Within democracy people are granted the right to vote either through universal suffrage/liberal democracy (all adults can vote) or by restricted franchise (only a limited group of people have voting rights such as socialist democracy).
The prerequisites for the success of democracy are morality [1B], education [1A] and socio-economico-political consciousness [1C,2B].
Different forms of democracy:
Political Democracy: Both liberal democracy and socialist democracy may be considered forms of political democracy because these systems are based on economic and political centralization.
Socialist Democracy: In communist countries, the right to vote (franchise) for leadership is restricted to only those members of the communist party. Communism is state capitalism based on party dictatorship, because economic power is controlled by the communist party and no other parties are allowed to compete.
Liberal Democracy: In capitalist countries, universal suffrage entitles all adults to vote. However economic power is controlled by a handful of capitalists who manipulate the mass media such as the radio, television and newspapers. Most often when people use the term “democracy“, they are referring to liberal democracy.
Economic Democracy: In economic democracy minimum requirements and purchasing capacity are guaranteed to the common people. Here economic power is decentralized by placing power to make all economic decisions in the hands of the local people, and preventing outsiders from interfering in the local peoples economy.
1. “Let us now discuss democracy. It is claimed that democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. After the Shúdra era power passed into the hands of tribal chiefs. In the course of time clan leaders became feudal kings. The theory of democracy was born out of feelings of revolt against the tyranny of the monarchy exercised by these feudal kings. The history of democracy is very ancient. History teaches us that it originated during the reign of the Licchavii Dynasty in ancient India. Being so ancient, it is not surprising that democracy has some defects.
Let us now analyse the assertion, “Democracy is government by the people”. In a democracy, do people have the requisite education and consciousness to judge what is right or what is wrong, what they should do or what they should not do? Does the power of understanding and judgement come as soon as one attains a prescribed age? Is age the yardstick of wisdom and education? Alas, this happens to be the accepted fact! If those who talk big about the democratic system read the history of the Licchavii Royal Dynasty they would learn that in those days not everyone had voting rights. Only the Licchavii leaders, not the people in general, could exercise and enjoy adult franchise.
Democracy can only be effective and fruitful where there is no kind of exploitation. Every person has certain minimum requirements in life which must be guaranteed. There may be a little adjustment in these minimum requirements as per differences in time, space and person. The people of Kashmir may need a great quantity of warm clothing. Therefore, they should be provided with more woollen clothes than the people of Bihar. The minimum requirements vary with the change of era and time. In ancient times, people were satisfied with a dhoti, a shirt and a pair of wooden sandals. Not only that, they did not even feel the need for shoes. But today a suit is an absolute necessity. In olden days people would travel long distances on foot, but today a cycle or motor car has become essential.
Minimum necessities must be provided to every individual. There is no limit to these minimum requirements. Every progressive society should bear in mind that the minimum requirements will go on increasing day by day. In the not too distant future a day will come when every individual will acquire a rocket. Then, for example, it will be very common for one’s father’s house to be on this planet and one’s father-in-law’s house to be on Venus.
The social system that will come into being, keeping parallelism and harmony with time, space and person, will be called progressive socialism. Our Prout is that very progressive socialism. Society will have to make provisions to ensure an increase in the living standard of every individual. When progressive socialism is established within the framework of democracy, then democracy will be successful. Otherwise, government of the people, by the people and for the people will only mean government of fools, by fools and for fools.
[1A] Mass education is one of the basic necessities for the successful and effective running of democracy. In some cases even educated people unjustly abuse their voting rights. People cast their votes at the insistence and inducement of misguided local leaders. To approach a polling booth like a herd of cattle to cast votes in ballot boxes is meaningless. Is this not a farce in the name of democracy? Thus, the spread of education and proper knowledge is essential. Education does not only means literacy or alphabetical knowledge. In my opinion, real education means proper, adequate knowledge and the power of understanding. In other words, education should impart an awareness of who I am and what I ought to do. Full knowledge about these things is what education means. Merely having some acquaintance with the alphabet is no education.
Literacy certainly serves some purpose. I am not saying that literacy is absolutely useless and lifeless. There are some countries in South America where only literate people enjoy franchise. Political parties in these countries launch literacy campaigns and people naturally cast their votes in favour of those parties which have made them literate. Thus, the government remains free from all responsibilities and expenditures in this regard. But this system cannot serve its full intended purpose. First, it is not reasonable to think that mere literacy will awaken full wisdom about what to do and what not to do. Second, if the responsibility of literacy is left to political parties, then those political parties will spread their respective party propaganda popularizing themselves among the people. People will become intellectually bankrupt, and this curse will undermine their rational judgement and discrimination. Nevertheless, education is of prime importance. Without education democracy can never be successful.
