Nuggets and Aphorisms

Food for thought. These first appeared in Amit Varma's blog, India Uncut

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Democracy and cricket

In our country, democracy is a bit like cricket: it's a spectator sport.
Ramesh Ramanathan of Janaagraha, on a show on NDTV 24x7 last evening.

While I believe that democracy is the only system of government we should have -- in fact, the only moral system -- I'm uncomfortable when I hear it offered as a justification for all kinds of things. Everything that a government does is not ok just because a majority of people voted for it, and what is popular is not necessarily right. Consider Gujarat; consider Germany 1933; consider Hamas.

That is why, important as democracy is, it is as important to have protections for minority rights and individual freedoms build into the constitution, so that no matter what the majority want, no matter what the government of the day is like, the relatively powerless have some basic protection. Naturally, this has to go land in hand with a strong and efficient legal system.

And do we have this in India? Heh.
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