OPINION: Why ‘democracy’ is necessary?
There is a famous quotation "Power corrupts a man and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778, who said something similar in a speech to the UK House of Lords in 1770: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it".
The question as to how one gets the absolute power, it is either by powers to one man, having no check of Parliament or Judiciary. The other way is that the people may not be willing to fight for their rights and even don’t expect accountability from the ruling person.
The thinkers like Abraham Lincoln said, you can a fool of some people for all the times but all the people, all the times. Meaning thereby, if there is a democracy, a leader can rule only if he has the support of the people and this support cannot be grabbed by making a fool of the people. If we hand over the power to an intelligent dictator, the decision taking power is fast and the country prosperous.
There is an opposition between the two words – dictatorship and philanthropist because the dictator is selfish and with this very reason, he can’t be philanthropist. At the same time, the rule by one man cannot be helpful for a long time.
Numbers of examples are available like that of Pakistan which was ruled by the army dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan, General Zia-ul-Haq and General Parvesh Musharaf. At the beginning, they were accepted by the people but the confidence was immediately turned in to hate. The dictator never want to get a news, which he don’t want to listen and his best men tell him the only what he wants to listen. In the dictatorship, those who have to implement the policies become corrupt as they are not answerable to anybody.
The name in this category could be of Hitler, who suspended the Parliament and himself became the dictator. The second is of Indira Gandhi, when she declared emergency and later on, she was compelled to reestablish the democracy wherein Parliament, Judiciary, Media and People, are available and this is the reason that scams of 2G, Common Wealth Games, Coal Scam have been exposed and legal proceedings have been initiated.
According to American constitution, the president and governors can contest for only two times and the maximum term will be of 8 years.
There is nothing like this in India but the political parties should seriously think as to whether the MPs, MLAs, Ministers, Chief ministers and Prime Ministers would follow it as if their retirement time has come.
Secondly, in case the political parties themselves do not establish a discipline then some strategy for retirement of political leaders has to be formulated because if there is a limited time to rule, then the possibility of misuse of powers to retain it will be reduced.
Thirdly, the political parties themselves have to become democratic and the leaders should be elected right from the root level to top level by its members besides transparency in its aims and objects. There should be proper financial accounts of the party and made public from time to time. All parties should make it a point that the local candidate is nominated for contesting the election that is recognized by the people. The elections should be found on certain issues instead of individual personal attacks.
At the same time, the defeat should not be taken seriously and any member doing the wrong whether in power or out of power, the party should itself enquire into the matter and take action. In case, this happens, only then we can expect the clean and honest administration and there will be no corruption as the people have the power to break the nexus between power and corruption.