Saturday, August 30, 2008

Maturing of US democracy ..


It is indeed a maturing of democracy. 

But a comparison to India may not be quite accurate to establish that one is better than the other, since the culture we have in India matured over more than 5000 years.  The current US culture is no more than 400 years old.  Just compare the buildings that were in India and America about 300 to 200 years ago.  Our structures displayed enormous sophistication and engineering prowess.  And yet what did we do with it?  Nothing!  While it is nice to blame the Brits for our problems and to claim that ours was a peaceful culture, that is not an excuse for having let someone come in and take over our country.  The very fact that that happened indicates that there was something wrong with the basic premise of the peaceful nature of our culture.  It fails to take into account that everyone may not be like us.  So, our cultures never developed strategies to tackle such a situation and thus ended up oppressed by a colonial power.

Now onto the matter of human and civil rights.  Everyone, mostly Indians, like to point out the hypocrisy of the United States that talks human and civil rights, but doesn't walk it.  This criticism of the US is predicated upon the premise that our nation and culture had human and civil rights implicit in itself. (Indians like to say our culture professes a respect for others, the Sanathana Dharma professes the most just society, etc.).  And yet, our actions belie these claims.  For over a thousand years, a small group of Indians kept in place and enforced a horrible state of discrimination and oppression on a larger group of Indians - the caste system and the horrors carried out in its name - all done by the very people who were supposed to uphold the teachings of the Dharma, the Brahmins, aided and abetted by minions of non-Brahminical lineage.  So, that compares favourably (or rather unfavourably) with what the US has done.  So, which is better?  A culture that supposedly has embodied human and civil rights for more than 5000 years oppressing a large part of itself for over a 1000 years or a young culture that has been talking human and civil rights for a little over 200 years, having oppressed a small part of its population that was brought over for the explicit act of opressing for about 300 years and then finally being able to almost let a woman ascend to the highest post in the land or allowing the nomination a person from the oppressed community to fight for a chance at that office?

I am not exactly a great fan of US policies, but I certainly would like to be fair in my criticism of the US.

Maturing of democracies ...

Newspapers and media are abuzz with reports of Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States.. Just the nomination.!!

Anyway,a welcome departure for a country which took more than a hundred years to banish slavery ! From those days to the present where a black American is nominated to the top post in the country, it is a great journey of discovery for a major democracy in the world..Definitely a welcome change in mindsets and perceptions !! sign of maturing ..

It took more than 200 years for a non-white man just to get the nomination !! It needs a great change of mindset, courage and willingness for the white man to accept a black as his country's top executive.. Forcefully entering oneself into somebody else's property and land and establishing oneself in his house as an unwelcome guest, using all sorts of deceit, treachery and violence in dislodging him from his land and then claiming to be a GREAT DEMOCRACY, is the great American dream !! 

And there are some individuals lacking an identity, helping firm up that mosaic of cultures, mindsets and civilizations. Their only lookout is their economic prosperity and well being. For some, it is a desire to achieve more and do higher studies, moving away from a land of extreme competition and intellectual prowess to a less competitive but rewarding one, for others it is a search for a new identity, for others it is search of jobs, the reasons are many.

At the other end of the spectrum you have a country which was forcefully occupied by a colonial power and the hostage finally succeeds to dislodge the oppressor, a distant cousin of the same oppressor who went to the Americas, from his country after 150 years, with pure will power and sense of purpose, employing non-violent means. This country has already finished successful social empowerment experimentation with all such minority communities and socially backward communities giving them positions of eminence in society in just a matter of fifty years.  APJ and KR Narayanan ..

US democracy is maturing anyway . It took the self-proclaimed champion of democracy more than 200 years to elevate a member from an oppressed community to a top honorable post, while the Indian democracy had already finished successfully such social experimentation and come out with flying colours. India is willing to help hold the hands and guide our colleague trying out a new experiments.

Good Luck Obama, you have come up in spite of lot of odds and crushed a mindset of 200 years ..

Persistence pays at the end !!

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