Winds of change

Sat, May 25, 2019

Former US president Barack Obama once said in his famous “audacity of hope” speech: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things. Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.” Change is the only constant. The die has been cast. Sikkim has voted for change. And so it be.
Democracy incorporates four major principles: it is a political system for choosing and replacing governments through free and fair elections; it involves the active participation of citizens in politics and public life; it entails protection of the human rights of all citizens; it is a rule of law in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
The first principle of democracy as a political system for choosing and replacing governments through free and fair elections, views democracy as a means for people to choose their leaders and hold them accountable for their actions and policies. In this regard, people decide who will represent them through free and fair elections. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.” According to Robert Post in Democracy and Equality, “democratic forms of government are those in which the laws are made by the same people to whom they apply.” Government is therefore based on the consent of the governed which means that people are sovereign, that is, the highest form of political authority.
Now that the verdict is out, its time for real work to begin. Being the cantankerous democracy that India is, the real issues of the people are often drowned in rhetoric and the ensuing drama. Amidst the political brouhaha, it is important to take a step back and reflect on the profoundness of the electoral system in India. Every time India goes to the polls, it is touted as a marvel in democratic history.
Despite the rather uplifting story of widening, deepening and much-valued democracy, all is not well. India has a procedurally functioning system but with substantial shortcomings. After the elections, things tend to go back to a routine where certain classes and groups continue to control the operations and resources of the state.
A good sign of a functioning democracy is when we have a system with the opposition keeping a hawk’s eye on the government and democratic institutions. Procedural democracy in the form of periodic elections may endure but the liberal spirit undergirding democracy, so cherished by the drafters of the Constitution, is in danger of becoming extinct if the true essence of democracy is not upheld, by all. In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?

Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi