Tuesday 21 May 2024

Democracy needs good law keepers

Religion aims to better human nature, but politics seem to bring out the worst with religious and political power a potent mixture

John Eric Gomes | JANUARY 24, 2024, 11:55 PM IST

Long ago Socrates opined “Democracy will fail as the poor will want the wealth of the rich, young people want to be respected as elderly, women will want to be like men, foreigners will want the rights of natives, thieves and fraudsters will want important government functions, and at that time when thieves and fraudsters finally democratically take authority, there will be worse dictators than the time of monarchy and oligarchy”.

Religion aims to better human nature, but politics seems to bring out the worst with religious and political power a potent mixture! Now that the grand Ram Mandir has finally been built and inaugurated, majority Hindu pride/ dominance established, led from the front by Prime Minister Modi , it remains to be seen whether Ram Raj in Hindutva philosophy and Sanathan Dharma will bring the world together as one family in Bharat’s march to being a world super power with good governance, economic justice, transparency and accountability, shunning all hate/revenge and respecting all religions with humility.

Sure, times have drastically changed and so have attitudes! By and large the four ideas still fascinating this generation are cinema, cricket, politics and hero worship. Money and power is the main reason and we give it to them.  Actors, cricketers, politicians get unaccountable crores besides adulation and perks! A brief history of politics in Goa shows President’s rule was imposed on us four times and many Chief Ministers sworn in by toppling games, some in office for a total mere six and a half days, another eighteen and a half days as below:

The first session of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu legislature was held 60 years ago under CM Dayanand Bandodkar with 30 members (28 Goa, 1 each Daman and Diu). The victory of the MGP in 1963 with Bandodkar as CM lit a spark for merger with Maharashtra with Marathi as official language. To counter this UGP was formed in September 1963 with Jack Sequeira as President. An opinion poll was called and for Bandodkar to resign to keep it free and fair which he gracefully did. The poll was conducted by the Central Election Commission in Goa in January 1967.  Goa attained statehood in May 1987, the Assembly expanded to 40, all from Goa with Konkani as official language to be included in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution, but in devanagari script. This was reportedly surreptitiously included according to speaker Tomazine Cardoso to the surprise and disappointment of the Konkani speaking proponents who profusely use the roman script in their writings, songs and theatres! 

The past chronology of CMs and their tenures very briefly will perhaps convince “we the people” to work for the required change? Democracy and our Constitution are being severely strained!  

The first CM of Goa, Daman and Diu - Dayanand Bandodkar 20/12/63-2/12/66; Presidents Rule Opinion Poll (124 days); Bandodkar 2 terms/death (6 yrs 129 days); Sashikila Kakodkar (5 yrs 258 days); Presidents Rule (264 days); Pratapsingh Rane 2 terms (7 yrs 134 days); After statehood CM of Goa Pratapsingh Rane (2 yrs 301 days); Churchill Alemao (18 days); Luis Proto Barboza (244 days); Presidents Rule (42 days); Ravi Naik (2 yrs 113 days); Wilfred DSouza (319 days); Ravi Naik (6 days).  

Wilfred DSouza (252 days); Pratapsingh Rane (3 yrs 225 days); Wilfred Dsouza (117 days; Luzinho Faleiro (77 days); Presidents Rule (114 days); Luizinho Faleiro (168 days); Francisco Sardinha (334 days); Manohar Parrikar (4 yrs 101 days); Pratapsingh Rane (29 days); Presidents Rule (95 days); Pratapsingh Rane (2 years); Digamber Kamat (4 yrs 274 days); Manohar Parrikar (2 yrs 244 days); Laxmikant Parsekar (2 yrs 23 days; Pramod Sawant (incumbent CM). 

It was apparent during Presidents rule under Governor Lt Gen F R  Jacob (10/2/99- 9/6/99, 114 days) we did not need 40 MLAs as Goa was  happiest and best administered during his brief tenure with exemplary  order and discipline both in government and resultant happy people!  

Goa legislature’s day was celebrated on January 9th, 2024. The forum comprised of MLAs, MPs, ex MLAs/MPs. The Department of Information and Publicity does not give much information, and neither does the government, as is also the complaint of those using the RTI. This government policy seems to be telling people not what they want to know but only what they need to know! We knew from such functions in the past that there were always demands for more perks and privileges. How it is celebrated and what transpires does show the people the attitude of our legislators. We elect politicians from a certain party, but they do not honor our mandate, jump ship and we are helpless!  

To take dominance/control away from entrenched politicians and vested interests we need to create an environment to groom honest, talented, educated social workers and become participative citizens. We need to proactively attend the Gram Sabhas in greater numbers, groom Sarpanchas and members from there to stand for State and central elections and support honest public-spirited people to overwhelm the winnable candidates of power and moneybags with true patriots whose caste and religion are governed more by humanity and the community of people in all their diversity and goodness.  

From them, we can expect good politicians/statesmen. Democracy is not perfect, but considering human nature it respects everyone with God-given freedom and empowers human rights by Constitutional law to demand justice and accountability that we fought so hard to establish!

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