Psychological Dimension of Democracy
Emajuddin Ahamed writes for DOT :
How should the leaders be motivated to work out a democratic polity? What should be the mental disposition of the citizens in a democratic society? These questions are of crucial importance. Democracy has been the order of the day; it has had an overwhelming appeal to the people; it has proved itself capable of bringing in desirable changes in regenerating moral flavor and ethical values in society and polity. But to make it work, both the leaders and the led have to have certain qualities but for which democracy will be only a name bereft of its intrinsic ethos, its sublime character. It may in that case degenerate into ‘illiberal democracy’ verging on the crevice of authoritarianism, worse than any kind of despotism. The recent trend in the government of Bangladesh has unfortunately given rise to those symptoms, which have been derided quite hotly both at home and abroad.
Indeed, democracy is a slower process, although a sure one to deliver the goods to the political community. The contrast of democracy with autocracy is sometimes “likened to that of raft with a fully rigged sailing ship. The former travels safely but slowly, bobbing with the waves, at times swiftly and grandly, with comfort and assurance, sometimes to encounter disaster on rocks whose passage the rabbet could have safely managed. Democratic solutions to problems, coming out mostly through compromises are raft like. The problems are solved ‘grandly’ and rarely with efficiency or neatness. The efficiency and decisiveness of autocracy however are achieved at a great cost. Its grandeur may hide beneath the surface of mounting anger and frustration and discontent, giving rise to basic instability. That speaks why democratic order has been advocated from so many pulpits in the interest of social stability and political advancement the humankind has so long been looking for since the dawn of history.
Democracy as a system however does not work automatically. For its successful functioning, it needs leadership with a difference and citizens with special preparations. In this part of the world, the political leaders have always a hateful disposition to arrogate power to themselves. They do not hesitate to usurp the rights of the citizens. Quite often and zealously they indulge in abusing human rights. Sometimes they find pleasure in trampling under feet the rights of the citizens causally; even while doing all these they are not at all ashamed. In most cases, they succeed in collecting a bunch of sycophants to cry hoarse for depicting the vile actions of their leaders as leaders’ achievements. The leaders are most often arrogant and vengeful.
The writer is political scientist, author and educationist.