Sunday, September 18, 2011

Public, the 5th Pillar of India democracy

Public, the 5th Pillar of India democracy
Broadly we can say Anna agitation has two consequences:
1. Proved public is master and leaders are servant.
2. Mass leaders are more effective than elected representative i.e. mass opinion of public leaders is stronger than mandate of political representative.
3. What are the main differences between a public leader and a public representative?
In our constitution, we talk about three main pillars-Legislature, judiciary and executive. In addition, we treat free press/media as fourth pillar. Public who is the market for all four was in back as base. Public as base gives power to all to discharge some mandate. The distortion in assign mandate is more than tolerance capacity. Hence, public came out from base and took the shape of fifth pillar of democracy to show its strength.
Legislature is supreme among all five pillars being law makers. Constitution entrust it to frame welfare laws to run country smoothly in forward direction. But actions of our representatives are not satisfying the public. After election, they disregard public demand and opinion. And they are engaged more in self benefiting actions or no action. This affects citizens badly. In absence of needed law due to non performance of legislature, they suffer from different angles. Productivity of parliament has gone down. Recent corruptions highlighted their negative acts to intolerable limit of public.
Executive didn’t discharge their duties up to public expectations and as mandated by laws. Inactions and their corruptions corroded Indian steel frame and made this pillar very weak. Assessing this weak situation, our polity collaborated with this wing. Executive couldn’t refuse the association being weak and fear to be exposed by political class. Now in corruption, polity and executive are two sides of a coin. These two pillars did all big scams in partnership. One gets entry through selection to work up till the age of 60 while other through election for fixed five years tenure. An independent agency of Hang Kang conducted a survey of 13 Asian countries recently. It found India’s bureaucracy the worst and topper from bottom.
Fixed tenure of polity and executive and reduced accountability/transparency changed their mind set from servant mode to master mode. This change of mind set proved very dangerous to general pubic. Partnership reduced actions against corrupt activities to almost zero. No action boosted the corrupt practices among both. Slowly and slowly polity dominated and now has the lion share in corrupt produce. Weak executive couldn’t prevent the polity from taking the dominant position in corruption and its enhancing. Frequent transfer, workless and unimportant posting are other tools in hands of political bosses to bring executive to compromising point.
Fed up with polity and executive, pubic approached judiciary to get relief. Though general impression of judiciary is not better than these two at lower level, but top judiciary enjoys better public confidence. A few Supreme Court (SC) judges took a lead and started giving quality judgments. A step ahead, they monitored the implementation of their orders. By this procedure, SC compelled government to take proper actions. Actions helped in saving the hope of public. Recent judgments improved image of judiciary.
Free media as fourth pillar of our democracy has a very important role to play. More or less they are enjoying better reputation than others. Though, it is not criticism free. But by and large, it doing good job currently. Media is also suffering from the corrupt practice of the partnership firm of polity and executive. They alone are not in a position to challenge the partners. To challenge them, they need some good partners. Among all, they found the public and civil society their best friends. They associated with them and become partner in crusade against corruption.
Elected representative doesn’t give proper heed to public opinion once elected. Alone none is capable enough to fight and break the nexus of executive and politicians. Public Private Partnership (PPP) model helped them. This model is even promoted by United Nations. PPP model gives role to the societies to play in all walks of life. Government is reducing its role and shifting it to civil societies. It is associating with civil societies in almost all departments. Public and civil societies together started taking relief with the help of media and judiciary. Media highlighted the corrupt practice and judiciary gave the relief. Gradually civil societies snatched the politician’s ground of providing relief to public.
Public, civil society in association with media took some public issue to settle it. Centre for Public Interest litigation is a good example in proof. This center through judicial recourses compelled government to act to benefit the masses. Baba Ram through his Swabhiman trust took up black money issue and popularized it. Government took many steps in public pressure, after and during his agitation. Baba Ram Deo’s mass support and its pressure jolted the mandated political class. Civil societies are taking their ground and their mass supports are snatching their mandated power. Baba made a start. Annoyed government tried to suppress him with their mighty power. To some extent it is successful due to mishandling and lack of experience of Baba.
Anna an experienced social actor and leader along with its team took up the corruption issue. During his protest in April 2011, government made his team partner in drafting under public pressure. But, after a few meetings they divorced. Government representative did mistake in calculating his mass support. They administered same medicine tried with Baba. This didn’t work. Anna declared his agitation as second national movement to liberate the country from corruption. This helps in associating public emotionally with his movement. Media supported him beyond limit. This action of media annoyed political sector. These public and civil societies acted as fifth pillar of our democracy to decide the roles for representative.
Effective judicial actions, media publicity and civil societies mass catching issues, together, have created a history- Anna agitation. Government realized its mistake. It brought a resolution same day in after noon which was not proposed in the morning. This is done to meet mass demand. Elected representative passed it unanimously under the pressure of mass leader Anna unwillingly and send it to standing committee related to it. Here public shows they are with mass leader and not with their representative to whom they elected. Public set a norm by making mass leader stronger than elected representative. This has not been done earlier since 1947.
This jolted political actors in India. It compelled them to think about their wrongdoings. Hence it will result in to self corrective actions. This is a good precedent for the other democratic countries worldwide. Elected representative and selected executive are forced to think about their real role of services-servant role. It is all probable, they will think to discard their disguised role of master. Anna, a symbol of public, took master role and directed the public servants to pass a resolution which is in the favor of the country. And they did it first time. In past they didn’t, treating themselves master. Treating themselves master, they never give due regard to real master-public opinion. Thus this agitation is unique as it proved that public is the real master on ground. None can usurp this role with them.
Our elected political actors are representative first from public angle that elect them. For them, they are representative first and leaders latter. Social actors are leaders only for the public. They provide lead to their causes in different forums. The hair difference between leaders and representative is very important. Representative must give due regard to their need and opinion. They must act accordingly. They must serve the public by giving voice to their will in law making places. Leaders have slightly different role. They provide lead to their causes. For leaders unlimited area while for representative their services are limited to their constituency only.
Might and arrogance of government can’t subside easily. They would try to show their might like Baba Ram Deo- may be in disguise. They may try to revenge judiciary, media and civil societies. Some media reports indicate towards this. But any such move will be counter productive. India being a democratic country, the mass opinion of public is supreme. Any move against this, in the age communication revolution, will be a suicidal step politically.
(Views are personal and based on many sources)
Heera Lal