[1B] Morality is the second fundamental factor for the success of democracy. People sell their votes because they lack morality. There are some countries in the world where votes are bought and sold. Can we call it democracy? Is it not a farce? Democracy cannot succeed unless 51% of the population rigidly follow principles of morality. Where corrupt and immoral persons are in the majority, leaders will inevitably be elected among these immoral people.
Today there are too many obstacles on the path of morality. Urban civilization is one of the chief reasons of moral degeneration because many people are compelled to live undesirably in small, congested places. This is inimical to morality in individual life. Solitary living for some time is essential for the cultivation and development of morality. Where the population is very dense, milk and vegetables are in short supply, and these are indispensable for healthy survival. When the demand is more than the supply, adulteration goes unchecked. To meet the deficit in the supply of milk, people mix water with it. To meet the demand for diamonds, imitation diamonds are produced, because the demand is more than the supply. Cities become dens of corruption because of antisocial elements, but generally such things are not noticeable in villages. In villages everybody knows everyone else. Everybody knows the livelihood of their neighbours. But even after twenty years of living in a city people seldom get acquainted with their neighbours. They don’t even know that there are many swindlers lurking in their midst. However, the slogan, “Go back to the village” alone will not suffice. City life has a great attraction for people generally so they run to cities for their livelihood. To stop this trend intellectuals and others will have to look for their livelihood in villages. The supply of cheap electricity and the expansion of cottage industries in villages are of paramount necessity today. By cottage industries I do not mean outdated, primitive handicrafts. Cottage industries must be efficient, modern mechanized units. From the economic viewpoint decentralization is an absolute necessity. With the exception of heavy industries and essential government offices, all industry should be shifted to the vil lages. To stop overcrowding in the cities this is the only feasible approach. Villages are not congested, so antisocial people will not be able to hide themselves there. If they try, the police can easily detect them.
In a democratic society immorality is a big issue which cannot be avoided. Some people say that if mustard seeds are sprinkled over any person possessed by a ghost, the ghost takes to its heels. But if the ghost hides in the mustard seeds themselves, then of course there is not the ghost of a chance of escape from the ghost. Similarly, the ghost of immorality lies hidden in today’s democratic system. Democracy induces sentiments like provincialism, communalism, casteism, etc., which are devoid of morality. Suppose that in a certain constituency person A represents a majority community, but B, C, and D are capable and competent representatives. In such circumstances, representative A is sure to fully exploit the majority community by kindling casteism or narrow-minded communal sentiments in order to win elections. Such antisocial activities create suspicion in people’s minds and thus deal a staggering blow to their morality. In some democratic systems social discrimination becomes so rampant that different groups and parties find ample scope to propagate and disseminate their defective ideas and fissiparous sentiments. So we see that morality, which should be the basic factor of democracy’s victorious march, goes unprotected. Thus in a democracy some people indulge in casteism and extract maximum advantage from it. Political parties also nominate those persons who belong to majority communities as their representatives. The masses, being uneducated, cannot see through these games.
[1C] Thirdly, social, economic and political consciousness is also indispensable for the success of democracy. Even educated people may be misguided by shrewd and cunning politicians if they are not sufficiently conversant with social, economic and political issues. Democracy can be successful only when people imbibe these three kinds of consciousness. Without this awareness, the welfare of the society is not possible either in theory or in practice. Intellectuals, therefore, must never encourage unrealistic ideas of this sort.
But even if these three requirements for the success of democracy are met, the real welfare of the society is not possible by dialectical materialism or by democracy. The only solution is an enlightened, benevolent dictatorship – that is a morally and spiritually conscious dictatorship. Moralists, though in a minority today, have no reason to worry. Once society is led by people who are intellectually and intuitionally developed, there will certainly be no scope for exploitation and injustice. Now a question may arise. If in a nation or country every person enjoys human rights, why should a particular person have voting rights while others do not? After all, this world is the common inheritance of all, and every human being has the right to enjoy and utilize all mundane, supramundane and spiritual resources. But just because everybody has the individual right to enjoy everything, it does not follow that everybody has the individual right to run the administration of a country. For the good and the welfare of the people in general, it is not fitting to leave the onus of the administration in the hands of all. Suppose a certain couple have five children. All of them are happy and comfortable in the family. But if the children, on the plea of being in the majority, suddenly claim full authority and the right of the management of the family, is it feasible? Say they call a meeting and pass a resolution that all the glasses and crockery should be smashed. Can we call it a wise resolution? Let me give you another example. Students compared to teachers are always in the majority. Now if the students, on the plea of being in the majority, put up the demand that they them selves should set the examination and be the examiners, can that demand be granted? So you see, democracy is not a very good or simple system. But unless an alternative, better and more agreeable theory or system is evolved, we will have to accept democracy in preference to other systems, and make use of it for the time being.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Prout in a Nutshell Part 6, Dialectical Materialism and Democracy
2. “Economic Democracy
Nearly all the countries of the world today have come under some sort of democratic structure. Liberal democracy has been established in such countries as the USA, Great Britain, France and Canada, while in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam and Eastern Europe socialist democracy is the dominant system. The plight of the people in liberal democratic (so-called democratic) countries is not as miserable as it is in communist countries, because in communist countries the political and economic system is imposed on society by party officials, causing untold human suffering and severe psycho-economic exploitation. Both liberal democracy and socialist democracy may be considered forms of political democracy because these systems are based on economic and political centralization.
