The World’s Largest Democracy

The World's Largest Democracy

It’s election time in south India and the propaganda is overspilling onto the streets.

Is it just coincidence that so many members of the Gandhi/Nehru family have been in power in this country?

Or that George Bush Junior followed in the footsteps of his father?
Could there be another reason?

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar commented that democracy – so often deified as the one true path – amounts to nothing more than mob rule. Since politicians are required to win as many votes as possible, their policies are naturally watered down and thoroughly conservative.

What percentage of the average electorate can be considered to be politically educated or, dare I say, wise? When the population of a country votes according to the views of mass media and political broadcasting, what hope is there of truly progressive leadership? In our society, we find the lowest common denominator being the guiding principle…

Could we imagine our nations being governed by the wise? And what if these sages had absolute power… Would their benevolent dictatorship improve on our flawed democracy?

Would the moralist revolutionaries please step forward! You time is coming now

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6 Responses to The World’s Largest Democracy

  1. Madhava says:

    I like your article … a couple of questions;

    How does that work then … ‘Since politicians are required to win as many votes as possible, their policies are naturally watered down and thoroughly conservative.’?

    How would we choose the ‘sages’ to govern – would that not also be a voting mechanism of some kind?

    Is it not true that as the consciousness of society itself expands the sort of policies that politicians need to adobt in order to win power come more and more in line with the expansive and ‘wise’?

  2. Premasagar says:

    Madhava said:

    How would we choose the ’sages’ to govern – would that not also be a voting mechanism of some kind?

    Most rulers come to power through either democratic election or forceful takeover.

    At the collapse of Communism in the late 1980′s, some of the Eastern Bloc countries changed their leadership in a bloody way (e.g. Romania) and some in a peaceful way (e.g Czech Republic).

    In countries where there is greater social freedom and a more intellectual population, political change can be enacted through negotiation, rather than physical force. But in some situations, physical force will surely be used as a last resort.

    Is it not true that as the consciousness of society itself expands the sort of policies that politicians need to adobt in order to win power come more and more in line with the expansive and ‘wise’?

    Absolutely. This is a very good point. That is why social action as simple as ethical shopping and taking a stand on important issues does make a difference.

    The only drawback is that it takes a long time for the majority of an electorate to agree on important social issues. Some would say that the process takes too long when it comes to, for example, environmental issues. Unfortunately, the best choice for the world can often be in opposition to one’s own material comforts. Hence, it can be very difficult to convince the majority that a particular change of policy is necessary. We will see the results of these types of issues as irreversible climate change starts to affect us all in the coming years.

    While democratic reform can (at best) bring positive evolution in a society, sometimes I feel we need nothing short of a positive revolution to redress the imbalance in our world.

  3. Madhava says:

    Like The Mahabharata you mean? The Moralists vs the Imoralists. Certainly I agree, the moralists should unite now and fight the negative forces in our society in whatever way necessary.

    I’m still not clear though on how, once evolution or revolution has delivered a political system resting on a benevolent dictatorship, how those forming the governing body of this holy aliance would be chosen. Must it be internal selection and appointment?

  4. One evening in 1990, P.R. Sarkar said, “Democracy is the best system in the world today. There is no other comparable alternative. But a day will come when democracy will become ‘demonocracy’! The exploiters will destroy democracy. At that time, PROUT will be the answer.”

    In my opinion, the ideal political system will still be democracy. More emphasis should be on:
    1. That candidates must publish their campaign promises and be held accountable if they break them.
    2. Collective leadership, with committees and boards
    3. Coordinated cooperation

  5. Premasagar says:

    Thank you Madhava and Dada Maheshvarananda for your comments. Madhava, I will try to answer your questions with some quotes from Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar’s “Discourses on Prout” (2nd edition, 2004) – which is a collection of the first six discourses he gave on the Prout socio-economic theory, in 1959.

    The last quote deals with how the government could be formed in a benevolent dictatorship and the preceding quotes give further background to democratic government…

    On democratic governments:

    There are several forms of governmental structure, and among them the democratic structure is highly appreciated. Democracy is defined as “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” But in fact it is the rule of the majority. Hence democracy means “mobocracy” because the government in a democratic structure is guided by mob-psychology. The majority of the society are fools; wise people are always in a minority. Thus, finally democracy is nothing but “foolocracy“.
    Discourses on Prout, p.23

    On politicians:

    The motive of the politicians is only to capture power. They befool the public with high-sounding words. Therefore, it is necessary that the public should be politically educated, because in that case politicians will not be able to cheat them. The time is sure to come when all their cheating tactics will fail to produce any effect, and the public will snatch away their mask of social service.
    Discourses on Prout, p.21

    On corruption:

    In the democratic framework of society, the government may be very keen to pass laws to check corruption, but the government is not equally keen to enforce those laws, because the leaders have to depend upon the votes collected through the media of influential antisocial elements.
    Discourses on Prout, p.23

    On forming a government in a benevolent dictatorship:

    The best form of government is the [benevolent] dictatorship of the sadvipras [spiritual moralist revolutionaries]. The sadvipras will elect a dictatorial board and that board will elect ministers and a chairperson. The chairperson will be the constitutional head. If the chairperson cannot carry out his or her duties efficiently, the board will replace him or her by electing another chairperson. As a principle, individual dictatorship cannot be accepted.

    The sadvipras will select good persons to carry out the executive duties in the governmental and non-governmental spheres. They will also nominate top-ranking officials. The board will have power to dismiss them if they are found unfit for any responsibility. The synthetic portion will dictate policy matters and the analytic portion will execute the accepted policy. Thus our socio-economico-political structure will be selecto-electional.
    Discourses on Prout, p.24

  6. It was Mark Twain that wrote in the Book Tom Sawyer (referring to a spot in the book when two crooks were discussing their exploitation scheme): “We have the fools on our side and that is the majority in any town.” Yes, democracy is really a “foolocracy” in most cases in the world today, but maybe not in the future under better conditions with less distortions fool the voters.

    My daughter just got back from Thailand. She said that when George Bush’s name is spoken in Thailand that the people start laughing. It is not a laughing matter, but at least it is a start in the right direction.