Word of the Week #197:

Delegate

I have often met people who believe that our role in the democratic system ends with our vote.

That is not true at all.

If anything, that is where our role begins.

You see, when we vote for a person, we are electing that person to be our representative. Hence, the concept of “representative democracy”.

It is expected that this person will represent the interests of the constituents. However, too often, we see our officials represent nothing but their own interests, and at the most those of the people who voted for them.

At this point, there will be some people who will maintain that such behaviour is the true definition of democracy, and that this is what a representative is supposed to do with the people’s mandate.

That, however, is not true.

A democratic government is a government for all the people, not just a favourable subset.

Any government that forgets this fact is due for a rude, and loud, awakening.

Word of the Week #161:

Participatory

These days, our Social Media feeds tend to be flooded with people sharing their inked fingers.

For those unfamiliar with our democratic system, please refer to the following:

02-04-15-pg08a
Courtesy: Hindustan Times

As you can see, newspapers in India could definitely use a few good copyeditors…

Now, as I was saying, it is gladdening to see the youth as enthusiastic about voting as they are.

However, I do take objection to the narrative that voting is the epitome of our democratic participation. Our work does not end the moment we vote; that is when it begins.

Once we have cast our vote, we need to ensure the government appropriately represents our interests by staying apprised its operation, and by letting our voices be heard.

Voting without being informed about the performance of the past governments and the agenda of its opponents turns the entire electoral system into a popularity contest.

Quite honestly, even the Student Council elections in my college were based more on policy than some of the past elections I have seen.

“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt