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Redefining Democracy

By Omar Javaid, Sr. Editor, Critic Magazine

The crippling economy, hostile neighbors, devastated judiciary, shamelessly stubborn and confused government, and a shattering socio-cultural fabric is fueling an outcry that ‘enough is enough’. The Question of “how to bring the change”, how to steer away from the pitfall very much visible ahead? Was never before so hot as it is today. However Despite all the discussions, debates, conferences, and seminars so far any practical and feasible solution seems more utopian then realistic. Some talk about revolution to be the ultimate solution, some talk about strengthen of democracy, few even back the idea of dictatorship on an assumption that we were better off during the Musharaf regime, some also talk about Islamization and Implementation of Khalifat, or independence of judiciary etc. however all these discussion and supposed solutions starts and end around the question of ‘what the change should be’ instead of the a bigger issues of ‘how, who and when’, even if there is an agreement on ‘What’.

It’s always a dead end, always because the constituents of ‘What’ are so global, so farfetched, that the whole proposition seems more theoretical, even utopian, and the results never seems guaranteed. It’s more of a clarification, recommendation, suggestion rather than a confession, and that’s exactly why most discussions are mere discussion never inspiring any action or inaction (evil triumphs).

Gandhi was right when he said “Be the change you want to see the world”, and our approach stands contrast. We blame every other person or institution and hold them responsible, even feel good and assume our job done, only by pointing fingers at the supposed evil. Saying of Edmund Burke goes “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph”.

Identification of root cause is half the problem solved, and the root cause is that we as individuals are braggers not doers; and let the evil triumphs and thrives. We fail to see what we can do inside our ‘circle of influence’ even if this circle is limited to our own selves; though demand the world to change. “Since I can’t influence a change at macro level so it’s better to follow the crowd” remains our assumption inspiring our inaction.

Its illogical to think about the change in society if we are stubbornly unwilling to bring any change within our circle of influence. It’s important for us to learn to have a more local rather than a global view. We must look within ourselves and find out ills demanding cure or habits urging to unlearn. Pointing fingers at others or looking beyond our circle of influence only satisfies our egos, but do help the ills and evils to prevail with our reach. Our efforts can bring change where it can and that’s only within ourselves and within our area of influence, that’s where our focus should be.

We tend to follow the crowd more than our moral sense, and blame the crowd for leading us toward mass failure, and do so because everyone else is doing so as well, i.e. resisting to analyze or realize their capacity to make a choice, and we follow, a vicious circle indeed. Also most undemocratic, though we intend to call it otherwise. Practically in the name of democracy, we create a facade to hide our mass mistakes, i.e. cover the global blunders under majority’s opinion; an excuse of our unwillingness to make a difference indeed.

Originally democracy should have meant believing and doing what is right for ourselves and for others, irrespective of what others think or react. Democracy for each individual means right is might, not majority. Democracy is about decentralization of solution rather than the very opposite, it’s about empowerment of our own free will. Realization of this very fact, frees us from the clutches of social inertia; frees us as individuals, free us to act with our own independent will (morally guided), free us to bring change right where we are standing, free us to bring revolution within ourselves and within our area of influence, and that’s exactly the most basic constituent of any revolution, i.e. revolution within circle of influence of the very individual.

And revolutionaries know exactly this; they don’t move the crowd but the individuals inspiring each of them to act exactly where they are standing. Revolutionaries ignite the need; show the consequences in individual’s context rather than social, paradoxically significant for every individual. They touch the basic chords of sentiments of the each person; inspiring him to act within his circle of influence.

We don’t have such a revolutionary among us, and if you are looking for one then you are the correct recipient of this message. We must make it very clear that only opportunity available at our disposal is very much visible when we see ourselves in the mirror, if it’s there then it’s a good news, if it’s not there, then I am sorry I can’t do more than this as it beyond my circle of influence. But I still hope that there would be many who would know what I mean and what Mother Teresa meant when she said

“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway.”


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