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A thought on democracy Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Ashish Bhandari, Nepal Sep 29, 2009
Political Thought , Human Rights   Opinions


One of my teachers told me, “Democracy is the rule of people by the people for the people.” I always used to run around these words, never knowing what they meant. I never cared whether it was autocracy or democracy; they never meant anything to me. And why should they? Since my childhood, the only thing I was taught about democracy was the very statement, “Democracy is the rule of people by the people for the people” and nothing else.

We used to mug up our Social Studies book when it came to examinations. We never knew the real meaning of democracy. It was our right, it was our utmost right to understand the civic issues of our country, to understand the governing principles of the country, it was our right to know what goes on and how things work out within and outside the governing body of a nation. But, tragically none of this happens in our country.

We studied that all the consumers have a right. They have a right to get quality products, they have the right to question the legality of a product and so on. But, nearest to my house, there is a cold store (as they call it). The owner of the shop is an advocate. Now the story goes, every time I walk out of my house to buy something, this is the first shop that I come across. I go there, ask for something I want, for example I asked for a pet bottle of Mountain Dew. The maximum retail price (MRP) indicated on the bottle was 35 but he charged me 40 saying that the prices have increased.

There are lots of other examples like in case of recharge cards for Namaste and Mero mobile, for a recharge card of Rs.50, the MRP indicated is Rs.51 but the shopkeepers or the sellers, they charge the customers Rs.55 and when a word is raised, some get offensive; some say it can’t be helped but none agree to sell it as it should be sold.

This is democracy as I have learnt. A rule where no voices can be raised and even if raised no one gives a damn about it. The only way to raise your voice for your freedom is by harming others' freedom, i.e. strikes and protests and they are not peaceful, mind it! I don’t know if it’s the protesters who want to make it that way or if it the officials involved who make it that way; whoever does it, a lot of people have to suffer and a new definition gets written in the minds of people: “Yeah! This is democracy”.



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Ashish Bhandari

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