DailyPost 2360

Public domain discourse is the key to democratic functioning and democratic life. The health of public domain debates is the sine qua non of democracy. The fertile interplay of ideas is at its core and who can deny the fact that democracy itself is a product of it. The temperament, tenor and grace in any debate decides whether it is democratic or not. The other touchstone is whether is intellect based, evidence based, data based, logic based, and having a good sprinkling of democratic conventions and traditions. It brings in wisdom way beyond what is available in books or any media or in any knowledge repository format.

The aim is not to prove a point by hook or by crook, to prove oneself right cannot be the sole objective of a debate. Now what we find that even if one has visibly lost in the public debate, the debate is carried on like a fight, relentlessly and endlessly. The purpose of a democratic dialogue, discourse or debate is to find a solution and that too the best one. To improve our mental horizons as much as we can, is certainly one of the non-professed goals of democratic debates. Together we will and together we can find a solution to the trickiest of the problems is the thought behind.

Defending the indefensible is one the not so hidden goals of democratic debates. Making any effort /preparation for a debate has become a thing of the past. My agenda should gain currency, whatever come may. The very basic of democratic debates seem to have become non-liberal over last so many decades. Power only matters and nothing else. Herd mentality has come to stay. Why should I stick my neck out? In the backdrop the public domain, unfortunately, has become a* crazy combination of noise* of different types and also silence of different types.

Noise can range from the anchor enabled prime time national / other channels debates to the furniture hurling, fist fighting / shouting et al in the legislature. The silence can be from no comments or I don’t want to a deafening silence, when forced to reply to serious allegations levelled. Diverting a debate is also tantamount to silence. Preferring only one mode of communication; primarily one way delivery rather than providing opportunity to be questioned, is being proficient in the art of subtle silence. The tragedy of democratic dialogue is that the main characters don’t talk directly. They don’t engage with the world from a common platform. They don’t talk / debate in times of crisis. Petty spokespersons are made to indulge as in cockfights. You have the choice to vomit out your stench in separate press conferences. Or else you have the social media to indulge in debates / conversations / posts to debase individuals, institutions and democracy itself.

Sanjay Sahay

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