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Challenges of Democracy in the Global Scenario

At the conference held in America on July 4, 1776, the United States of America was unanimously declared by the merger of 13 states: ‘We believe in the axiom that all human beings are created equally, the Creator gave them some Endowed with non-extractable entitlements, some of them are-life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. In order to safeguard these rights, citizens create an institutional administrative system for themselves, and thus govern the just power enjoyed by the formed government. Obtained with the consent of the public.

So this was the view of the founders while creating the United States of America. Although it was said that all human beings were created equally, at that time millions of blacks of African origin in America were enslaved and kept as bonded labor in the fields of the Southern Zone. They were not treated like humans and made to do everything that white Americans would not like to do on their farms or in their homes. They were forbidden to move freely and use government transport. It took more than a century for permission to travel in public transport and to sit in the seats of their choice took more than a century. Told to say that ‘the just power given to the government comes from the consent of the people governed’, but blacks did not have the right to vote. Even white women did not have the right to vote. After much struggle, women got the right to vote in the year 1918 and blacks in the year 1870. Due to the wide gap between the whites and the blacks, equality has not been fully maintained even today. Donald Trump had gained power by exploiting this divide and while in the chair, gave more air to this fire and is giving it even today. He has been able to convey to his supporters that the election results have been ‘snatched’ from him and a large section of his admirers also believe in it. On January 6, 2021, Trump nearly overthrew the White House by his supporters having captured the White House.

Meanwhile, the number of attacks on blacks has increased, every time they are being attacked in schools, malls, etc., the purchase of different types of weapons by panicked people has increased manifold. Overall, the whole scenario is uncertain and the US Republic seems to be sitting at the mouth of a volcano that could erupt at any time.

At the same time, even more dangerous developments are going on. That is, efforts are being made to bring such laws in Republican Party ruled states, which will deprive minorities from voting. The intention behind this is to reduce the voter base of the Democratic Party. Efforts are also underway to enact such a law, which would give the state legislature the right to overturn official election results.

President Joe Biden has realized the very serious challenge posed to democracy, so he has specially appointed the Vice President to devote all his attention and time to leading the fight against anti-democratic forces. Biden is on a tour of European countries, where he is trying to organize democratic nations and develop a strategy to fight together with anti-democratic forces.
In this article, I have given so much space to describe the American scenario, because we consider that country as the beacon of civil liberties and democratic values and the father of democratic system for the rest of the world. Although America has always been ready to establish democracy in countries around the world, but at the same time it also appears to support dictatorial systems in some countries of Latin American, Middle East and Africa. The reason behind this is to take care of its strategic and economic interests and America has also fought many battles to accomplish this task.

In the Cold War era, the world was clearly divided between Soviet and Western camps—that is, between countries with dictatorships and democratic systems. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, although many countries had left the Soviet camp, the only change in most was that the leftist system was replaced by a dictatorial regime. Of course, many countries have joined the NATO organization, but many still remain under the influence of Russia. Wherever elections were held, dictators crushed the opposition. In short, the dictators took power as soon as the leftist system collapsed and America, Russia and China also started accompanying them. In such countries, there is no republic, only a few institutions that are masked by the ruling party are seen pretending to have free speech, limited religious freedom, free media etc.

Even in Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan etc. ‘Democratically elected dictators’ are ruling. Voter intimidation, rigging and various forms of coercion take place in elections. Even though the right wing wave is gaining momentum in the UK and the West, which is a threat to democracy, the republic still prevails there.

The above description is just a short overview of the current form of democracy on the global scene. The question arises: What is the reason behind this: Why do we always choose a leader who seems to deviate from democratic norms? Why does a person insist on concentrating more and more power in his hands, whether legal or illegal or deceitful? First of all, the family is the place from where one’s authoritarian attitude is recognized. This is further reflected in the workplace and eventually becomes more apparent in governance. One of the biggest obstacles in the way of becoming an enlightened democracy is the lack of proper education system. We are no longer using modern methods to teach and meditate our children.
Western countries are more open about this, especially in the education system, which encourages reflection and research among students. On the other hand we discourage asking questions in the classroom because our education system is designed for rote learning. As a result, our universities seldom find any kind of research, while peers in the US, UK and European countries make surprising discoveries. Some students have even won Nobel Prizes during their studies, some have held important positions in well-known multinational companies, while many are engaged in sophisticated discoveries. If we want to become a powerful country in the world and a country with democratic values, then there is a need to radically reform our education system, where there is encouragement to reflect and present our different perspective, there should be a lot of money for research in universities.

In democratic societies where free thought and dissent is not encouraged, leadership tends to be unilateral decision-making and authoritarian. Transparency decreases in governance and the direct access of the public does not reach the leader. This further alienates the leadership and civilians, and the governing body becomes more dependent on the security forces, police and administrative staff. Government officials who become courtiers indulge in loyalty because they get it done because of the power and benefits of power. Sometimes a private army of political goons is created to intimidate people or to mobilize crowds in meetings and processions. All this together provides a solid foundation for the leader to hold strong and he tends to become more brash and domineering once he has secured his place. As in the case of Trump in America, when there has been an attempt to defy the Constitution and democracy. Such acts can be stopped or stopped only by the combined will of the people. Anyway, the saying goes: ‘The price of freedom has to be paid with constant vigilance.’

So far I have not mentioned my country in the article because here too there are many vulgarities from which other democracies are suffering. Apart from this, the disease which we have been inheriting for thousands of years is our varna system. Successive governments have made mere sham efforts to rectify the unjust social order that this system has given to us affecting crores of people, but are continuing this evil practice. Caste-Varna distinctions are the ingredients used by British rulers to master the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy and we are implementing it in education, employment and elections. The aim of the British rulers was to increase the duration of their rule by fueling the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric, our people are using it to take electoral advantage and to form the basis of centuries-old enmity. By doing this we have not only weakened the democratic process but also the democracy itself.

What’s next? We have seen that neither at home, nor in society or government, democratic values are not encouraged. So is dictatorship better? That is, of an individual and a particular group? For this I have nothing but to repeat the words of a learned elder, and his name is Sir Winston Churchill—he was a seasoned politician, a determined leader in wartime and a great historian. He said: ‘In this world full of sin and trouble, there have been attempts to create different systems of polity to this day and there will be more. But one cannot pretend that the democratic system is the best or better than the rest. In fact, it is said that the democratic system is the worst form of governance, except those that have been tried from time to time.

I completely agree with that statement: ‘In this system (democracy) you and I have the right to vote, we have a voice to raise, we have our views. Whereas in a dictatorship, you don’t have one of these, there is room for freedom and maybe even death.