Anomalies of Democracy
By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 19-03-2015
Some recent events in the world should make those of us who love democracy to ponder.
1. Kerala Legislative Assembly: Kerala should hang its head in shame for the way some of the legislative members of the assembly indulged in violence and destruction in the very temple of democracy. These members disregarded human rights and all canons of human decency as they freely broke the laws of the land. They attempted to systematically break the law and order situation in the state to create anarchy and chaos. They do not deserve to be members of such an august law-making body. They are very poor models for all law-abiding citizens. They need to realize that the finance minister could legally present the state budget in the assembly as long as he is not found guilty andlegally barred by the court. In a civilized democratic state every citizen is considered to be innocent unless proven guilty. To add insult to injury, these perpetrators of crimes had the temerity to declare with impunity a strike (hadthal) that would paralyze the whole state on the following day. Little do political parties in Kerala know that any strike that denies safe freedom of movement and conduct of businesses is a violation of human rights and democratic principles.2. Some days ago the Finance Minister of India, while unveiling a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament Square in London, referred to the United Kingdoms (U. K.) as the oldest democracy. The title, oldest democracyis rightly and justly deserved by the United States of America (USA). No country with a constitutional monarch as its head deserves, in my opinion, to be called a fully democratic country. In other words, in a democratic country there are no privileges or hereditary rightsthat come merely from one’s birth.3. Recently there was a report in the media that Pope Francis was against the ordination of women to the priesthood in the Catholic Church. My question to him would be: Would Pope Francis be alright if he were denied the right of ordination because he happened to be born as a woman? I know I would not be alright. May be he would not have difficulty with his faith as I would have. But the fact of the matter is that none of us chose our gender.My wife had to settle for being a nurse because her mother did not think that women in those days became physicians. Well, there is no theology against the ordination of women. There is only tradition against it. But then many old traditions have changed as they turned out to be unenlightened and even outright immoral and illegal. Holiness is compatible with faith and democracy. Nay, I, who was against women’s ordination in my less enlightened days of the past, now believe equality of genders promotes holinessbetter. I firmly believe that it is good for the future of the Catholic Church to embrace demoracy in electing bishops and cardinals who in turn then can elect the pope.
Democracy is a very fragile institution. It may not foster fast economic growth and material prosperity as a dictatorship would. Yet it is the only way to preserve human rights and human dignity. Many countries do not have it. Many persons have risked their lives for it. In the modern age only democracy can bring a fair and orderly life and, above all, real emotional and spiritual satisfaction.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.