Democracy and Public Opinion

By admin ~ December 14th, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

Since democracy has been defined as, “the Government of the people, by the people and for the people,” the crucial role of public opinion cannot be underestimated. It is the public which gives its views about a government by exercising its franchise in the ballot box.

In theory yes, a democracy is a form of Government in which the people have a say in the day-to-day functioning of the Government through the representatives it sends to the Parliament. The very existence of such a Government is well-dependent on the people. So much so good, but, for the people to have some views on subjects of national importance, it is imperative that the public be of some standard of intelligence and knowledge.

Public opinion plays a decisive role in making or breaking a government but the public whose opinion is so very important for the very government but the public whose opinion is so very important for the very existence of the government has got to be of some level so as to be able to hold the reins of the government, to the advantage of the nation. If this is not so, as we see in India, public opinion can be held for a price, it can be bought for a gift, then does such a public opinion have any value or relevance? If a purchased public opinion is to form a government then, Only God may bless or save the fate of the country. It is also quite appropriately said that, a people get the Government they deserve. This is but natural in a democracy for, the people vote to power, types of their own liking and standards, so if the public is uneducated, ignorant and fickle, what result oriented Government can it provide to the country. In such a case, public opinion cannot be really trusted, for, its opinions have been bought by the politicians or political parties for a price. An opinion so made can hardly be expected to last for long, for, it was never a well thought of opinion, it was just a purchased one. Moreover, such an opinion has also the inherent danger of being re-purchased by a higher bidder.

Besides being bought, an uneducated public can also be very easily misguided or, emotionally worked up, in order to get votes at the ballot box. Now, votes got in this way have to be maintained also in the same way, and so this business of give and take goes on endlessly, and the poor illiterate public is taken for a ride. They vote for people for their face value, and taking their speeches as gospel truth but, as soon as the politicians take command of their gains, the voters are clearly and unfortunately forgotten. Thus, the politician only exploits the ignorant and uneducated voters, and make them act as per their own ends. This sort of a picture of democracy is so truly prevalent in India because, our masses are ignorant, uneducated and emotional. They get carried away by the high sounding words, patriotic speeches, and they achieve no goals. The picture is such that, no matter who wins in the fray, the poor common man, who is the backbone of the democracy, gets noting in the bargain. He continues to remain where he was, just to be satisfied with imaginary power in the set up of the Government, and to be remembered only after five years when, once again he will be the all important hand in the formation of the new Government. He will once again see rosy pictures of his future, and the politicians of the highest price will keep ruling. This misrule of our Indian democracy continues to persist because the backbone is very weak being misappropriated. How can a strong body stand straight and firm on a weak backbone?

However, today, after fifty years of misrule, the Indian electorate has somehow become a little alert and has started realizing that, he has been used and exploited by the politican for his own ends, but, since he is uneducated, the poor voter does not understand how he can get out of this rut of being misused. He does understand the misdeeds of the people in power, but he still does not have the insight of how to remedy the present ills of the country. The voter has at last realized that, he has been used as a pawn all these years, and has got no gain in the bargain. At times now, the common man also raises a voice but, again his being uneducated becomes a handicap, for, he usually raises a stir on irrelevant issues which just get brushed aside. He fights for non-issues, this again just because he does not know what to raise a stir for, and how to get about the tackling of issues like inefficiency corruption and other misdeeds of political big wigs.
In such a situation, it can be really said that, a democracy gets converted into a mobocracy, and, public opinion, the backbone of the democracy a mere sham. Getting public opinion has just become as style and eyewash for, what the politicians have been doing for so many years is only imposing there own opinion on the illiterate public.

For awareness and arousal of public opinion, the Television and the press can play a very dominant role. They can help in building public opinion and explaining problems to the masses. However, in India, the politician has managed to get such a tight grip on the media also that this is also mostly tainted, unbelievable and even wrong. With such an aura how will we ever have the correct public opinion built up, on any issue of national importance. This is just propped up by speeches of politicians and tainted media, and, when this works upon the uneducated masses, a messy decoction is the result, as is so evident in India.

Public opinion which is the very essence of a democracy is a hollow farce made up by tales workings on the illiterate masses. Thus, it is very clear that, democracy is meant for a highly educated country where the masses can understand, think, and view all issues and then give their consent. Besides, a democracy is meant for a highly disciplined country where, the masses know that, all rules and laws are meant to be followed and strictly obeyed. A country where the general public is highly illiterate indisciplined, and in a permanent readiness to break any law made, is, absolutely unfit for a democracy. The opinion of such a public can be of no use for the improvement and progress of the country. To cap it all, where, the highest rung of the ladder, the politician is corrupt and unmeaning, the face of the democracy is destroyed and public opinion is not more than just the view of a few selfish politicians, who only work up sentiments and get the desired opinion.

Thus, we can see that, India is the most unfit country for a democratic set up, and its public hardly fit enough to have any opinion. Above all, the politician here is the most corrupt class, and has intentionally kept the masses uneducated for five decades as, he can play merry hell only when, and till the masses are unaware. The democracy of India is in shambles as, the backbone is too weak to hold the system its full lease. To summarise, the democracy, in India, the twins of democracy and public opinion are both dead, or at least taking their life breaths from some internal strengths.

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