In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly resolved to observe 15 September as the International Day of Democracy, and this year it has a particular focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies”. Three of the targets in goal 16 relate directly to improving democracy:
1. Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
2. Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
3. Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
The new goals and the underlying targets result from a process that has been more inclusive than ever, with Governments involving business, civil society and citizens from the outset.
So, why are these targets, these long-term goals so important? They’re important because they’re pertinent.
For India, a country of over 1.3 billion people where a good part of the population still finds it difficult to eat twice a day, it is imperative that we understand what it actually means to be a democracy. Putting the “cool-sounding” jargon aside for a moment, try to reflect on the last time you acted as an enabler to the process of making the country a better place.
The International Monetary Fund pegs India’s economic growth rate at just over 7.0%. This is phenomenal in its own right. But does this compensate for the level of destitution present in the society that we live in? Question yourself by swapping places in your mind with the needy and ask yourself what you could actually do to bring about a change. We’re nothing but a bunch of hypocrites when we conveniently dump everything on the Sarkar and harken back to the Aisa Hi Chalta Rahega attitude. This was the same way our fathers and forefathers spent their days. Do we really want to repeat the same? The answer should be a resounding “No!” but is it really?
Mahatma Gandhi once opined that “Democracy is something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong.”
Our advice: Be that chance. Be more.
Title image: askideas