Thursday, April 14, 2011

The 'Need for Training in Democracy'

Anna Hazare, recently during his fasting as a protest against the Lokpal Bill, and to bring about acceptance of Jan Lokpal Bill , made one statement. He said that he would want public servants to be 'trained in democracy'. The news reports by Times of India, where I read this commenat from the legendary activist, put this with quotation marks to, maybe , remain un-manipulative on his words. This septagenarian social activist had for one give me a shock with his discerning view on what's wrong with the public administration system in India, which is also one of the contributing reasons for rampant corruption.
It is often that the public servants have short views on how to handle a case when there are no clear reasons to help them decide about their stands. well, many times this situation arises from the point that the piblic that they are dealing with is too un-educated to give them a clear reason or a decisive opinion so as to help the public servant decide on his stand, the public servant, in turn slips into doing what later turns out as Un-democratic and obscurist, and finally corruption breeding. The employees below the officer take advantage of such situation to spread a word about the 'manipulable' behaviour of such public servant , all to make their booty. Often , what is required by the employees is simply to figure out some clear decisive point from the grievance given by the member of the public and then make his 'undertable money' to help the 'sir' understand it, so as to help him out. It serves lots of people; It serves him by way of that money; it helps 'sir' to stay clear and justified on the case through the precious advisory; it serves the employee built good trust with his 'sir' ; and lastly , it serves that ill-fated member of the public who is otherwise little un-refined , un-polished, in his knowledge of how should a democratic government employee should conduct himself.

If I were to make a list of what sort of training be given to Public servants on the matters of democracy, here is what I would put:
Explaining a democratic leadership (which applies to all leadership cases, including ship captains):

1) Democracy should not become majoritanism. Which means decision should not be made voting alone, as there is a risk that democratic rights of minorities may get suppressed.

2) polling is no substitute to evidence any wisdom. the right voice may get suppressed by a popular voice.

3) there is a right to be wrong.

4) there is always a room to have sustainable or logical self-contradictions. Just because there appears some self-contradiction, a case should not be turned down. Many a times , many of the cases are just for sake of money, while some good and pious cause is deputed to the case only for the coner-up. Even when such cases are identified, one should not obstruct or reject them.

5)Hypocrisy is something different from the above sustainable self-contradictions . Experience and wisdom in combinations are required to handle these. e.g. 'A' is a drinker but supports prohibition on alcohol. This is only a self-contradictions, not hypocrisy.
If 'A' hides the fact that he is a drinker/ alcoholic and then supportss prohibition , and later is found drinking even under Prohibition, this is hypocrisy. (refer Wikipedia search to learn more)

6) Polling has to be carefully used, only as a tool, to know the popular choice. one method of achieving this is to break-down the issue such as to put to polling test, a right against one right, or one wrong against another. One must not pit right of one issue against its wrong. right will always win, besides , a thorough brain-storming will never happen.

7 ) Discretion is quite an anti-thesis of democratic leadership. Should be avoided. In Democracy, decisions are knowledge based, advise based, recommendation based, - - in any case, need a justification.

8) in democracy, the human substitute for evolution law of 'survival of fittest' is Arguments and Debates. things run by arguing, not by Fighting and armed struggle. leaders should be ready for arguments and Debates.

9) Psychologists will have a tough time differing Madness from 'it's different'. Nevertheless, madness exist.