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What differentiates democracies from monarchies, communist regimes, dictatorships and the like is transparency. Transparency is clarion call of every democracy and everyone vows to work in that direction. In a govt of the people, for the people and by the people, the only way to remain connected to the main stakeholder is being transparent. Given the complex nature of the issue, one can safely say that there is nothing called full transparency, it can treated as an ideal. From a modern standpoint it implies openness, communication & accountability. It is certainly a mindset issue.

The battle of the mindset is between the democratic one & the vested interest one. The battle for larger transparency has been the battle for every democracy. Transparency means empowerment of the less privileged and the genuine custodians at the expense of the well entrenched interests. Every single milestone in this direction has happened only through civic action, bringing in immense pressure for legal enablement and finally it’s enforcement. The transparency of the present day is much more than anytime in human history.

Confidentiality is human nature & transparency gained ground to take care of common good in the fast increasing number of democratic govts & intensity of democratic functioning. Democracy V2 is getting popularised based on citizens demands and is radically different from the Version 1 of mid twentieth century. What best describes transparency? The unanimous answer would be information. Information is not an end product, it fuels the engine of transparency in wide and varied ways, the ramifications of a which we understand as the time passes by, if somebody is able to show an used case. Transparency makes nations / societies / enterprises robust.

From Panama Papers to the Paradise Papers, all manifest the stink lack of transparency can create, eating into the vitals of every system and public position created for common good. Trump’s has still not made his tax returns public. The whole of US administrative & investigative machinery is fully embroiled in Trump’s Russian connection in the 2016 elections. It’s a mockery of what democracies stand for. Transparency has to be strengthened, it cannot be allowed to be defeated. It is our shared destiny.


Sanjay Sahay

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