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The Shape Of Democracy In Internet Age

Random thoughts

by Uday Kumar Varma

Former Secretary,  Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.

That we are past Industrial Age and already in the new Age of Internet, is a phenomenon and a fact that we have come to recognize and reluctantly accept. The challenge now is how to understand and deal with the requirements of this age and how to harness and utilize its potential for furtherance of the interest of mankind and human existence on this planet. A more formidable and difficult challenge will be to mould and adapt our thinking and attitudes, our ambitions and impulses, our notions of growth and development and progress and equally significantly how to temper and tame our hubris and arrogance and intemperance in disowning and discarding what we have toiled to build over last many centuries with our talent, intellect, sweat and blood. For, detachment from something that we so passionately and painstakingly created, amplified and sustained is rarely uneventful or painless.

One immediate implication of the Internet Age will be on our governance structures and political institutions like democracy. Will democracy get strengthened, will it be fairer, more equitous and mature, and could it indeed become truly representative? Or will it become another instrument to be manipulated for creating narratives and discourses that serve the interests of those who control the use of internet? It’s a very important question and demand urgent attention from all thinking people in the world.

My own understanding of what has come to pass in past over a year and a half, makes me believe that there is no way we are going to turn back to old ways of our living. The society-its mechanics and dynamics, the institutions that so far defined our thoughts, concepts, planning, organizing, working and interacting, the daily chores that structured our personal, family and professional lives- all of these have transformed and this transformation is here not only to stay, but only get intensified.

The new world order will not brook wasteful processes and prolonged debates and deliberations. The representative nature of our collective expression or articulation because one did not have access to everyone else’s attention and information shall become irrelevant and redundant.

Out of over 6 .6 billion people in the world, internet has access to almost half of them. There are countries where this access is reaching a level that can be called universal while there are pockets where it is still in the realm of a distant dream and utopia. We have been calling this the digital divide for some time now. Is this divide narrowing? Is this gap getting bridged? Is the reach of the most advanced and the most backward and the information hiatus between the most primitive and the most advanced amongst the human race likely to continue and sustain for long?

The paradigm shift in the way we have been living and surviving in last year and a half offers enough evidence to suggest that it is just a matter of time when this so called divide may be a thing of past. The most remarkable aspect of our survival in the times of corona is that the world has not seen populations dying of hunger, of want, of lack of food or water or even medicine. And this has happened because we learnt to use the internet to maintain our supply chains, our processes of production and procurements and distribution. We learnt to work from home and to learn and teach and educate on line without the shelter of a class room or university building. We missed the ways we used to work but quickly adapted ourselves.

This then is going to be the ‘new normal’, and no doubt we will feel nostalgic about our former life styles, their pleasures and their advantages, those conveniences and comforts, we are never going to go back to these old ways. All concepts of an era, borne out of our advancement emanating from Industrial Age and its gifts and legacies today stand on their head and shall only be replaced, substituted and supplanted.

Not too far in the future, shall we need a parliament? Why do you need to elect 600 odd people’s representatives paying an astronomical price in terms of money, time, energy and resources, just to debate on policy matters and take a majority view when each one of us can directly express our opinion and views on any issue under the sun with which we are concerned? At a click of a key, we can directly and decisively opine whether we want or need a law, or how a scheme of welfare for children and women should be conceived and created. We can participate directly in telling the government whether we need a law, a regulation, for whom and what should constitute its contents and components? The new Age of Internet will enable us to do so. So do expect in near future abolition of or at least a radical transformation in the way we think and conceive of making laws in this country or for that matter in any other countries and we don’t need MPs and MLAs to decide what law should be framed and enacted for us. These bodies, no doubt, will have some other useful purpose but we will not need them the way they exist today.

But there always exists another possibility- perversity and pessimism, destruction and disorder- being as natural an impulse, choice and fascination as are creation and conception. What if some or many of us consciously decide and choose the technical manipulation of information and data to further consolidate control and authority- a weakness and vulnerability that nature seems to have endowed upon us as generously as it does the spirit of benevolence, altruism and sacrifice. And such a possibility is not merely a fear or apprehension, it is real, palpable and experiential.

Notwithstanding the uncertainties and attendant excitement of understanding the unraveling of imminent possibilities, one is inclined to be convinced on the course of the future democracies of the world set and destined to reinvent and re-engineer themselves. And this will only be a beginning. Institutions after institutions so assiduously and craftily built during the Industrial Era will crumble under their weights as increasingly they will find little utility, little value and no justification for their continuing existence. Be ready instead to embrace and accept and own new order of Institutions- in every sphere and dimension of human life and existence.

Despite All Divisions

It is not merely a coincidence that America’s next to next head of state could be (so should be) of an Indian origin. 

Democracy doesn’t disintegrate a country but actually integrates as gradually happened in America since a long time back and in India since not so ling time back. Whereas initiating into a totalitarianism actually disintegrates instead of integrating any nation as happened in China a long time back and gradually happening in Turkey now a days. Democratically adhering to a constitutional process helps forming the actual public unity.

Furthermore the Internet has a potential even for integrating different peoples beyond all political or superstitious divisions including that of any countries, constitutions or any set of beliefs. America and India are the best of examples of such a course and are capable of setting the best example furthering a common course as well. It is not merely a coincidence that America’s next to next head of state could be of an Indian origin.

The oldest and the largest of all concurrent democracies can do a lot together by collaborating themselves in furthering cooperation among democracies. Healthcare, software and warfare are concurrently relevant industrial avenues for enhancing diplomatic cooperation among democracies.

Furthering Cooperation

The scope of furthering cooperation doesn’t end anywhere. Any wiser people always avail this.

If India and America stand solidly together, Taiwan can help Tibet and Hong Kong in furthering its democratic objective in China, completing all parties’ unfinished business.

Altogether they might help Tibet in restoring its sovereign borders with both its neighbours China & India. Altogether they might help Hong Kong in shedding any separatism for liberating a Bastille of democracy within China, where the Chinese people are politically imprisoned for more than half a century after a military occupation by the Communist Party of China.

Behaving Business-wise

Different worlds remain different despite unnecessary efforts of assimilating them altogether. Only business binds them together. Without that their crossing paths cause only ill-wills and accidents. China, Europe & Arab need help amicably.

Randomly killing people cannot be called any religion the way hurting the faith of any people is no freedom of expression and the forces forcing their people to migrate, must not get recognised as the governments.

This cannot be done without resolving the conflict of interests between Russia and America. India can help the US in resolving any mutual doubts with Russia that can even facilitate a fruitful cooperation in defence production within India at least. The US can further collaborate with Russia in enhancing a repairing recourse of political integration between Arab and China covering the whole of the Indian Ocean making India lead at its core. 

Together India, Russia and America can facilitate training in diplomacy & warfare for democracies at every other place. 

Staying Battle-ready

Staying battle-ready is a necessary constant for the soverigns alike. There is no variable for that. That is how any peace offensive never worked well in statecraft.

Contrary to Doklam standoff of 2017 in Bhutan, India’s prior leaderships historically failed to move forward for helping out any neighbours -such as Tibet, Persia and Gandhar- upon any foreign aggression, invasion and occupation so India suffered severly in the long run. India’s own unfinished battles also fated to bleed forever because the leaders mandated to lead were averse to war.

Tibet was occupied but not Taiwan. Even a successful warlord like Mao did not adventure to attack Taiwan although occupied Tibet. Saddam Hussein was toppled but not Kim Jong Un. The outgoing US President Donald Trump even befriended Kim Jong Un.

Behaving business-wise while staying battle ready is essential for saving humankind from all ill-will and violence. Thus; despite all divisions; India, America and every other responsible people can better be doing altogether.

One Country Two Systems Is Seriously Troubled

The political economy of the People’s Republic of China could further get troubled with the lowest GDP growth on record. A trade war is escalating between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping while China accuses the West in general and the United States of America in particular for provoking protests in Hong Kong.

Whenever caught in a conflict with the oldest democracy in the world that is far away, the People’s Republic of China got good support from the largest democracy in the world that is in its neighbourhood. But recently the Chinese Government has further alienated the largest democracy also by crticising the Indian act of terminating a kind of ‘one country two systems’ in Kashmir. China has unnecessarily gone too far in its alliance with Pakistan that is constantly accused of provoking separatism and terrorism by the Indian side.

Whereas the problem in Hong Kong is continuing independently of all these factors, manifesting a failure of ‘One Country Two Systems’ policy in particular. ‘One China Policy’ showcasing ‘One Country Two Systems’ is seriously troubled with Hong Kong Administration increasingly alienating the people of Hong Kong. The government response is seemingly posing a threat to democracy in Hong Kong, anticipating any retaliation by Chinese people into a threat of democracy in mainland China as well.

The Constitutional Process Must Prevail Over Everything Else

The democracy deserves respecting the mandate won by the public representatives. Still not any particular persons but independent institutions uphold any plural democracy, protecting lawful interests without any discriminations so the institutional sanctity is inviolable everywhere.

The constitutional process must prevail over everything else protecting all that. The political inclusion is to become possible for everyone simply by joining the constitutional process. Everywhere this should become the norm. Sangkrit supports all the people insisting upon that.

The China Crisis

Any system collapses because of its internal inconsistencies rather than any outside conflicts.

The Soviet Union collapsed by unnecessarily exerting itself everywhere in its super power syndrome instead of pursuing the welfare of its own people within the homeland. Contrarily China has become cash-rich by following that wisdom of consecutive leaderships but now its government has also proceeded on that hegemonial path where the Communist Party of China might itself cause its collapse without anything foreign involved.

What threatens CPC more, democracies in the West and in nearby India, or its own proclaimed adherence to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought?

Exceeding the Deng restrainment, now cash-rich CPC has started economically exerting itself beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China almost everywhere at the expense of the Chinese workers. Workers in China are exploited utmost. It is up to the extent that for decades every other capitalistic corporation used to establish its production lines in China.

This is making Chinese students from the working class background increasingly find solace in the writings of Marx and Mao. Reading radical classics thoroughly exposes the sham of Communist system to them. Gradually public experience configures their own consistency sparking independent imaginations among most of them. This makes the system seem increasingly more inconsistent with the vows of its own adherance.

Half a century back CPC pumped Maoism into India that is yet bleeding because of this. Although India reasonably refrained from retaliating by pumping in anything from Dalai Lama to democracy in return. Nor India embraced Taiwan as tit for tat to cope with China encouraging Pakistan. Whereas China brought in Russia also into this. Still not exerting unnecessarily is going to become India’s clear advantage in the future. Encouraging Pakistan has made what of the United States of America is evident in itself.

Inconsistencies within the People’s Republic of China are increasingly evident everywhere from Xinjiang and Tibet upto Hong Kong in contradiction to the Republic of China at Taiwan. Any system collapses because of its internal inconsistencies rather than any outside conflicts. This was proved true through the collapse of the Soviet system and this is going to be true with the Chinese characteristics as well.

Democracy Might Disintegrate China

The political power used to come through the barrel of the gun but now the right to govern is rigidly wired within the smartphone stage of internet age that is not going to let anyone govern without a popular vote for doing that anywhere in a wired world.

The People’s Republic of China has economically become a global pressure cooker without any political safety valves at home. This is further enhanced by amending the constitution for establishing Xi’s ideas as constitutional positions.

CPC controls the PLA and the government as well in the socalled People’s Republic of China but just like CPSU, endangering its political continuity in future, CPC is critically unprepared to compete democratically in its people’s real republic.

Economic growth in the most populous country, everyday enhances the largest number of public aspirations. All of those cannot ever be manifested through only one party led by only one thought of only one person at the helm of everything. ‘One Country Two Systems’ too brought in a few early ignition points within the country that Taiwan, behaving as another country, was unable to provide.