In all countries where democracy is in vogue today, people have been deceived into believing that there is no better system than political democracy. Political democracy has no doubt granted voting rights, but it has snatched away the right of economic equality. Consequently, there is gross economic disparity between the rich and the poor, immense inequality in people’s purchasing capacity, unemployment, chronic food shortages, poverty and insecurity in society.
The type of democracy prevalent in India is also political democracy, and it has proved to be a unique system of exploitation. The Indian constitution was created by three groups of exploiters: the British imperialists, the Indian imperialists and the ruling parties representing the Indian capitalists. All the provisions of the Indian constitution were framed keeping an eye on furthering the interests of these opportunists. Just to hoodwink the masses, the people were granted the right of universal suffrage. Millions of Indians are poor, superstitious and illiterate, yet the exploiters, through such practices as making false promises, intimidation, gross abuse of administrative power and vote rigging, repeatedly win over the electorate. This is the farce of democracy. Once they form the government, they get ample opportunity to indulge in rampant corruption and political tyranny for five years. In the subsequent elections – whether on the provincial or state level – the same absurdity is repeated.
This type of political opportunism has been going on in India since independence. For the last thirty-five years, the political parties have maintained that in order to attain economic parity with the industrially developed countries of Europe, India must follow the democratic system. To support this argument, they cite the examples of America and Great Britain or China and the Soviet Union. The political leaders urge the electorate to vote in their favour at election time so that the country’s starving masses can reap the benefits of a developed economy. But once the elections are over, the exploitation of the common people continues unabated in the garb of political democracy, and other areas of social life are completely neglected. Today millions of Indian citizens are being deprived of the minimum requirements of life and are struggling to procure adequate food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment, while a handful of people are rolling in enormous wealth and luxury.
One of the most obvious defects of democracy is that voting is based upon universal suffrage. That is, the right to cast a vote depends on age. Once people reach a certain age, it is assumed that they have the requisite capacity to weigh the pros and cons of the issues in an election and select the best candidate. But there are many people above the voting age who have little or no interest in elections and are not conversant with social or economic issues. In many cases, they vote for the party rather than the candidate, and are swayed by election propaganda or the false promises of politicians. Those who have not reached the voting age are often more capable of selecting the best candidate than those who are entitled to vote. So age should not be the yardstick for voting rights.
Whether or not a candidate gets elected usually depends upon party affiliation, political patronage and election expenditure. In some cases it also depends on antisocial practices. Throughout the world, money plays a dominant role in the electoral process, and in nearly all cases, only those who are rich and powerful can hope to secure elected office. In those countries where voting is not compulsory, often only a small percentage of the population participates in the electoral process.
[2B] The prerequisites for the success of democracy are morality, education and socio-economico-political consciousness. Leaders especially must be people of high moral character, otherwise the welfare of society will be jeopardized. But today in most democracies, people of dubious character and those with vested interests are elected to power. Even bandits and murderers stand for election and form the government.
In almost all the countries of the world, the masses lack political consciousness. Cunning, erudite politicians take advantage of this shortcoming to confuse people and attain power. They resort to immoral practices such as bribery, vote rigging, booth capturing and buying of votes, and stand unopposed for elections. Consequently, the standard of morality in society is declining, and honest, competent people are relegated to the background. Moral leaders have less chance to win elections because election results are rigged through financial inducements, intimidation and brute force. In the present democratic system, all sorts of immoral and corrupt practices are given the opportunity to pervert society. The very nature of the present system is that it favours the capitalists and exposes the administration to immoral and corrupt forces.
The farce of democracy has been likened to a puppet show where a handful of power hungry politicians pull the strings from behind the scene. In liberal democracies, capitalists manipulate the mass media such as the radio, television and newspapers, while in socialist democracies the bureaucrats lead the country to the brink of destruction. In both forms of democracy, there is little scope for honest, competent leaders to emerge in society, and virtually no possibility for the economic liberation of the people.
Political democracy has become a great hoax for the people of the world. It promises the advent of an era of peace, prosperity and equality, but in reality it creates criminals, encourages exploitation and throws common people into an abyss of sorrow and suffering.
