Friday, June 26, 2015

The extreme relevance of ' valuing' the citizens by the State in true democracies !

( Or, Citizens' freedom and Liberty would be empty words unless State also define the degree of 'Value' she accord to citizens) 

This brief post intends to deal with the issue of the general lack of freedom,liberty and individual dignity of citizens in democratic and other political systems,chiefly due to the absence of a clear-definitions as to how, and at what degree citizens need to be 'valued'in the system. In other words, freedom and liberty will remain null and void, and only in the book, when there exist NO equally relevant and serious-laws and yard-sticks as to how to measure and deliver sense of individual dignity.

Take the matter of mutual respect and concern between any two individuals; let them be just friends, a couple or just lovers; an unadulterated and uninhibited 'valuing' each other only would keep such relations deep and truly working. When one 'value' the other, it will be in the form of allowing him unbound individual freedom, and sense of full,individual worth !

Or putting it differently, freedom and liberty of citizens will remain mere book-entries in nations where individual dignity does not stand properly and clearly understood, accepted and defined, and its centrality and relevance distinctly reiterated. Post enlightenment era had seen a more proclaimed entity and role of STATES than that of individual citizens ! In order to contain the inherent selfish and brutish nature of individual man, the role of the Police- State ( the Power-State ) had become more pronounced, distinct and visible.

If we proceed further without quoting Rousseau on this important subject, it would be gross injustice to the great-soul:

" but bodies politic, remaining thus in a state of nature among themselves, presently experienced the inconvenience which had obliged individuals to forsake it;for this state became still more fatal to these bodies than it had been to the individuals of whom they were composed....hence arose national wars,battles, murders and reprisals which shock nature and outrage Reason...the most distinguished men hence learned to consider cutting each other's throat a duty, at length men massacred their fellow-creatures by thousands...and committed murders in a single day's fighting, ..than were committed in the state of nature during whole ages over the whole earth.." ( His long essay ' on the origin of inequality' )

He meant that, when States gained ' single-individual like' entity in the aftermath of the origin of civil-society institutions, it was indeed a 'going-back' to the pre-civilization state of mankind. States were adamant in having 'rights' and 'self-interest' similar to that of individuals, a very disturbing development !

In the absence of strict understanding and legal-definitions about the difference between the rights of the state and that of the citizens, the rights of the State will always have upper-hand, especially due to the Power-factor she enjoys. In the recent state crack-down on NGOs in India and Pakistan, the above rift surfaced openly. Both countries arbitrarily ascertained their rights as above to the rights of the citizens. The allegation of the States was that, these foreign-fund receiving NGO's loyalties would be more towards their fund-providing nations than towards own country. While India's major target was an NGO called 'Green-Peace', an environment-protection initiative, Pakistan targeted 'Save the Children' initiative, who, according to govt.sources, was instrumental in leaking info. about Bin-Laden to USA. A certain Medical Doctor, who was associated with this NGO was the one who helped USA to track-down the most wanted international terrorist leader, whom USA shot and killed in an over-night secret operation last year.

Both the nations simply ignored that, they, at the State level, woo and welcome thousands of corporate entities with their huge-investments from the same foreign nations, for the native industry development ! They miserably ignored that, it was a similar incursion of foreign business entities that had entered our nations centuries ago, as a prelude to the European-colonization ! Here, the modern-day stark ascertainment of the rights and Freedom of the State over that of the single citizens is more-pronounced and obvious !

Delivery of Freedom is impossible without first defining and setting a certain VALUE standards to the targets of freedom

One can not let the other free unless he first genuinely 'value' him. Modern States miserably fail to genuinely 'value' the citizens, the absolute,legitimate end to the very existence of the state with regard to their un-inhibited rights, and his 'individual dignity' that the former is supposed to protect at all costs. Chief reason behind this great tragedy is that, any agency bestowed with some or other kind of POWER find it extremely difficult, to the level of impossibility, to 'value' the entities naturally beneath/under them ! This is a universal truth !

To 'value' each other, both parties in the deal must be 'equal'. Here, the massively  impersonal State, with her proverbial POWER factor, was never been a subject of serious re-thought about its need, ( of POWER ) danger,practical utility, and risks etc. in the modern-world ! Therefore, one party ( the State) was always overwhelmingly superior and above the latter, ( the people) hence, the natural condition for 'valuing each-other' was never met in the history of democracy in modern-world ! The citizens class, as always had been in history, remained proverbial 'state-subjects; in modern democratic society.Hence, the matter of his 'equality' always remained in paper only in every modern-democracy.

