14 March 2006

Power and democracy

In a democracy, power comes from its people.

No matter how much power India wields within its boundaries or internationally, one of its foundations has been to safeguard the freedom of its people. We don’t ride roughshod over others. And, we don’t disregard the cultural, social or religious rights of our people. On the contrary, we protect those who need our support.

Sometimes, this is a hindrance to our growth – or even to our political motivation. There’s always the temptation to make a compromise here or there; step on a few toes. After all, we have a lot going for us at the moment.

We are on the verge of becoming an economic power. Yet, we need to fight off protectionist barriers in various global forums that stand in our way.

With our build-up of military strength, we are also an emerging political power. Yet, in places, our borders are under dispute and we are unsure of some of our neighbours.

And most disturbingly, we are yet to control political instability in our country.

But, if in a democracy, power comes from its people, maybe there’s something we can all do to improve our situation. We can mitigate undemocratic ideologies or regimes that destroy our civil rights. We can introduce internal reforms in our social circles to accommodate and benefit from new systems and technologies. We can defend those who need our protection.

Therein lies the power of our democracy.

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