The days of political democracy are numbered. PROUT demands economic democracy, not political democracy. To make democracy successful, economic power must be vested in the hands of the common people and the minimum requirements of life must be guaranteed to all. This is the only way to ensure the economic liberation of the people. PROUT’S slogan is: “To end exploitation we demand economic democracy, not political democracy.“…
…”In all the democratic counties of the world, economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals and groups. In liberal democracies economic power is controlled by a handful of capitalists, while in socialist countries economic power is concentrated in a small group of party leaders. In each case a handful of people – the number can be easily counted on one’s fingertips – manipulates the economic welfare of the entire society. When economic power is vested in the hands of the people, the supremacy of this group of leaders will be terminated, and political parties will be destroyed forever.
People will have to opt for either political democracy or economic democracy. That is, they will have to choose a socio-economic system based on either a centralized economy or a decentralized economy. Which one will they select? Political democracy cannot fulfil the hopes and aspiration of people or provide the basis for constructing a strong and healthy human society. The only way to achieve this is to establish economic democracy.
Requirements for Economic Democracy
The first requirement for economic democracy is that the minimum requirements of a particular age – including food, clothing, housing, education and medical treatment – must be guaranteed to all. Not only is this an individual right, it is also a collective necessity, because the easy availability of the minimum requirements will increase the all-round welfare of society.
The second requirement for economic democracy is that increasing purchasing capacity must be guaranteed to each and every individual. In economic democracy local people will hold economic power. Consequently, local raw materials will be used to promote the economic prosperity of the local people. That is to say, the raw materials of one socio-economic unit should not be exported to another unit. Instead, industrial centres should be built up wherever raw materials are available. This will create industries based on locally available raw materials and ensure full employment for all local people.
The third requirement for economic democracy is that the power to make all economic decisions must be placed in the hands of the local people. Economic liberation is the birthright of every individual. To achieve it, economic power must be vested in the local people. In economic democracy the local people will have the power to make all economic decisions, to produce commodities on the basis of collective necessity, and to distribute all agricultural and industrial commodities.
The fourth requirement for economic democracy is that outsiders must be strictly prevented from interfering in the local economy. The outflow of local capital must be stopped by strictly preventing outsiders or a floating population from participating in any type of economic activity in the local area.
For the success of economic democracy, PROUT must be implemented and the economic welfare of all people must be enhanced step by step. This in turn will lead to greater opportunities for the spiritual emancipation of human beings.
Finally, it should be remembered that economic democracy is essential not only for the economic liberation of human beings, but for the universal well-being of all – including plants and animals. Economic democracy will devise ways and means to effect the smooth progress of society by recognizing the unique value of both humans and non-humans alike.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, June 1986, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 21, Economic Democracy
3. “According to the definition in vogue today, democracy is defined as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Adult suffrage plays an important role in democracy. In the name of forming a democratic government, different political and communal parties throw their hats into the election ring. Every party issues its own election manifesto to influence the people in order to carry the laurels in the ensuing election battle. Besides, different parties entice the voters through election propaganda. Where educated people are in the majority and political consciousness is adequate, it is not very difficult for people to weigh the pros and cons of the manifesto of a particular party and to ascertain what is in the best interests of the people. But where there is a dearth of education and political consciousness, and where people fail to understand the reality of the manifesto and are misled by wrong propaganda, they cast their ballots in favour of parties whose ideals go contrary to the social interest. Consequently, parties are installed in power which go against the interests of the people.
In the present democratic system, the right to cast a vote depends on age. Suppose people get the right of suffrage at the age of 21. This assumes that all persons attaining the age of 21 have an understanding of the basic problems of the people, but in reality many people above the age of 21 remain ignorant of these problems for want of political consciousness. So the right of suffrage should not be based on age. This right should be vested in those who are educated and politically conscious. Conferring voting rights on the basis of age means that people may cast their ballots without proper understanding and knowledge, while many educated and politically conscious people are debarred from voting because of their age. This is the greatest lacuna of democracy.
The second lacuna is that in the democratic system people have to hear lengthy, insubstantial lectures which are also often misleading. Leaders have to canvass all and sundry to get votes. They have to placate thieves, dacoits and hypocrites because the latter command great voting power. That is why democracy is the government of thieves, dacoits and hypocrites. The government cannot take action against them because a government which curbs their nefarious activities cannot last long.
It is possible in a democratic government that the members or the elected representatives comprise more than fifty percent of the total number of candidates winning at the hustings while the total votes secured by their party may be less than fifty per cent. In such a condition the government is said to be of a majority party, but in reality it is the government of a particular minority party. As the government is formed by a particular party the opinion of another party or other parties is not respected in the legislature. Though all parties participate in passing legislation, bill are passed according to the wishes of the party that is in the majority. When acts are passed by a particular party, that party often derives benefit from the enacted law while the people at large do not derive much benefit from it at all.
