THERE are many who’ve tried to define democracy, and there are many definitions for the same, but when I think of democracy I think of a road.
A road called Democracy, leading to one’s Utopia! It is a narrow road, but one on which we have to allow all others to travel with us, because democracy can only survive if we all drive together.
Most times we don’t; some of us drive a bigger car or a heavier truck and with forceful argument or bullying muscle we try to push others off the road, but it is of no avail, because without those others alongside, there’s no democracy at all.
There are rules for the road, rules as to how one drives; we don’t cut lanes, bang others in their cars, oh no, we learn to avoid hitting others.
We learn to use skill, to move towards our Utopia without hurting others who are also striving to reach theirs.
How often I watch trolls and critics, who lash out at others on websites, newspapers and other platforms, making fun of them, jeering and mocking someone’s views, someone’s accent, like motor cycles on a road they are an irritant to car drivers. They move in and out and spoil your drive.
When we learn to ride a bike following the rules and not annoying others we have learned the first step of democracy.
Also in democracy, we learn to respect another’s vehicle of argument. We might not like the vehicle he drives, we may not like his line of thinking or argument but we do not try to shove him off his car, saying his vehicle isn’t a good one.
No, we try to win him or her over by showing how a better vehicle like ours could take him to his destination faster or safer. But if he doesn’t agree, then we let him be!
The Utopia at the end, or our idea of a perfect state, of ultimate happiness is our goal, but though the road belongs to everybody, the Utopia everyone sees is very different from that seen by another.
Every now and then it seems the road needs to be repaired, and road repair wallahs come with different solutions, but no one has the right one.
But, the road of democracy strangely doesn’t need those repairs; it’s broken, jagged, rough and potholed surface, only makes the ride more meaningfully interesting.
Meanwhile the repair wallahs of the road of democracy stand in huddled groups all over, offering quick fix solutions, but never moving on, and generally never moving others.
It’s a one way street, is democracy; there’s no turning back, but it’s a proven track, and one drives on, keeping to the rules and slowly realizing with joyful surprise, democracy is not about the goal, but the road; how we drive and let others drive towards each one’s own Utopia..!