In the absence of such a clear axiom, the rights and freedom of citizens will always be similar to 'animal-rights' in the modern world ! While the basic 'domesticated' status of animals will remain intact as an unchangeable fact and truth, the concept of rights will remain confined to certain narrow, technical aspects of freedom, like that around its daily quota of food, water and shelter, and perhaps a right to mate once annually ! 

The general realm of life and world will always remain an unwritten privilege and right of the State, as that had always been in human-history, wherein the citizens are the natural 'content-material' within the State! Despite the origin and spread of democratic ideas in the world, at least from the time of American Revolution, wherein the role of the State was clearly defined and restricted solely to that of 'ensuring the rights and liberty' of individual citizens, this arrangement had sooner or later disintegrated, and fallen-back into the old status-quo !

Are frequent revolutions the only remedy to restore basic human-freedom and liberty ?

When the class of people exhaust all their bearing level of non-freedom, non-value and non-relevance in a country, up-rising and bloody revolutions are the only remedy of nature. But, unlike one or two philosophers and writers like John-Locke in America, and Rousseau and Voltaire in France who had reminded people of their right to freedom, dignity and liberty, modern world only had the great media institution to thwart every attempt of the States to suppress the freedom of man ! It was this very unique feature that qualified the modern world to call herself modern, free and open ! It was thought that, under their 24x7 watchful eyes, modern States would not be able to over-step their freedom  and power ever over that of the citizens's class. 

But the new power and economic equation, most of the media houses were bought-over and owned by the industry sector, whose interests stood more gainful in up-keeping the eights and power of the State than that of the people ! This singular feature of modern-world has dangerously altered the freedom and rights status of the citizens class, to the point of leaving our age, kind of 'orphaned'  for want of any protector or care-taker caring for the 'rights' and 'dignity' of man !

Therefore, though the Hashimpura ( about 40 citizens belonging to the minority community of Muslims were bundled-into a truck in 1987 in the Indian-State of Uttarpradesh, and were shot-dead by the Police under a fake-encounter incident. After long 27 years of court-trial, all the culprits Police constables and officers were acquitted of all charges, and let free !) like serious rights violations of citizens are 'ritually' reported in the media, such reports, due to their excessive number and frequency, have become part and parcel of both the modern-state governance routine, and also that in the memory field of the victims -the people. Due to this routine-nature of such events, every 'freedom and rights' institution too has lost its sense of revulsion, defense and resistance faculties towards such events ! Most of such freedom and rights institutions are now stand indirectly and covertly 'sponsored' by either industry or the State, so that no serious voice of dissent and protest from any corner ever crosses the limit, and erupt in the form of any serious revolution! 

The tendency that these govts have adopted towards NGOs has close similarity with what history's nasty totalitarian regimes like that of Stalin etc, had adopted towards writers, doctors and other men of mind,independence and freedom. We know that, to ensure absolute freedom of  the State, tyrants show the tendency of annihilating those who might incite people to seek freedom and rights ! State power and peoples rights had always been at opposite poles in history, like in the case of a physics/Chemistry theory !

Here in our constitution, while there exists a clear and distinct directive of 'Fraternity', ( that deals with individual dignity of man ) this clause has never received any central relevance and attention by any of the past govt. Instead of the vague stipulations for freedom,liberty and equality in the routine governance documents, plans and programmes, no firm and meaningful ordinance, act or parliamentary reference has yet be made on the above vital and central constitutional directive on Fraternity. This lack of relevance for the fraternity clause was what emboldened the govt.employees, politicians, and even the judiciary to treat ordinary citizens as the most irrelevant and disposable item in the country ! His irrelevance and helpless is the most evident fact in the governance, hence, no govt.agent ever care to treat him as the real master, and the very 'end' in country governance !

Can any govt.department claim that it accords adequate importance to the thousands of incoming applications, petitions, submitted official documents and routine governance related grievances that reach their offices every day ? Can any citizen vouch that he routinely get acknowledgements, replies and solutions to his governance related issues in time, ever from any ? Govt.offices are virtual black-holes as  far as citizens' routine grievances, multitudes of representations, complaints,submissions etc.are concerned; while in the political rhetoric, citizens rights and his welfare are major points of stress, sloganeering and vows! These false idols will always remain the bold-font head-lines in media too.