As the government is formed by a particular party, the independence of the government servants is also impaired. The members and leaders of the ruling party interfere with the work of the executive and force it to tow the party line. Under duress work is done which benefits a particular party but harms the interests of the people at large. In the democratic system government officials cannot go against the wishes of the government leaders as the former work under the direction of the secretariat which is headed by the cabinet formed by the ruling party.
In so-called democracies even the judiciary cannot function independently as the ruling party pressurizes judges and judicial officers. Thus judgments are sometimes delivered which strangulate justice.
Independence of the audit department, too, is indispensable for the proper functioning of the public exchequer. But owing to the pressure of the party in power, it often fails to act independently. For want of proper auditing, public funds are squandered and misused. Consequently nation-building activity is not carried out properly. A government is to govern and serve the people, but it is not possible to govern in the democratic system, for who is there to be governed? The public are placated in order to secure votes which makes the would-be rulers unfit to rule. And the would-be rulers are themselves incompetent, immoral, hypocritical exploiters or how else would they get elected? They take recourse to devious strategies and the power of money. That is why there is no one to provide worthy leadership. And as far as the question of the people is concerned, that is meaningless in a democracy. In this system the party and the leaders serve themselves in all possible ways.
Thus, it is crystal-clear that the democratic form of government is riddled with lacunae. Without removing them it is impossible to properly run the administration of a country.
Now let us discuss some reforms to democracy. Democracy cannot succeed in countries where people are illiterate, immoral, or backward. Countries like England, the USA and France are suitable for democracy, but even these countries need to introduce some reforms.
First, legislators in the states and at the centre should be elected on the recommendations of the people at large. At the time of electing representatives the people should pay heed to their education, moral standard and sacrifice for the society etc. If the representatives are elected keeping in view these factors, they will not be guided by party interests but by collective interests. In their minds the interests of the entire human race and society will dominate, and not any class interests. They will be able to enact laws keeping in mind the prob lems of all and sundry, thereby accelerating the speed of social reconstruction. Their impartial service will bring happiness to all.
The voting rights should be vested in educated persons who have political consciousness and awareness of people’s problems. Age should not be a bar to voting right. If illiterate people are given voting rights there is the possibility of antisocial and incompetent representatives being elected.
To provide a fearless and independent ambience to the administration, the secretariat should be kept free from pressures from the cabinet. The cabinet should confine itself to legislation, the passage and passing of the budget, the implementation of its plans and policies, defense etc. The power of ministers should remain confined to the parliament and they should not poke their nose into the workings of the secretariat. The chief secretary should not be under the president or the prime minister but should act independently as the executive head. All the secretaries should work under the chief secretary. Free from cabinet pressures, every department will serve the people well.
In the present system the judiciary functions under a cabinet minister, and pressure from the minister may impair its independent functioning. To remove this defect and to ensure impartial justice, the judiciary should have the right to function independently. In no case should the chief justice be treated as inferior to the president or the prime minister. Only moralists and honest persons should be installed on the hallowed seat of justice. If people fail to keep this issue under their close scrutiny, injustice will take the place of justice.
Finally, for the proper utilization of the public exchequer, the independence of the audit department too, is a must. The auditor general should be independent of the sceptre of the president or the prime minister. Only an independent audit de partment can keep proper accounts of every department.
Thus, there should be four compartments in a properly constituted democracy – legislature, executive, judiciary and public exchequer – and all of them should be independent from one another.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Prout in a Nutshell Part 14, 17 July 1961, Bettiah, Bihar, Compartmentalized Democracy
4. “It is generally claimed that a republic does not function according to the whims of a monarch or a particular group. Rather it functions through a system of peoples’ representation who are elected by the pious and trusting wishes of the masses. Ganatantra or democracy represents the spirit of government characterized as government of the people, for the people but by the peoples’ representatives. Democracy may retain a monarch as a symbolic head of state, like a cosmetic mark on the forehead, as in England or Sweden, or it may not retain it, as in India or the USA. Where a democracy retains the monarchy, the monarchy may have theoretical importance, but in practice it is just an in strument for putting its signature on the democratic system. Theoretically, it is within the power of the king or queen of England to sell the entire Royal Navy if they so wish, but practically they cannot sell even a piece of a deck chair from one ship.
Now a question arises: Is what we call a republic really a republic? The answer is no, certainly not. There are some countries which abolished the monarchy long ago and now call them selves a republic, but in these countries common people do not even have freedom of speech, what to speak of other rights. The state police and intelligence squads watch over the movements and activities of the people. Though such countries call themselves republics, in reality they are only group governed states. Are their leaders elected through a democratic process? No, they are not. The leaders of these group governed states fix the election machinery so that their opponents cannot attain a majority. They disrupt elections by force, by rigging votes, or other dishonest means in an endeavour to maintain their power illegally. Hence, they cannot be called the advocates of democracy – they are only group leaders elected by people of their own group or party. Their claims to democracy are utterly inconsistent with their professed ideals and behaviour. Their position is like someone who smears his face with black charcoal and then covers it with white talcum powder, and proclaims to the world: “Look how white my face is!”
