Do We Deserve Democracy?

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Article by Kul Bhushan, in view of the upcoming elections in India.

With democracy floundering in over 150 developing countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, no wonder it has lost any meaning. The people, like you and me, elect their leaders, but do we make the right choices? Will we get honest and answerable leaders? Have we chosen wisely so far?

With elections looming in India, discussing democracy is in the news these days. Right now, the candidates are promoting themselves and will be declared this month. This horse trading is in full swing behind closed doors but its news keeps on leaking in the media.


After their selection, or ‘getting the tickets’ as it is termed in India, the battles will begin for the coveted seats as the candidates start to woo the voters. The big question is: Who will the people elect? Will they make the right choice at the end to give themselves honest and answerable leaders? Have they chosen wisely so far?

That’s when the merits of democracy come in the picture. Do we really need democracy when we end up with corrupt and inept leaders who serve the rich and pay lip service to the poor? Democracy in the developing world has established heads of state being ‘elected’ and ‘re-elected’ for decades, in some cases like Zimbabwe for over three decades! Who have made the rich richer and the poor poorer and hardly bother about overall progress. In the service of the people, some of these heads of state have become billionaires many times over. Plenty of examples can be cited from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia and even Western Europe. Do we really need this type of democracy?

“I love democracy so much that I am even ready for a fifteen years’ temporary benevolent dictatorship to train the country, to teach the country how to be free,” says Osho talking about India.

This seems puzzling and contradictory. But many a time, we have all had a secret wish that India needs more discipline, more efficiency, better governance and nil corruption. All this can be quickly possible with a strong but honest dictator; never mind democracy.

But are we willing to pay the price of democracy and freedom for all this efficiency and progress? Huge sacrifices of pain and suffering, torture and even deaths, have been made to secure our freedom; how can it all be given away for a dictator? Most importantly, we all want to safeguard and enjoy our human rights.

We need to examine Osho’s revolutionary views on democracy in this light. He says two thousand years of slavery is a long time, very long. The slavery has gone into the very blood and bones, into the very marrow of the nation. To uproot it, something surgical is needed. Just telling people to be free is not enough. And how can the surgery be done if democratic means are adopted?

The so-called Indian democracy helps only to increase its problems, to increase violence, because when people are hungry they become violent. When they are not even able to live as human beings, what can you expect from them? These communal riots and all the rapes, murders, arson… these show that the animal is surfacing. You cannot expect the great quality of being human from hungry people; it is impossible.”

Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 7, Q 1

So what’s the solution? The latest joke going round is – when a politician drown in a river, it is pollution. When all the politicians drown in the river, it is a solution!

But seriously, Osho proposes meritocracy – not democracy.

Article by Kul Bhushan – first published in Osho World

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