Comments on: Pakistan, India and the value of democracy Perspectives on Pakistan Thu, 01 Oct 2015 19:31:05 +0000 hourly 1 By: siddharthamithu Fri, 06 May 2011 19:05:53 +0000 Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty\'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.
– Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101.

By: pakistan Tue, 05 Oct 2010 10:50:16 +0000 Democracy does not mean the Govt. of illetrates, by the illetrates and for the illetrates! These are the words of the former legal advisor to the declassified former dictator.
Democracy means equal chances for all in education. employment and human rights. The one thing should be the free education for all. Let us not discuss other features of the democracy, which some western nations have acquired over centuries, which is now part of their culture.
Rex Minor

By: pakistan Mon, 27 Sep 2010 20:03:59 +0000 Gentle men, let us hail democracy the best thing long term to give freedom to people. The devolution process in Democracy is now separating Scotland from the union, the mother of modern democracies.
Let us wish every country democracies so that people eventually gain freedom from the centeralised world diovided in countries.
Rex Minor

By: NPegasus Mon, 20 Sep 2010 21:27:02 +0000 Unlike that in the West, in India political, economic and social emancipation is happening simultaneously. This confuses the western observers. Indian democracy is in its adolescence but it’s vibrant and real.

The nation building project in Pakistan is stunted while that in India is free flowing, inclusive absorbtive, experimentative, and often messy. In the end, democracy without good governance is of little value. Comparing dictatorships with democracies is like comparing apples with oranges.

By: G-W Mon, 20 Sep 2010 21:11:59 +0000 Guys,

At the end of the day, Pakistan’s problem is poor governance and militantism.

Unfortunately, the different political streams, all vying for power, don’t care what is truly best for the people and the nation as a whole.

Everybody is busy pointing fingers and there is a lack of courage and a lack of moral will to do the right thing in Pakistan.

The present course will continue and Pakistani’s will continue getting dragged through the mud.

By: 777xxx777 Mon, 20 Sep 2010 15:09:48 +0000 In engineering 1st year we are taught a subject called “metallurgy”. There is a topic in that on “Alloys”. An alloy is a mixture of metals in different proportions. Metals are extracted from earth and are nature made. Each metal has some good and bad. Like nickel has low tensile strength but do not rust while on other hand iron has very high tensile strength but easily rust. So mixing iron and nickel in correct proportion gives us steel, an iron alloy that has very high tensile strength and yet do not rust.

You guys must have got my idea by now. Yes we should have a system that gets in best of all worlds. And democracy tries to achieve same. Key is to mix things in correct proportions. In democracy it may take hundreds of years to find right mix but democracy DOES ALLOW to mix and match and find right combination for good governance as per prevailing times. So democracy is a larger framework wherein people can work out what is best. It may be sharia for pakistan and may be capitalism for India. So we need democracy to find the good for ALL.

By: KPSingh01 Sun, 19 Sep 2010 23:24:41 +0000 G-W,

I think Pakistanis like Umair put democracy down for different reasons – India has adopted it and has become good at it. Therefore, their pride prevents them from acknowledging that is a real accomplishment by a country they’d like to view as an adversary at all costs. If India adopted democracy and is going strong with it, then it is not suitable for Pakistan. This is because Pakistan is always superior in all aspects. What else is available? Well Pakistan was founded on the basis of religion. Therefore Sharia becomes a better system. If they had sincerely tried democracy for a few decades then they will have the necessary experience to know if is good or bad. They never had a proper democracy. Therefore their analysis of democracy as a useless system stems not from experience, but from a false pride. If India gained economically they will not fail to point at its poor masses, Maoist rising etc. Their psyche simply does not allow them to acknowledge anything good about India and its accomplishments. Pakistan’s military is superior. Their nukes are superior. They are superior. They talk from this view point. Unfortunately they know that the reality is different. Most Indians do not seek such an acknowledgment from others. We are as we are. Pakistan is paying the price for adopting Sharia system from the time of Zia Ul Haq. Umair knows in his heart that Sharia is like prison from hell – no music, compulsory prayers, women covered from head to toe and not allowed to study, drive and play submissive role. In Saudi Arabia, school girls were let burn to their deaths when fire spread in their school. The Mullahs declared that they cannot expose themselves during their escape and let them burn instead. Sharia might be a great system for Muslim men. But definitely Muslim women would not desire such a system as their value and freedom get utterly restricted. In today’s world where there is plenty of awareness of the outside world, the contrast will be felt strongly and deeply.

By: G-W Sun, 19 Sep 2010 19:18:42 +0000 BTW Singh,

I know a lot of good, staunch muslims and I don’t believe most muslims are uncompromising, militant, nor extremists.

Most muslism do not ascribe to militant thinking and militants in muslim countries never win votes, so that tells us that most muslims are not militant, nor extremist in their views.

