The miles to go before I sleep...

  • Start teaching science at school and incorporate demo
  • Research, design, implement comprehensive teaching module on science, civic sense
  • Interview social change agents working @ ground level
  • Pilot peer-to-peer teaching programme

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Weighing democracy against autocracy

I am just thinking aloud here. One thing is clear. A country's status (std. of living, economy...etc) almost solely depends on the entity in control. So, hypothetically if a country with a well-educated mass is ruled by a not-so-educated military ruler or an autocratic king, chances are the country will digress, simply because the well-educated simply don't have a say. On the other hand, if the government is democratic, there are more opportunities for the well-educated to participate. One crucial element for good participation is the collective cognizance of the need to participate and the will to take a stand. But when the will is there, the passage is easy in a democracy than dictatorship or autocracy, since the only way for an autocracy to progress is the will of the entity in power and not the mass.

What if the mass is not so well-educated? Here things are going to get messy (like it is in India?). I gather that in a democracy the society finds an equilibrium at a certain level (mostly very low). But if the rule is going to be stable, the society is bound to progress at its own pace. Slow or fast again depends on the will of the mass. But the condition in an autocracy is likely to be worse, because the entity in rule is going to make the most out of the limited resources and, with nobody to oppose (political party or "free" press) will likely just sit pretty. It will take a "revolutionary" like Su Kyi for instance to go through hell and the rest is left to chance.

It looks like I will choose a stinking democracy to a stinking autocracy. What if the country is rich? What would I choose then? Probably democracy. What would happen to Pak. if Musharaf is killed? Scary! Democracy, I think, has the cushion to take the shock.

And communism:
1. My friend who fled Vietnam to US narrated how difficult it was to purchase a TV there. They had to fill out a an application book rather than a form to seek government's permission (and pay the bribe, of course!) and keep your fingers crossed for a month or two for approval. It sounds more like waiting for IIT-JEE results. Well, may be it was the communism of yester-years. How about today?

2. I read a centre-page article in The Hindu today. It basically said, China is aging fast. So, the government is thinking of "allowing" people of certain well-developed cities Shanghai and people above a certain economic status to have a second kid. The government decides on how many kids I can have and is thinking of increasing it by one! How magnanimous!

Democracy is what I will choose. For if the rule is bad, there is still hope. If the rule is good, nothing like it. I doubt if I can say that about an autocracy or communism.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Right To Information

When I saw the movie Mudhalvan (Nayak in Hindi), I loved the movie inspite of me. The elegance of a grim-faced Arjun leaving the place after removing an erring government officer on the spot and the sense of purpose with which he announces the introduction of "complaint box" irresistibly touched my what-if-it-happens-for-real sentiment. But I was under no illusion about the tenacity of the Indian govt. officials and their ability to stick to their strength. They always win and walk away with the money they didn't earn. Our money. I really wished for a Senapathi (Kamal Hassan in Indian) clad INA uniform with a knife on hand to walk in front of them. Movies! They always falter to deceive.

But after being trapped in this dark cave of corruption, Indian people have possibly found a crack through which filters the ray of hope! I got to know about the Right To Information through NDTV and looking at the reports it seems to be working at least for some! Most of the revolutionising changes in the society occur due to evolutionary measures. The key for RTI to succeed in a society full of corrupt officials and submissive citizens like ours is awareness. So, here is my two cents (paisas rather!)

What is RTI? Thanks to the sincere efforts of a fellow blogger
RTI Blog: Reports and success stories influenced by RTI.

What else is left? The only thing that has been left for so long. For us to know our rights and exercise them. This is a good chance to redeem ourselves from our own servants. Oh! Before I forget.... Well done NDTV!