Saturday, December 08, 2007

A stray comment by Modi to Taslima - Is this democracy?

AHMEDABAD: Continuing to target Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said her description of him as a "merchant of death" was an "insult" to the people of Gujarat and warned there will be no let-up if her attacks do not stop.

So guys/girls, next time you insult me, you're insulting the people of Uttar Pradesh!

This ties to a previous post -

One of the weaknesses of democracy in third-world countries (yes! I believe we're still that) is that it gets reduced to the simplistic definition of ability to hold fair elections.

The foundation of democracy was the dawn of age of reason. The French revolution. Liberty Fraternity Equality.

From there emerged the concept of modernity. I will try to define that in the words I learnt from Dipankar Gupta's excellent Mistaken Modernity.

Modernity implies a base equality where all men are equal irrespective of birth and what they do. From this base, given the assumption of semblance of equal opportunity, they are equipped to distinguish themselves thereon. In our country, this would translate into good and complete education till school for everybody and college for those who want to study further.

Modernity implies respect for the dignity of the individual. In this aspect it is the complete opposite of totalitarianism - where the faceless state implies sacrifice of the individual at the altar of the collective.

Unfortunately, democracy in India has largely become a sham after the foundations laid by heroes like - Nehru very largely (*my opinion), Rajaji, Azad, Patel, Periyar, Kriplani, Morarji, my grandfather and others - due to the non-implementation of mass education reforms. Many a time what we see is the old feudal mentality in the cloak of democracy.

"Isne Indiraji ko gaali di... maaro sale ko"

What happened to Hussain, Taslima, Rushdie is not a symptom of democratic temperament - the symptom is inclusiveness of dissent and difference and not the fascist drive for syncretism and blanking out of everything we don't like seeing and hearing. Everybody gets the platform to air the opinions, people decide what to listen and ignore. As long as the means advocated do not violate the fundamental rights of others, let them air it out. Please note this caveat. Hitler would not be able to defend his anti-Semitic agenda under this as his means were violating the fundamental rights of Jews. Instead he could have demanded transparency, debate - for his grievances. If proved wrong, he would have to be willing to accept the decision; democracy implies adherence to these standards: it is not simply a tool for power.

Democracy is as much about listening than speaking.

No one man speaks for a state, religion , ethnicity.

If there are hundred men, and twenty demand something, they are still a minority. If they are 51, they are a majority they have some claim.

But if they are 85 demanding the violation of 11 - "Fuck you! you can be 99 and still you can't do it."

Despite the vibrancy of images of goatherds, burkha clad ladies, Rajasthani women in motley of colors and Bhils lining outside poll booths that is not democracy my friends. It's only the road.

Give them the choice, but also give them the abilities to make the right one.

Respect the individual.

Don't presume to be a state, a nation, a civilization that has stood weathered and tested for 5000 years, a tribe that has grown, grown and grown.


Anonymous said...

Can you xplain how it is communal when he points Shorabuddin...a terrorist.
When in these days of Muslim Appeasement what do you expect Modi to do.
Is Muslim Appaeasement ethical?
If Congress was diving India on Caste, Religion lines he is much, much better atleast he is uniting hinduism

Bland Spice said...

I was just commenting on this comment. I have changed the title accordingly.

vinayak said...

So you backed of when faced with a vitriolic "anonymous"?

Does this signify your passion for democracy?