Lessons in democ­racy

Southasia - - CONTENTS - Seemi Me­htab La­hore, Pak­istan

SouthAsia’s cov­er­age of the In­dian elec­tions was ex­ten­sive, to say the least. It cov­ered al­most all facets of the elec­tion sce­nario in­clud­ing sta­tis­tics, pre­dic­tions, party po­si­tions, the mi­nor­ity and money fac­tors and the glam­our quo­tient added by the par­tic­i­pa­tion of celebri­ties. In­dian elec­tions, no doubt, are a rau­cous af­fair. But the cool­ness with which the coun­try goes about the task of con­duct­ing elec­tions on such a mas­sive scale never ceases to amaze me.

It is not that the elec­tions are con­ducted in a most trans­par­ent man­ner un­der peace­ful cir­cum­stances. That’s far from be­ing true. There are in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence be­fore and af­ter the elec­tions. Al­le­ga­tions of rig­ging and mis­use of author­ity are ram­pant and can­di­dates use un­fair means to ma­nip­u­late the re­sult. But de­spite all this, people take im­mense pride in the process and in democ­racy. They en­thu­si­as­ti­cally par­tic­i­pate in the polling and ex­press their opin­ion through their vote. Per­haps it is this be­lief in the demo­cratic sys­tem that makes In­dia dif­fer­ent from the rest of the South Asian na­tions. I hope the other coun­tries learn some lessons in democ­racy from In­dia.

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