There are some people amongst the advocates of democracy who do not support group dictatorships. However, can they affirm on oath that their ideal type of democracy exists in any country of the world today? No, they can’t. What is the value of votes from electors who do not have a well developed sense of political consciousness and who do not cherish democratic values? It is very difficult to arouse pious sentiments in them or to procure their votes by just means. Under such circumstances democracy can be converted into “demonocracy” at any moment.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Prout in a Nutshell Part 14, 17 April 1988, Calcutta, Democracy and Group-Governed States
In all walks of present-day life, the dark shadows of immorality are fast taking definite shape and hampering human progress. A very strong moral force is required to wipe out this filth of immorality. One cannot expect this moral force from the government power functioning within a democratic structure. We expect it from non-political ends. The government, be it fascist, imperialist, republican, dictatorial, bureaucratic or democratic, is sure to become tyrannical if there is no moral force to check the capricious activities of the leaders or of the party in power. Immoral activities from the side of the government give rise to mass upsurge.
Middle-class people, with their developed intellect excited by pecuniary troubles, take the leading part in such a mass upheaval against the reign of terror, and finally a change in the sceptre is effected by this politically conscious sector of society. Under the democratic set-up, the middle-class people who function as a part of the government find it very difficult to raise a voice of active protest. They are the silent sufferers, getting no recognition for their sufferings. This is the greatest drawback of the democratic system of government.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 17-22 October 1959, Jamalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 4, Discourses on Prout, 4
In democratic countries the party in power tries to propagate their party ideals through the educational system. They prescribe only those text books which coincide with their party ideals. The universities are forced to surrender before the government because of their financial dependency. The Proutist movement will have to make the universities and educational institutions free from dirty party politics, otherwise the educational system will go on changing according to the rise or fall of different party governments. The duty of the government is to finance the universities and not to interfere in their internal affairs. The broadcasting system, too, should be free from government control.
For a good and healthy society there should be good, healthy and well-educated citizens. Politicians are unable to rectify the defects of the present society. Their course of action is detrimental to the growth of a healthy society.
There are several forms of governmental structure, and among them the democratic structure is highly appreciated [by some persons]. Democracy is defined as “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” But in fact it is the rule of the majority. Hence democracy means “mobocracy” because the government in a democratic structure is guided by mob psychology. The majority of the society are fools; wise people are always in a minority. Thus, finally democracy is nothing but “foolocracy”.
In the democratic framework of society the government may be very keen to pass laws to check corruption, but the government is not equally keen to enforce those laws, because the leaders have to depend upon the votes collected through the media of influential antisocial elements. There are three important methods to check corruption: (1) the humane approach; (2) violence; and (3) strict laws; but in a democratic society we cannot get the third item fully, and there is no scope for the second item within a democratic structure.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 17-22 October 1959, Jamalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 4, Discourses on Prout, 4
7. “The capitalists like democracy as a system of government because in the democratic system they can easily purchase the shúdra-minded shúdras who constitute the majority. It is easy to sail through the elections by delivering high-sounding speeches. No difficulties arise if election promises are not kept later on, because the shúdra-minded shúdras quickly forget them.
It can be unequivocally stated that if only educated people instead of all adults were given the right to vote in any country, the governmental structure of most democratic countries would change. And if sadvipras alone had the right to vote, there would be no difference between the real world and the heaven people imagine.
In a capitalistic social system or in a democratic structure the situation of middle-class people (the vikśubdha shúdras) is generally miserable. This is because they are the greatest critics of capitalism and the strongest opponents of exploitation. An increase in the number of vikśubdha shúdras in a society is an early omen of a possible shúdra revolution. It is therefore the duty of those who want to create a world free of exploitation to help to increase the number of vikśubdha shúdras. It will be harmful for the revolution if these people die or are transformed into shúdra-minded shúdras. All the sadvipras in the world should be vigilant to make sure that the number of vikśubdha shúdras does not decrease due to unemployment, birth control, or other bad practices or policies.
Revolution means a great change. In order to bring about such a change it is not inevitable that there will be killing and bloodshed. If the kśatriya-minded vikśubdha shúdras are in the majority, or are most influential, however, the revolution will indeed come about through bloody clashes. Iit cannot be unequivocally stated that a revolution can never be brought about through intellectual clash, without bloodshed – it is possible, if there are a large number of influential vipra-minded shúdras among the vikśubdha shúdras. But we cannot have much hope that this will be the case; so it has to be said that the liberation of the people generally involves bloodshed.
Some people claim that they will be able to bring about socialism or communism or the liberation of the people through democratic methods. Generally speaking, a welfare state is based on the same principles. They often say that England, France and some other democratic countries are progressing towards socialism. But I would ask, what is the use of tortoise-like progress such as this? Many countries which do not follow a democratic system have brought about the welfare of their population with greater speed than has Great Britain within a democratic structure, over a period of hundreds of years. In this situation speed is the most important factor.
