I happened read an interesting article in ‘The Hindu’ on Transcending democracy beyond Elections. if you have the time, do read it and leave the blog entry.
Transcending democracy beyond elections by Nassim Mannathukkaren
He analyses the present day situation in India, where all the parties are in shock over the thumping victory of BJP in the UP elections. As the situation is being read, he asks: ” Can we just read the UP elections as the victory of right wing forces and Bihar elections as the victory of secular forces?” He says that by concentrating on elections alone and in trying to bring transformation through them, secular and socialist forces have lost focus of the time in between the elections. The emergence of majoritarian nationalism is not the result of two or three election victories, but a result of decade long social transformation happening at the grassroots level.
He brings the idea of authoritarian populism ( ability to fuse together the dissatisfaction in various levels into an authoritarian nationalist solution). The schools of socialism and secularism haven’t invested in building roots during non-election time, which helped the others to advance. Lack of schooling in a critical culture is very disappointing. (It is quite surprising to know that ancient Indian culture is famous for arguments and counter-arguments between different schools of Indian Philosophy). The pedagogies into which people are exposed doesn’t encourage it. This help the one-dimensional propaganda to thrive in the country in the form of mis-information passed through social media.
In the last section, he speaks about the counter-move. It starts with the acceptance of a certain Modi-wave in the country, but it is not all over the country (especially South India, West Bengal, Punjab and some other states). Dominant majority is not ethical majority when the elections are propaganda driven. He puts forward a striking claim that being democratic is not just having the majority. A counter move must strive to build new social conditions rather than focused only on elections.
I found the piece well written. Rather than blaming the right wing forces alone, he raises a finger against other ideologies who were unable to create grassroot transformation and were mostly interested in fighting elections. It is high time to empower the people with pedagogies and critical thinking skills so that they can think for themselves and distinguish between facts and opinions.