We live in a democratic country (mostly democratic). Democracy makes every citizen above 18 a citizen with voting rights, which means it gives us a right to participate in collective decision making. As a citizen, we are entitled to vote for our elected representative every 5 years. You know all of that. But “to participate in collective decision making” does not only mean voting.
Democracy takes into account the interests, rights, and opinions of most people in society. It grants us the liberty to voice them. It demands from us a role, both political and economical, to contribute to the smooth functioning of the society. The passive attitude in us caused the term ‘citizen’ to have two elements:
- Active citizenship
- Passive citizenship
Active citizenship is surely a great political theory! Sadly there were no practical classes conducted to help us be citizens.
As a gregarious animal, we play different roles in our lives like the role of a daughter, friend, student, etc. Just like that, in this democratic world, we play the part of being a citizen; an important yet a very underestimated part of the social life.
Our 8th standard textbooks were filled with facts and figures about the constitution, but it was never promoted as a book that directs us. We were always interested in other subjects because of the boring political science lectures. But even if we become a doctor, dancer, teacher, etc, we would always be citizens, right? It’s like not talking about condoms, safe sex and shying around by the word ‘periods’ when we receive sex education! We are just taught stuff they think is necessary for us. Citizenship is a part of us that is murdered by our education system.
The need is to change how we view politics. The stereotypes around politics have caused us to distance ourselves from it. The media, the fourth pillar of democracy has forgotten the difference between entertainment and politics. Reality TV is now deciding how we think about governance. Fake news, sensationalism, propaganda are parts and parcels of media now. ( Nathi Nonsense has talked about media before, to read more about it, find the links attached below:
India is not a perfect country, there is a lot of poverty, communal disharmony, etc etc! I won’t be talking from a very superficial level, quoting how the interests of farmers are not met, laborers are not met. Those are some very serious issues but as privileged kids, ironically, none of that affects us. We as a ‘privileged youth’ are not part of the economic system of the government. Our voices are still fresh, our blood still hot. We have an ideal image in our heads, of a world that should be. We are lucky enough to read this article, talk about change, and not face extreme poverty. Our problems include depression, career confusions, identity crisis, etc and just to break your bubble, these issues are privileged issues too!
63% of Sudan population is youth, around 40% of it under 15. When they hang out they talk about hacks to protest or the importance of democracy. Because of their power, they overthrew a dictator and now as they fight for democracy, they are all united to face the consequences.
Lets together end this culture of pseudo-democracy!
Let’s start by being open to ideas and facts and reality. The constitution is surely facts and laws, but it was written with a very philosophical and psychological intent, that we are not aware of. Rights like equality, liberty, freedom of expressions were created to help us become the best version of ourselves and to help the society grow.
If we don’t acknowledge our rights when they get violated we are stopping the growth of ourselves and society.
We would be talking about different aspects of these rights, explore how they are affecting us psychologically. Please let us know in comments below, how you think the culture is affecting our roles as active citizens in India.