DailyPost 1768

Through thick and thin,  the functioning of democracy will remain the same  has been the vision of the framers of our constitution. It was also presumed and quite rightly so, that it would in a manner become more robust with the passage of time  and would be in a position to deal with situations much better and also with ease. The use cases of democracy would keep on increasing and it would keep adding to the maturity of the system. It is like a operating system which should run as the common thread across all our systems; individuals, political parties, organizations, agencies et al. Can we find this similarity both functional and in thought process across board?

If not, is there a serious issue? Does the democratic functioning look and work differently under different dispensations? Most of us agree to the fact that it is a reality, which we are facing. This reality is distressing for the simple fact that the democracy is being calibrated as per the ruling dispensation, whatever be the party and whatever might be the area or time. A calibrated democracy can be the only way to describe this country. The biggest challenge is  that there is no urge to  be as close to ideal but deliberately to be as far away. The  effort is to give a semblance of being near it.

A calibrated democracy is one, where whatever may be the level of democratic dissonance, the verbal and written outpourings would be as per the copybook style. This is done with a clear cut objective of trying to attract the largest number of people for the longest period of time. While this drama is being played, the dissonance gets wider. Though never accepted, in case there is a dissonance later in time, they take solace from the example of the last big one. Democracy finds its own momentum. If it happens to be bad, it does not unruffle any of the practitioners, on the other hand they are happy and confident knowing the limits they can recklessly play around.

Democracy is the art of calibrating nearly everything as per its need. It would happen the other way round, was in no one’s thought. Might be this calibration, which we can term tweaking too, happened since the days of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Since then, we have found a variety of calibrations happening with every successive regime. Some tweaking / aberrations were brought back to normal after the passage of that regime, but lots have made an indelible mark (stayed on too) on the democratic functioning both at central and state levels. They have added into a critical mass, which makes the functioning of our democracy and our democratic institutions skewed many a time. Democracy is not  a rubber band which will get back to its old position on its own. Reverse engineering is the most difficult thing to perform.


Sanjay Sahay

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