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“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve”

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By Brig Sarvesh Dutt Dangwal (Retd)

Democracy, as Ogden Nash wittily observed, can sometimes lead to governance reflecting what we deserve. Take, for instance, the recent political turmoil in India. With a sitting Chief Minister, his Deputy, and another MLA from their party embroiled in legal battles, the chattering classes are in a frenzy of self-righteousness, reminiscent of Nash’s portrayal of the American middle class. For example, when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to substantiate bribery claims against the accused, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) intervened, leveraging the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to shift the burden of proof onto the accused. This misuse of legal mechanisms highlights a disturbing trend in our democracy where justice can be manipulated for political gain.

Consider the case of Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh of the AAP, who languish in jail without conviction, a stark contradiction to the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Their plight underscores the flaws in our legal system, exacerbated by political pressure and misuse of power. Furthermore, the involvement of corporate interests, illustrated by the dubious electoral bond system, further erodes the integrity of our democratic processes.

In the face of such challenges, it is imperative for the chattering classes, and indeed all citizens, to transcend partisan biases and demand accountability from those in power. Blind allegiance to charismatic leaders only perpetuates ignorance and allows manipulation for political gain. Instead, we must uphold the values of a true democracy, rooted in transparency, justice, and the collective welfare of the people.

The call to action reminds us that democracy is not a spectator sport but a responsibility we must actively engage in to safeguard our rights and freedoms. Only then can we truly uphold the ideals of a democratic society and ensure governance that reflects the will and welfare of the people.