Muslims that choose Sharia, it would not be right to call them militant or extremist either. Sharia may be good for some, but not good for all.

By: G-W Sun, 19 Sep 2010 19:12:24 +0000 @Singh,

You have touched on some good points here. You said that a sharia like system uses an enemy to keep itself going, that is very true with Pakistan as a whole, its clerical and military establishment cannot hold political unity within Pakistan, unless India is created to be an enemy, eternally at any cost, it does not matter whether it is Kashmir, or even a flood, India is always blamed for every trouble in Pakistan or any other outside enemy, if not India, it maybe Israel or the U.S.

Sharia, like many other types of totalitarian or authoritian and theocratic institutions gravely and direly fail to address the rights and happiness of the individual and this will lead to spritual deadening of one within…you will never have a renaissance or any sort of intellectual awakenings, and this deadened state will never give rise to great thinking and great creation that human beings are capable of. In the end it leads to stagnation…there is no forward motion, just a static way of looking and perceiving the world….so what is the goal of this way of being…nothing will ever be created ever, nothing advanced. While the sheer rigidness of it all may ensure morality in most people, it will not make them happy, it will force them to not deal with inner feelings, hide from them, live in fear or reprisal or punishment if they speak out and in the end, lead to eventual psychological dysfuntionalies, anxiety and deep anger and resentment and the only outlet for all of this is….yes you guessed right….this is focussed towards enemies like India, Israel or the U.S. or other outsiders……and an uncompromising blind rage is created!…kind of like some people who want and need an enemy like India, to give meaning, focus and purpose to their world and belief.

In the end it leads to a mindset, where the believers feel that they are in a perpetual state of war with outsiders and non-believers.

By: KPSingh01 Sun, 19 Sep 2010 16:08:27 +0000 The advantage to a democratic system is that it is open to amendments. And it is driven by popular demand. In other words, changes happen based on what the public wants and not what the leaders want. Sometimes those changes do not appear forward. In India, reservation quotas, labor laws etc are quite backward looking. It is frustrating to see these privileges getting abused and empowered. But the poor can make their voices heard by throwing out a government that is too focused on the well-to-do. The BJP led coalition government aggressively went after getting rid off old government owned companies. This sector had a huge work force (way beyond what is needed) and was inefficient in every aspect. BJP led government did the right thing by encouraging voluntary retirement. They did not have the time to look at the poor. The next election they were replaced by the Congress led coalition. Now BJP has toned down its Hindutva policy, retired many old leaders and is trying to give a new look. Democracy forces politicians to change their colors. About twenty years ago, politicians never talked of any economic issues. Now politicians are bringing in economic issues to the fore and are discussing them seriously. A lot has changed.
One cannot expect fast changes. Changes have to be slow and have to undergo evolution. That is the only it will help democracy adjust itself according to the underlying culture.

The problem with a Sharia like system is that it is not amenable to changes. God said it and that is it. With changing times, the system begins to look archaic. There are lot of progressive Muslims who would like to see changes according to the times and the Sharia law will not allow for that. Progressive thinkers are then held in fear of punishment. Fear is used as the means to control a population. This is not a healthy thing for humans. Europe went into dark ages because of control by a rigid Roman Catholic theocracy. At some point it got out of it. Humans cannot be held under age old laws forever. Sharia is deeply linked with religion. The way modern Muslim theocracies manage to keep their people aligned is by creating enemies out of other communities – non-Muslims, Westerners, Communists, Shias and so on. Thus conflict is necessary to keep the people united and motivated. Fear and phobia of others is an essential ingredient to sustain exclusiveness. This begins to build a wall around a nation that is run by such a system. Such a system can survive if it is independent in terms of resources. There is no country in this world today that is self sufficient in all aspects. Interactions with others is essential and that brings in questions on why one should live in a certain way prescribed by God, while others do not have to. Sharia like system badly needs an enemy to keep itself going.

If you look at the history of Pakistan, one can see clearly that they have relied on an enemy state to keep their diverse ethnic groups stay united under an Islamic banner. Any attempts to diffuse that phobia is thwarted immediately by the powers within. That is the danger of relying on a theocratic system. It needs “others” to justify its hold on power. In a democracy, secularism is a necessary ingredient. Though one cannot become 100% secular, at least in a democratic system, it becomes the goal. One can question it and fight it in such a system. In the case of a Sharia system, such question is dealt with by harsh punishments.

Religion is meant for uplifting one’s inner spirit. Its function as an administrative system is questionable today. It might have worked in the past. But it is not suitable for the modern world which has reached its height in science and technology. There is vast information available that raises questions in people. Sharia systems will struggle to contain the people from seeking answers to those questions. And it will lead to conflicts as a solution.