the 123 agreement with a nation which has not signed the CTBT or even the NPT?


Again the list can go on…….. I know I may be seeing ghosts here but if you connect the dots, you see India making gradual changes in state policy and get "rewarded" in the process. I know, I know..... I know it sounds too much but consider it!

So much is happening without us ever coming to know or we ever bothering to know. All this lack of information coupled with sponsored dis-information and mis-information makes the common man the most useless variable in the equation of governance.

1 comment:

Satindra said...

Democracy would be a flawless form of government in a Utopian world. In an ideal situation democracy could bring equality, peace, and prosperity to the masses. How many of us really think we live in an ideal world or in a Utopia? No one.
In a world run by corrupt and selfish politicians we get the government we deserve because we are not willing to stand up for even the basic right to life of the common people let alone the right to property and liberty and all that facade and pretense. Democracy at best is inefficient, unfair, and ineffective as there is a lack of a clear insight on the issues when voters have a hard time agreeing on the same objective. This is particularly true if the electorate is polarized during election debates on very passionate issues which are invariably raked up by the wily politicians. Most of the electorate is ignorant, uneducated and apathetic. They end up choosing a government that is corrupt and inefficient. All that is given but do we have an option. Like your history teacher said, 'it still is the least flawed system'. The only option is to have educated, empathetic, informed, and active electorate. How many of us will be that kind of electorate?