Democracy is not a Spectator Sport
Founder of the Lok Satta Party, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, asks Sadhguru how India should deal with its corrupt politicians. Sadhguru reminds us that democracy is not a spectator sport, and only when citizens get involved with governance can corruption be eliminated. He looks at why democracy is still in a fledgling state in India, and how the country has not been educated about the fundamentals of democracy.
Dr Jayaprakash Narayan: Sadhguru, before we go into the issue of politics and corruption, because all of us love to hate politicians.
Sadhguru: I… I wouldn’t allow that because it’s become a fashion and a fad and almost a compulsion that wherever you go, people are talking politics - how horrible the politicians are - whether they know about it or they don’t know about it… from a tea shop, to an office and wherever else it's happening. If you are a responsible citizen, what democracy means is, it is the people’s government. These politicians did not land from the sky. They’re one among you, who stood up to do something. Now for whatever reasons, they’ve become the way they’ve become. You do not know how many have become like that, how many not. We’re generalizing because we have a certain pleasure in painting everything very bleak and black. If your nation is important for you and if you believe that you have handed over your nation to a bunch of crooks and you’re sitting here and it's entertainment for you, I think it is you who need to be punished, not the corrupt. (Applause) Because democracy cannot be a spectator sport, it is a participatory process. If I say participatory, most people’s understanding of this is, if I come out once in five years and vote, my responsibility is over.
No, democracy has various instruments through which you can participate on a daily basis in the governance of your country, your state, your city and your street. There are various mechanisms. ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Why you don’t know? Because you’ve not cared, isn’t it? Why you have not educated yourself to know is you have not cared because the idea of the nation has not gone deep enough in this country. Still, our identifications with our religions, our caste, our creed, our family is more predominant than the identity of the nation. This is the reason why these things are happening.
So democracy in India is still in an evolutionary state, needs lot more evolution and nobody has done to educate people as to what is democracy. Not enough work has been done. It has not been brought into our education systems. Social organizations, the government itself should have taken it up in a big way to educate people, why democracy. See, the moment we vote for our religion, or caste or creed or even family, if you vote, there is no democracy anymore. There is only feudalism, isn’t it? (Applause)
Democracy will be a functional democracy, only when you go and vote and you don’t know who your wife voted for, who your husband voted for and you don’t want to know. Only if you have this kind of integrity, democracy will work. You tell your whole family, ‘You vote for this person’ - this is not democracy, it's finished. I’m saying that has not been understood at all.