Countries that exploited their colonies used to make efforts to promote the welfare of their population within the democratic structure, but if they had wanted to contribute to social welfare and had stayed outside the democratic framework, preferring instead the path of shúdra revolution, they would have progressed faster, and without exploiting any colonies. In fact, in a democratic structure the people’s progress is very slow. It cannot be called revolution; rather it is evolution, that is, gradual change.
If undeveloped countries avoid the path of revolution and choose the path of slow change, or deliberately ignore the defects in democratic socialism or in the concept of a welfare state, the welfare of their people will never be anything but castles in the air. In order to secure votes in a democratic structure, the assistance of thieves, thugs and other antisocial elements is required. These antisocial elements certainly do not support candidates selflessly. They expect that when their candidate becomes a minister he or she will then turn a blind eye to the antisocial behaviour of their supporters.
One of the most important basic features of socialism is cooperative bodies. Cooperative bodies cannot survive unless the state administration is run by honest citizens. Similarly, a socialistic state cannot survive unless the cooperative organizations are run by honest citizens. Hence if the public does not have a very high moral, spiritual and educational standard (an average standard or above average standard will not suffice), we cannot expect to find worthy people as representatives, as ministers, or as directors of cooperative bodies. Dishonest directors of cooperative institutions will steal money; dishonest ministers will indirectly support such activities; and weak-minded ministers will deliberately avoid looking into those activities out of fear of losing their ministerships, or in hopes of securing votes in the future. If such abuses continue, it will never be possible to build up cooperative institutions, corruption will never be flushed out of the courts and secretariats, and socialism will never be established.
It is extremely difficult, although not totally impossible, to attain the high moral standard necessary to establish socialism within a democratic structure. Thus while democratic socialism is theoretically not bad, we cannot hope that it will ever be possible in the real world.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, Prout in a Nutshell Part 6, Shúdra Revolution and Sadvipra Society, The Pioneers of Revolution
8. “Even if there is something in communism – I do not say there is, but even if there is – people aspire for democracy because they can not stand communism. See the example of Czechoslovakia today. No doubt there are defects in democracy and people realize these defects, but still they want democracy because it is better than communism. PROUT supports democracy in a limited sense – we support restricted democracy – because a better form of government will come in the future. Certain democratic principles are best for the time being.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Prout in a Nutshell Part 17, 13 November 1989, Calcutta, Suppression, Repression and Oppression
9. “democracy4 is where a government is elected by [[the]] people through restricted or general franchise.“…
“(4) A democratic country having a democratic head is a republic. A democratic country having a non-democratic head is not a republic. It is either a kingdom (monarchy), or an oligarchy, or a restricted republic. India is both a democracy and a republic; the USA is also a democracy and a republic; but Great Britain is a democracy and a kingdom. Australia is a democracy but not a republic, as it recognizes the British Crown at the helm of affairs. [[A comment on the former Soviet Union omitted here.]] A republic is where the head of state is elected by [[the]] people directly or indirectly.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 4 January 1987, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 12, Some Different Forms of Government – Section A
10. “democracy4 where a government is elected by people through restricted or general franchise
(4) A democratic country having a democratic head is a republic. A democratic country having a non-democratic head is not a republic. It is either a kingdom (monarchy), or an oligarchy, or a restricted republic. India is both a democracy and a republic; the USA is also a democracy and a republic; but Great Britain is a democracy and a kingdom. Australia is a democracy but not a republic, as it recognizes the British Crown at the helm of affairs. [A comment on the former Soviet Union omitted here.] republic where the head of a state is elected by people directly or indirectly.“”- Sarkar, Prabhat, 1987, Sarkar’s English Grammar, CHAPTER 18, SOME CONDENSED WORDS
As a system of government, democracy cannot be accepted as the highest and best. Among all the systems human beings have been able to devise so far, democracy can be considered to be the best of a bad lot. If human beings can devise a better system in future, it will be proper to accept it wholeheartedly. Many defects in democracy have been discovered by human beings who have already started rectifying them.
In a democratic system securing the highest number of votes is proof of a person’s eligibility. However this eligibility is not adequately examined in all cases. In my opinion the popularity of a candidate securing the highest number of votes needs to be tested again if he or she polls less than half the total number of votes cast. In this test arrangements will have to be made so that people can vote either for or against the candidate. If the candidate polls more favourable votes, only then will he or she be declared elected.
No candidate should be declared elected without a contest. Rich and influential people can compel other candidates, by financial inducements or intimidation, to withdraw their nomination papers. So in cases where it is found that there is only one candidate, the popularity of the candidate will have to be tested. If the candidate fails in this test, the candidate and all those who withdrew their nomination papers will forfeit the right to contest the subsequent by-election for that constituency. This means that they will have to wait until the next election.