New democracy might spread by disintegrating the nation from within, as the political face off began in Hong Kong, has duly become its ignition switch. Seeing that well off Chinese already prefer to migrate elsewhere. The belt and road initiative would ultimately result in a bad debt for China without any political equity anywhere left.

Henceforth CPC would allow only a chaos to bring in any political change. That is how a probable political disaster is now constitutionally inbuilt in the order itself.

The political power used to come through the barrel of the gun but now the right to govern is rigidly wired within the smartphone stage of internet age that is not going to let anyone govern without a popular vote for doing that anywhere in a wired world.

Historically Hindu Is The Nation, Not Any Religion

Peace is exclusively reserved only for those people, who are more than willing to fight all their battles themselves.

Unprepared to accept the truth of time, India got a dynasty and democracy altogether. Thereafter whenever people of India are fed up with the dynasty politics, very democratically it is shown the door and whenever they become bored without that, the dynasty was brought back by a popular vote. That politically sustained the divided nation, till the hindu polity adequately grown to govern.

Historically Hindu is the nation, not any religion. There is no place for any religious fundamentalism in their being one nation. All the people of every possible caste and creed beyond this side of Sindhu river, were altogether called Hindus by Arabist invaders.

For a very long period of time, Hindus lived in their denial mode, considering that being the most accomodating people on planet earth, none is ever going to harm them but the world has never been that peaceful. That is why they took so much time to stand up against everything untoward.

The nation consistently suffered every unfought conflict due to its lack of a battle mode. Sikhism was Hindu’s limited resistance to Mughal’s terror. Unfortunately a quit India movement was not made to finally throw them out.

Considering the country Hindu, Muslims categorically refrained from assimilating into its nationality. Complimented by unnecessary appeasements that resulted in Pakistan. Later on Jihadi terrorism was reinvented on that very basis by anglo-american imperialism to get launched locally from the base areas of Pakistan but ultimately it reached West and the things changed forever.

Peace is exclusively reserved only for those people, who are more than willing to fight all their battles themselves.

Separatism Doesn’t Resolve Anything

Spain disintegrates due to its inherent colonial consistency that is still evident in its king. It is a failure of their democracy. Many more European states might face many similar circumstances.

The problem is not that Spain disintegrates. The way solution is not that Catalonia is not Spain. Tibet may not be China or Scotland was not England.

The way Hong Kong aspires for democracy but China fails in accomodating that, what Catalonia would do afresh for Catalans, if independent, is a geopolitical question that nobody bothers to answer.

The colonial consistency must breakdown at some point of time but annihilating all apartheid includes separatism as well. Separatism doesn’t resolve anything. This uploads mere a political hype that fades away with time into coercion of a new kind.

Morons May Not Be Sure About Many Things

Opposing the election of the constitutionally elected president of the United States of America amounts opposing the democratic mandate regarding that.

Donald Trump is lawfully elected by the majority of American people. His inauguration was opposed in unprecedented way without even waiting for any of his decisions. Such an outcry of a bygone era is left without credentials.

Opposing the election of the constitutionally elected president of the United States of America amounts opposing the democratic mandate regarding that. This disregards american public right of self-determination. Morons may not be sure about many things.

All The Men Must Get Governed

Ensuring public security and delivering free justice is the foremost task left with sovereign state. That is to be legislated for and treated accordingly. It is called the rule of law that  actually establishes law and order in its domain. People elect leaders so democratically they can build effective pressures on politicians to act accordingly.

The reactionary apartheidism is posing the biggest ever threat to public security in Arab and Europe. Its sheer disregard to the free will of the individual and any local values is fearsome for the people everywhere. 

The chasm between the glamour of the geopolitical stage and the political squalor back home is getting despairingly vast since no more any civilized people are willing to allow an influx of refugees permanently endangering public security of their homeland.

It is a military question by now and must get tackled only that way. If any tyranny is seen making many refugees then those refugees must get trained militarily to fight back for establishing democracy.

There should not be any other remedy involved. The final victory of public security is a must for establishing human order on planet earth. All the men must get governed.

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