#8| The Age of Rising Centralization

Demos Cratos – The Rule of the People

Athens, Greece (BCE 510)

Through a relatively peaceful era the humans or Homo Sapiens have ever been through, we have become comfortable with this term, this ideology. The democracy is a political victory which we often take for granted. It has often been synonymous with freedom of speech, justice and liberty. Public opinion triumphs over the rule of one committee with great power. Yet in the harrowing reality unfolding in today’s world, we see the basic human rights being suppressed, people clinging to air force planes, children being thrown over barbed wire, gunshots ringing through frightened crowds and women afraid of venturing in the open without a burka.

This event unfolding in Afghanistan is the beginning of horrors that are about to be unleashed on this country

There is much to be said about the sad turn of events, but the world has quickly descended into blaming each other to take the fall. It is much easier to assign blame and move on from the depressing affairs, than restoring order and democracy. The other countries are not following suit as the USA did twenty years back, and rightly so. One school of thought says that no country would sacrifice their soldiers after Afghanistan’s own army has deserted their people. Patriotism has taken a serious hit, and it was a long time coming.

Every major political power in the world in the last decade has seen an uptick in abundance of faith upon a singular figure rather than the system. In some ways, the enforcing nature of the nuclear powered countries has triggered a reaction from the people in some contested regions, who just want to lead their lives the way they want. These people predictably, put all their trust, hopes and aspirations upon one capable leader who might start out great to restore their collective glory, but then descend into dictatorship and pointless violence. They then have no way out, and become collateral damage to ‘reactions’. Wars break out, lives perish, children are orphaned and thrown into starvation (see Syria).

About 5 million children have been born during the long standing Civil war of Syria. Picture credit: UNICEF

What everyone wants to know is, what is the way out of this recurring mess? When will the wars stop? First Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Syria and now Afghanistan again! Closer to homeland, the unrelenting attacks of China and Pakistan at our borders, claiming the lives of hundreds of soldiers, have desensitized us to the mindset behind these attacks. Both the countries want to take India, a sovereign democratic republic, under their thumb and operate it under a central authority. Both China and Pakistan are considered highly controlled experiments gone wrong in the history of humanity. Democracy is steadily taking a back foot. Very soon, much of the world will have autocrats reigning, instead of publicly chosen eligible figures.

The good principles of ethos, pathos and logos have been twisted by the influential dictators who now reside with supreme power. No single person in today’s world would be given heed if he or she didn’t have the power to sway and win the supports of common people.

The origin and meaning of the golden triumvirate

Ironically, they are the very qualities needed to sway people right before an election. Like many examples, these tools can be used both in a good and in a bad way, or one might coalesce the two extremes and say, in a pragmatic way. However, the ‘logos’ part is often ignored and people tend to take to heart the ‘pathos’ part. We do not need to look far: the Godhra train burning, the demolition of Babri Masjid, the 26/11 attacks and frequent communal riots fueled just by hatred and vengeance. But the heart of sustaining a democracy is only if we choose representatives delving into all three components equally, and at appropriate times. Even India stands at a critical juncture now. More than a charismatic leader pushed to a pedestal, the country needs a strong democratic system and government, which hears the voices of common people and keeps their welfare at the forefront of its agenda. Everyone working from the bottom to the top of the system has an obligation to the betterment of their nation, which is why I would never say that nationalism is wrong. Nationalism is very much needed, but not at the expense of basic human rights. This is exactly why the Taliban is wrong, and the democratic governments occupy the moral high ground.

Democracy: The least bad form of government. By https://www.young-diplomats.com

There is currently a huge uproar going on against the current US President Joe Biden for botched retraction of the US troops, but what some people seem to forget is, the deal was made by the Taliban with the former President, probably the most mocked President in history, Donald Trump. The decision was a mistake right from the start. It was no surprise that the Afghan people surrendered. Even a democratic country can have failed leadership which might catapult the whole world into pointless wars. It is imperative to choose your leaders well, so that democracy and its true purpose serves everyone and not only their countrymen. In the ancient world, the Greek, and subsequently the Romans, overthrew their tyrannical rulers and shunned imperialism, formed a Government where anyone among the common masses could rise to power and lead their people towards a better future. The system worked for centuries till the system became rotten, through those people themselves. It eventually signaled for a return to autocracy, ultimately leading to the society’s downfall. In the modern world, we can keep all this from ever happening again. This is how: Voting is a right and national duty that we Indians, men and women alike, have to exercise with ethos, pathos and most importantly logos, so that chaos and social regression can be avoided.

Electronic Voting Machine. Credit: The Asian Times
The Athenian Democracy. Credit: The Independent

Democracy is a slow process of stumbling to the right decision instead of going straight forward to the wrong one.


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