Therefore, it is amply clear that, without passing adequate laws and ordinances and acts to accord citizens his rightful relevance and dignity in the day to day country governance, without firm Acts in parliament for 'citizens' right to be heard ' ( not only voice, but 100% attention to every written submission from citizens, at every !)  the actual day-to-day working of every, every talk about citizens' liberty and freedom would be idle, false ! True democracy will be achieved on a day when modern-States abandon and get free from their primeval POWER-based myths, norms and values that give them POWER, that always makes them unequal with that of peoples' class ! Power simply distances and separates power-holder from those who are supposed to be under its spell. The 'valuing' aspect would be just NOT possible and feasible under any power-regime. In the absence of 'natural valuing' each other between co-citizens, and between State and citizens, democracy will always be name-sake, false and pretentious.. 

In such a scenario, giving due  'value' and dignity to citizens will turn a 'burden' to States, as we witness today. The myths and norms of old,proverbial State must be crushed and thrown-out from the dichotomy of true governance system of EQUAL-MEN, ie. democracy. A day should come, wherein myths around democracy must give out firm signals of equality of both parties, both 'VALUING' and respecting each other. Till such a time, this age must realize that, all talks of Freedom, liberty and equality would only be mere, empty rhetoric, that remain only in the books !

Friday, November 26, 2010

How non-respect for individual dignity makes people and leaders corrupt and power crazy?

How lack of adequate thrust for individual dignity in country governance would result in neurotic craving for power and money among people and leaders?

Through time immemorial, man was under oppression and all kinds of subjugation under the reign of Kings, Feudal Lords or foreign invaders. He never had a chance to taste pure individual freedom and dignity. Democracy was an opportunity. But democracy too took over the old concept of 'evil of government', with its fear and authority oriented machinery that was instrumental for the old subjugation of man.

Though fathers of our constitution had placed Fraternity clause as one of the DIRECTIONAL MOTIVES of the very existence of  state,  along with liberty and equality, this one has received the least relevance and attention in governance.

 Police slap any citizen at will on the road, tax men con and extort citizen selectively, village officers and district collectors behave as if they were not different in power and authority from their predecessors under the old regimes, political leaders sway their poor minds here and there in the name of religion, or any  other available ploy or theme for extracting their mandate and what not ! His applications and complaints pile up in government offices every day, unopened, unseen and action not taken. He is despised and scorned at government offices.

Government officers dare to trample upon the citizen this way chiefly because they know that he is the most irrelevant and helpless item in democracy! His cries will reach no where. It may take at least two decades for justice to reach him if some one dare to complain.

The way government's attitude towards the citizen is the way its officials treat him on the  road and offices. If one claim that for most people, the relation between the government and her citizen is like that between a
predator and prey, it would not be an exaggeration! 

How, not caring adequately for this metaphysical need of  man would affect his constitution, character, his relation with the state and his fellow being, and ultimately the development of his civilization is  described below.( Some of these points are there in our NGO web site also.)

a) The anxiety of every man that his self-hood and its dignity is constantly under threat from the hands of government agencies like police, tax men, electricity office, municipality etc . is very real. Police is the frontal face of every state. Their attitude towards citizen is the attitude of the state towards citizen. Government could not yet bring in the much talked about 'police reforms' despite vigorous efforts from every quarter.

b) When something is extremely difficult to keep and maintain, man tend to abandon it for the sake of practical wisdom. Thus, common man has abandoned his feeling of self worth in the country. Its abandoning has become an essential value in the mainstream life. Even from schools and colleges, what every child try hard to learn is this difficult value of abandoning his self-respect. - -the easiest way to learn it by  not respecting his fellow being, by calling him names, taunting and be violent on him. By such tricks, by taking and giving insult, every one tries to gain 'IMMUNITY' from verbal, and if possible from physical assault.

This is the most desired 'value asset' every young man in the country ardently desire!! No one can refute this day to day fact of life! This is freedom from morality ! One who fails to acquire this quality of roughness and toughness is considered to be weak. He gets often targeted in ragging incidents etc.

