DailyPost 2334

Brandishing concepts, promises and the superficial wherewithal of democratic functioning does not change harsh reality on the ground. Robustness of the democracy is created by blood, sweat and toil, the transformation that is brought amongst the masses. Elections and other democratic paraphernalia need to be there for it function, but at the core is the transformation towards an all-comprehensive equality. We have all sort of divides in the country; free ration, poverty line, NREGA employment moving on literacy and it goes on and on. We are not getting into the oft quoted digital divide, it reaches them for some services but they are not enabled to exploit it.

The powers that be talk about the democratic dividend in a very copybook style. Have we been able to extract the democratic dividend? Or is our ecosystem incompetent to make this change? The masses who are supposed to be in this definition of democratic dividend are generally at the receiving end of democracy. For whom the democracy delivers are now been made very clear to democratic India. Rest are all hangers on, waiting for the crumbs of democracy. Democratic dividend now seems to be a mirage for all times, because it entails some mandatory enablers which are missing out of our system completely. Only young age and being populous does not deliver democratic dividend.

The much-proclaimed democratic dividend was not delivered as it was on no one’s agenda but for talking. Instead, what was delivered is Democratic Divide. What is democratic divide? It means that as a citizen you fulfil all your obligations, with nothing barring you of democratic benefits the law enables it for you and still you are denied of it. It is done so surreptitiously that the man at the receiving end does not even realize it. Whatever crumbs of democracy he gets he takes it as God’s gift. The gift givers are on the other side of democratic divide. Getting free ration which might not entail two square meals a day, leave aside the nutritional value is the Indian democracy for him.

Anybody who has not been allowed to know of his rights, to think about it, leave aside the courage to claim it, is certainly on the wrong side of the democratic divide. Free ration and other such divine perks on the one side and spectre of second wave type deaths / in normal times ill health and disease, certainly not good health facilities are again for the ones on the wrong side of the digital divide. The ones on right side of the democratic divide move in convoys, while the ones on the wrong keep watching it passing by. Power, influence, money, education, health they have it all. And unfortunately, all these are derived through the democratic sources and avenues, through elections, or clearing exams, or through variety of other ways, democracy allows for. They live at the crossroads of democracy, feudalism, third world and the first world, in their world of their own, which they have carefully crafted out of democracy.

Sanjay Sahay

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