DailyPost 2089

Democracy quite contrary to the accepted thought process does not live in the laws, pillars of the state, fourth estate, the high and lofty institutions, the structured processes and above all the human beings who adorn the constitutional positions. All these are available in democracies but each is different, even in terms of freedom of speech and the level to which humor can be tolerated. Today, a large number of structures on the democratic list mentioned above, can be found in non-democracies as well. If someone thought that if all the hardware of democracy is put in place, it will start functioning on its own and delivering what it is supposed to, then we are missing the woods for the trees. We have lived by this fallacy and continue to live on the same fallacy, proving day in and day out that everything is hunky-dory.

What is then the magic sauce of democracy and how does it come to life? What is the gestation period? And when can we call it a matured democracy? The customs, conventions, processes, etiquette, mode of expressions, access and privileges, decency, decorum, precedents being created, some stalwart’s demeanour on the position they hold, watershed moments, its learnings, and over and above all a mindset totally tuned to democratic values is a true democracy in action. The democratic mindset emanates out of a combination of institutions / pillars of democracy and the non-tangibles which get created out of its operation, together the functioning equilibrium of a robust and vibrant democracy.

The brick and mortar of institutions and the people who adorn it can be created by the laws and rules that govern it. Its real strength starts getting created by how the persons who run it carry themselves. How much do they understand the real value of that institution, and if they are trying relentlessly to achieve it? Crisis handling is a great knack which through people, the institution learns. It also learns how to manage the watershed moments in the life of the institution. The codified and uncodified systems and processes become the mainstream way of the existence of a robust institution. When we enter an institution, this is what you encounter, you may call it institutional culture, the overall way of life. Same is the case with the functioning of legislature, quality and tenor of debates, parliamentary decorum and the life woven around it. Ditto for the development and positioning of the judicial administration of the country.

Democracies can grow only through organic growth to reach maturity, stating the obvious. The gestation period is also likely to be long. In the life of nations and democracy, what is important is not the time taken, but how well it takes roots and makes the nation bloom. Any effort to put the cart before the horse does not work, nor can an abrupt change, which can again bring back the wheel the initial state, in whichever institution / democratic process, it is tried. This would then take a longer time and would not be in consonance with other institutions of the state. To consolidate the democratic gains is the normal trajectory of any democracy and it cannot become the banyan tree, in any other manner. We also find people who fiddle with the already achieved democratic gains to the detriment of its consolation. Crisis based tweaking has to be accommodated in our own interest.


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