If any one manages to grow up with out these values as a principled individual, he will find it extremely hard to perform at his job among his corrupt colleagues, whether in private or government job!  Stories of the plights of such honest officers and political leaders are  often published by our media.

c) The madness to amass wealth and political power is a disease in our country. It is nothing but a neurosis for grabbing one's personal freedom and dignity!! It needs no super intelligence to realize that money and power gives one respect in society. Respect means freedom from violation of one's dignity from the hands of police or any agents of government machinery. Bihar's example is often quoted to prove this point - -maximum civil service aspirants has been from this state until recent years. Feudal system and caste related subjugation was at its most extreme in this state. hence ordinary men are more neurotic to gain power and freedom that civil service provides!

It is like a great flood situation. Politics and money are like rare dry mounts where one can escape the humiliation of being a common man in the country. Hence the national neurosis for money and power! We feel this observation could be true for the entire world, as Democracy failed to upgrade man to his respectful status in society no where in the world. It has ended up as an open, plain game among political professionals for grabbing governmental power and enjoy its traditional fruits. Our call for 'reinventing democracy', the chief cause of our philosophic initiative, is all over our web and blog pages.

d)   Lack of initiative, sense of duty and responsibility among government servants: We talk endlessly on the lack of effectiveness and initiative of government servants in country administration. But always ignore the central reason behind it - -it is a direct result of their lack of self respect and feeling of dignity as a person. When one has no respect for one’s own self, his work also will be of the same low  quality. 

e)   Lack of sense of reason and scientific spirit: Freedom of mind is an essential ingredient for one to think rationally, as freedom only will make an ‘individual’ in true meaning. One without the basic individual dignity can not ever think rationally as he is merely a dead log, meek and resigned to one’s fate.
f)   Lack of cleanliness and a hygiene  culture : When one feel un-clean and incomplete about himself, with zero sense of individual dignity, he will treat his surroundings also with the same gutter ways. He  never develops a true sense of personal and community cleanliness. He always fail to develop a culture of hygiene for himself and for the community. Hence we have  heaps and heaps of garbage accumulated in our streets and markets despite the existence of municipalities and corporations, and our international reputation as a people throwing garbage from the balconies straight to the street!

g) Growing trend of fundamentalism: Our  generally obedient nature indirectly leaves us as highly  authoritarian too - - We always expect  the same obedience from others too, and gets furious in the absence of it.  Free self-expression is never gets encouraged in such societies, and as a result, leaving all of us fundamentalists in nature. A fundamentalist  hates to think his own, but takes the easy way of waiting for orders from top, or the dictate of tradition. Our bullying bosses in offices are nothing but fundamentalists as they too are intolerant.  We are yet to learn the habit of treating the other at the same level and equal, irrespective of his or her socio-economic status.

h) Lack of values in society: Let us compare human values to flowers and fruits that grow on plants. It comes out naturally when the plant gets adequate sun light, space and manure. It is a natural outcome when all these ingredients made available to plants. Likewise, values naturally would flow from individuals when he has his space in society, and when his self respect and individual dignity kept in-tact by the state governance mechanism.

Every form of government in the world is said to be aiming  at achieving this ultimate goal - - - to convert its people into enlightened, free, self respecting individuals. Pre ample of our constitution too has these ideals clearly specified as the very motto of the existence of the state. But sadly, ignoring this central necessity, governments in developing countries put all their efforts and attention in ensuring economic development of its people, completely ignoring this aspect of  individual growth  - - -their blossoming into complete, dignified, self respecting, free, enlightened individuals!

If  atmosphere in the family determines an individual’s value system, the country does it too to its citizens!

We have no doubt about family’s role in the character formation of an individual. Then why should we have doubt about the country’s role in character formation and value orientation of its citizens?  Character of the citizen is fully depended upon the way the government behave, and treat the people. There is nothing wrong in attributing a parents role to the state in this meaning !

State is nothing but the sacred abode of the collective wisdom, reason and common sense of its people in its correct democratic sense. ( please refer our dedicated blog, as to what a true democracy must represent to people, at link:

Hence, a thorough review as to how effectively we could implement our FRATERNITY clause in the constitution in the day to day country governance is a priority need of your esteemed law ministry, and Indian administrative reform committee. 

(drafted and sent to Indian Administrative reform committee during August 2010).

By Conscience of the society- an NGO that stands for philosophic initiatives into causes like Reason, Fraternity and reinventing democracy.