Friday, November 21, 2008

What Democracy!

You must read this article here, by Ramesh Ramanathan.

A disturbing encounter

This is what a 'common man', the 'man on the street' actually aspires for, but does not get.

And this, probably, is what we as a society need to demand and get from our leaders and administrators.


Indian Home Maker said...

A murderer disapproves of Democracy? Aww Helpless poor thing, democracy forced him to become a criminal :(

Democracy and freedom don't come easy, you have to work hard for them. The best thing about Democracy is you can decide how it works, by voting, not voting, voting for the wrong leaders for the wrong reasons ...

And for anybody who hopes for a benign monarch, who do you think should be that monarch? Sorry! Monarchs are not chosen, they rule by taking away your right to 'choose'. We got a sample taste of Monarchy (like situation) during the Emergency. Need a repeat? You'll see it very soon, just before the coming elections.
And if you choose, after the elections also.

This murderer deserves to be where he is - and he is happy there. Good. Stay there.

Does it matter said...


Democracy per se did not make him a criminal. Of course.

The lack of education would have.
The lack of job opportunities would have.
The social discrimination would have.
The disparity between the rich and the poor would have.
Seeing that everything favours the rich and the powerful would have.
Seeing that crime DOES pay, would have.

You live in an ideal world, believing in the power of a vote. When that vote is going to make no difference because the election might be rigged, or the candidates are all lousy and corrupt, or votes can be bought with a bottle, or can be got by divisive or communal means, or whatever.

What the cab driver was saying was NOT that democracy is worse than monarchy. He is saying what use is democracy to him, when it could not let him live an honest and comfortable life - I know I know, there are scores (crores?) of honest poor people in India - I am talking of being honest and living a comfortable existence **BOTH** at the same time.

And until we have leaders that will be able to deliver these basics, you will continue to have mockery of elections. And you will have the common man disillusioned with democracy.

And, you said, freedom & democracy came hard. Exactly the point. Today it has come a little too easy for everyone, and there is really no value attached to them.

You would be surprised how many people feel that if Sanjay Gandhi had lived, India would have been a better place. Obviously freedom and the emergency have different connotations for diff people.

Saying the murderer deserves to be where he is - is easy. All we will give him is the right to vote. His right to a decent honest & comfortable life, can wait.

After all, it just takes Rs 18 per day to not be poor, in Mumbai. Our job is done.

wordjunkie said...

The system forced him to be a criminal! This is a man who has fled a system out of fear of the repurcussions of what he has chosen to do. The system did not let him get away, a few crooked individuals like him did. And it is fear that keeps him upright in his new home, not his own good deeds. Thank God for a democracy where a man like that cannot live easy, and a system that, however flawed, would have ultimately caught up with him.

Anonymous said...

The man was right. What good is democracy to him? He explained his position quite well and we are so quick to jump down his throat about what he has done. Should he pay for his crime? Sure. But, where's the functional system? There is much value to what he is saying. Hopefully, that will cause the author to create, not seek, change in India. If he got out of the taxi and wrote up this article without getting active after an encounter like that, then the taxi driver is even more correct! As a citizen of the United States, I wholeheartedly see his point. There is corruption everywhere. Only here, it's so out in the open and so frequent that people have become apathetic to the situation. They know things are wrong, but will use their vote, at best, to ease their frustration. *sigh* Makes you wonder what really comes after this life sometimes.

sunder said...

Well India is a country of Billion people...To compare with Dubai..hmm

You should see the fabric of society of dubai..80% are expats who have come to earn money and are why they indulge in illegal activities...

How many high profile personlaities caught with drugs were left without punishment..well ask any lady what is the experience of walking alone in dubai..

rain girl said...

comparison between any two countries is immature. we as people need more out of this country, true. not because people in some other countries are better, healthier. but because we need our basic rights straightened out.

btw, how much do we give to our country? tax evasion? bribery? ever heard of them?

as for the cab driver, the democracy, the law and all that jazz... i am no one to comment on it. no one to judge him.

Deeps said...

Its because of democracy only that we are able to discuss about this issue and so many other sordid issues.We,as citizens of a democratic nation have the right to express our opinions the way we want.We have the right to publish our outpourings in media,just like the way Mr Ramanathan did. We can criticise our government and if need be even throw them out of power. Try doing that in a monarchy and you will be barred for life!
I've been in the middle east for the last 6years and I'm yet to come across a publication which is critical of its monarch,leave alone the crimes happening here.
I wont say Democracy made him a criminal,the lack of awareness would have.

Having said that I'm urging our beloved politicians to just read Mr Ramanathan's article and try avoiding another shakeel from becoming a criminal and make our country safer to live.As driver Shakeel said 'everyone aspires for a clean life'. Writing a book,acting in a movie or going for an all expense paid international holiday with your 20-member family can happen later also.

Trailblazer said...

Hmm. The piece speaks volumes. But it still down to us. The people. Everything can function if the people WANT it to. Even a democracy as large as India's.

What is the ideal thing to do? If you commit a murder, surrender. Realize the consequences and the path taken to "waste" your own life by you yourself.

If such things dont happen, how will democracy work. And how is democracy to blame? People need to check their own moral standing before blaming democracy.

WE spoil the system BEFORE the system spoils us.

Trailblazer said...

It is we who take the FIRST STEP to messing up. And then the system picks it up from there and adds its own systematic mess-ups to our lives and we go on to blame the system without realizing that the system cannot mess up with you unless you want it to.

The taxi driver wanted it too. And he is nothing more than an escapist low on morals.