Although the system of seat reservation(11) is against democratic principles, temporary arrangements for seat reservation, if desired, may be permitted for backward communities.(12) But generally it is found that among the representatives of backward communities, the number of competent persons is very few. Hence the right to contest reserved seats should not be limited to those belonging to a particular community. At the time of the primary election of the candidates for the reserved seat, however, only those belonging to the community for which the seat has been reserved will enjoy the right to vote. That is, two people will be nominated for the one seat in the primary election. Later, either of the two will be finally elected by the vote of the general public. If, in the primary election, only one candidate is nominated – that is, there is no other contestant – in that case his or her popularity must be tested before the general public. Only if a backward or minority community clearly demands seat reservation will it be adopted, otherwise not.
A candidate must declare his or her policies in black and white. After an election, if it is found that a candidate is acting against his or her declared policies and this is proved to be the case in court, his or her election will be cancelled.
The slogan “adult franchise” is, of course, very pleasant to hear, but the fact that voters without political consciousness weaken the governmental machinery cannot be denied. In the interests of the general public, it is desirable that uneducated and less-educated people do not have the right to vote.
Democracy is a mockery in a country of uneducated people. In such a country cunning, fraudulent persons very easily secure or purchase the votes of illiterate people. Moreover, the general public in such a country is easily misled by the propagation of casteism or communalism.
(11) Seat reservation is the practice whereby parliamentary seats (and also administrative posts) are reserved for particular sections of society, usually less-advanced communities or minorities. –Trans.
(12) “Backward communities” refers to those communities which have not had access to social services and education. Generally only the members of such communities have the right to contest reserved seats. (Backward communities should receive preferential treatment from the government until poverty has been eliminated.) –Trans.“- Sarkar, Prabhat, 26 January 1958 RU, Trimohan, Bhagalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 3, Problems of the Day
12. “Comparatively democracy is the most favourable of all the systems of government that have so far been evolved. However there is less scope for strong leadership in a democracy than in a dictator ship. Consequently democratic countries, whether in war, socio-economic development or other spheres of activity, always remain somewhat weak, even though a democracy will usually last longer than a dictatorship. While there is greater scope for the rule of rationality than whimsical rule in a democratic system, the solidarity that is achieved in a dictatorship is not found in a democracy because most people do not want it.
In a dictatorship common people are harassed in many ways by the whimsical rule of the dictator, and in a democracy people are equally harassed by the whimsical decisions of political parties and the expedient behaviour of party cadre. Peace loving citizens are sometimes made to suffer terribly in their hands.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 27 March 1988, Calcutta, Prout in a Nutshell Part 15, Leadership – Section B
13. “Almost everywhere in the world the vaeshyas support democracy rather than monarchy, because in a monarchy the administration cannot be as easily influenced. People regard the bravery, tradition, noble birth and kśatriya nature of a monarch with respect, or with a mixture of devotion and fear. For this reason they do not like to oppose a monarch unless he or she does something which severely undermines the interests of the people. If the monarch demonstrates even a little concern for the public interest, the lives and properties of the vaeshyas in that kingdom may at any time be endangered.
In a party dictatorship or any other type of dictatorship, the dictator has to take into account the interests of the people. Even oppressive dictators cannot afford to ignore the welfare of the state, otherwise they will lose power. But in a democracy there is no danger of this.
The unintelligent kśatriyas and ignorant shúdras are easily duped by the mind-stupefying, life-enchaining propaganda of the vaeshyas, assisted by their vipra servants. Even the vipras, despite their intelligence and despite whatever they may say or think, support the vaeshyas out of fear or due to lack of a proper alternative. Thus in a democratic structure, particularly in a structure where downfallen vipras and kśatriyas are few in number and ignorant shúdras form the majority, the vaeshyas can easily win votes.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, ElEdit 7, Human Society Part 2, The Vipra Age, The Rise of the Vaeshyas
14. “Although the vipras grovelling at the feet of the vaeshyas wield great authority at various levels of society as the servants of capitalistic imperialism, the vaeshyas never entrust them with the responsibility of leading society or structuring the economy. Only in this way can one easily understand whether a country or state is in the Vaeshya Age. It is not always the case that a state controlled by the vaeshyas is democratic. One indication that is clear is that the vaeshyas always keep the collection and distribution of finance and the corresponding ministerial posts in the hands of orthodox vaeshyas. They never delegate these responsibilities to a learned and experienced vipra economist, because it is their own systems of collection and distribution of finance that provide them the opportunity to establish themselves. Thus in the vaeshya social system, vipra scholars are nothing but paid planners and intellectual servants appointed to materialize those plans.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1967, ElEdit 7, Human Society Part 2, The Vipra Age, Economic Liberation
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