Code 174198
PublishDate: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:03

What a democracy!

We must be a democracy of a peculiar kind where even the commentariat and civil society gang up spiritedly with self-serving politicos to drown out the most biting miseries of the masses in the shrill of high-profile dramas with strong political undertones. Which country is there where they do not have a big scam like Memogate off and on and where the state institutions too do not get into a squabble for one reason or the other? Not long ago, the superior judiciary and the parliament were noisily cross swords over an issue of jurisdiction in India where at present the army chief is embroiled in a bitter tiff with the government over the question of his age. But the official life there didn’t hit a paralysis neither then not now, as has it here in our country because of this Memogate. For a coup that was not there and for a change of the country’s military top brass that too was imaginary, this scam has thrown this unfortunate nation into the lap of a charlatan keeping it endlessly in a tailspin with his one antic or the other. And the worst blighted are, as is usual, the masses. Never ever engagingly in the sights of the nation’s self-styled democratic leaders, these poor souls have just been consigned to oblivion forgetfully in these times. As the thugs are butchering them in their terrorist blasts and suicide bombing attacks, as the dacoits and thieves are robbing them of their lifelong savings, as the substandard medication is losing them their near and dear ones in a government healthcare facility in Lahore, and as ravaging joblessness, skyrocketing price hikes and rampaging poverty are making their abysmally miserable lives all the more unlivable, making the headlines in the media are not their travails but lifting of travel restrictions on our former envoy to the United States and the two-month extension given to the judicial commission probing the Memogate. And yet they, both the politicos and the commentariat and civil society, say we have become a democracy. Can you beat it? In a democracy, the masses come first and foremost, unarguably. That indeed makes what in reality is a democracy. But in what we are now, the masses come as just dirt, verifiably. Indeed, when those grandees posing as democratic leaders and their colluding commentariat and civil society yap ‘democracy’, be assured they decidedly know not what it really means. Had we been a democracy, it is the people’s woes, inexhaustibly endless as are those in these times, that would have hogged all the attention of the politicos, commentariat and civil society alike and made for exhaustive in-depth discussions and debates of talk shows, views columns and public forums. And it is those public woes that would have made the headlines, not any extensions or travel restrictions withdrawals. But they do not. Of course, the politicos do allude to the people’s problems but unmistakably only customarily, just for form’s sake. When someone merely says that the people’s grievances are going unattended to, you instantly know the grandee is just feigning for some point-scoring, not feeling feelingly the pangs of the commoners and have-nots. The genuineness you feel only when the speaker speaks out in greater detail about a public distress, analyses it and spells out how he thinks it could be tackled. That shows he has felt the people’s distress, fretted about it, and thought about its solution. One may agree or disagree with his analysis and solution. But one does get the feel that he cares for the people, worries about their miseries, shakes up his mind to think out solutions. This is what you feel when you listen to the leaders across the board in the world’s established democratic orders. And this is what you feel not at all when you listen to your own grandees across the spectrum.Can anyone recall how many times has one heard from the media predicting an ensuing stormy parliamentary session on one particular boiling public grievance or the other? And can anyone recall how each time has the prediction turned out a big disappointment, as instead of analysing the public grievance and suggesting solutions to it, the parliamentarians fall for point-scoring, rhetorical assertions and sloganeering? And, introspectively, can the media grandees tell how often they dismiss summarily the sporadic few who speak out sense with the erasing brush of “also spoke” while dwelling at length on the ones who speak all nonsense replete with rank demagoguery effusively with such epithets as ‘fiery speech’? But the media too is full of its own conceits. With its youngsters hosting talk shows, whose intellectual immaturity oozes out of the studio pores in as much floods as their guest panelists’, also go after high-profile dramas, not for incisive and threadbare discussions of the people’s woes. Have you heard any informed discussion on the Lahore catastrophe of killer substandard medication on any talk show? If at all, it is more about politics than about the malady and its victims’ travails?Yet they say we have become a democracy. What a democracy, where politicos and the commentariat and civil society talk of the bane of power and gas shortages, of which the people know all for their own sizzling first-hand experiences of it, but talk not how to tackle this problem! But then we are no democracy. We are not a people’s but the elites’ rule in reality.

Source: The Frontier Post


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