Even though it is still winter in Delhi, political atmosphere has started heating up, with assembly elections scheduled for early next month. With it, discussions on social media sites and on the streets have started gaining momentum to an extent that it is becoming impossible to remain untouched by it, even if you try your best to avoid them. And it is at moments like these, I wonder, whether we are actually ready for democracy, even though we attained it 67 years ago, thanks to the sacrifice of our freedom fighters.
After all, irrespective of which political party a person is supporting these days, main aim of majority of people seem to be to try and silence opposing view. Worse still, our politicians seem to be throwing less muck at each other than us citizens, who are taking sides as if it isn’t an election, rather a discussion involving fate of our kin.
Even worse are our supposed liberals and intellectuals, who talk about freedom of speech, but at the same time, seek to silence views of those, they term as conservative. Conservatives of course are like conservatives elsewhere, so they seek to silence anyone who doesn’t agree with their views.
So in the end, we end up in a scenario, where everyone is trying to silence everyone else and at the cost of the very thing that makes a democracy, democracy; our freedom of speech.
That is why I firmly believe that we Indians need to learn a thing or two from other mature democracies in the world and learn to engage in political discourse in such a manner, that it no longer leads to bitter memory for those participating in it and rather becomes an exchange of idea and ideals, where everyone can share his/her view, without being judged or worse still, executed for them.
I also feel we have to start giving freedom of speech higher regards than we give at the moment and value not only our own right to speech and expression, but also of those people, whom we may not agree with, but yet are ready to listen to them patiently, if only to use it to mock them later.
I guess the time is ripe to stop having discussions related to one procedure of democracy i.e. elections and rather have an open discussion related to what democracy ought to be and how it’s very fabric should be woven to preserve the natural right and thoughts of each individual, who choose to participate in it.