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Thread: Fie Oh Democracy......

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    Fie Oh Democracy......

    Fie Oh Democracy!
    By Syed Osman Sher


    Melville, New York
    Rising from the wilderness of five years of
    self-exile, Tahirul Qadri, basically a cleric, and a politician only on the
    periphery, has shaken so violently the columns of the edifice of ‘democracy’ in
    Pakistan that the political clique was thrown into a spin which continued for
    more than three weeks. Scared that they had been entrapped in the confines of
    Islamabad by him and his followers, the so-called democratic
    Government, having no support of the people with them, had to form helter
    skelter a large delegation, drawn from various political parties, for
    negotiations. The democratic Government seems to have succumbed to his demands,
    aimed primarily at political reformation in the interest of true democracy in
    the country.
    What is ‘democracy’ in Pakistan but a handmaiden of the
    jagirdars, and what are jagirdars but those who ridicule the government of the
    people. True to the spirit of democracy as the embodiment of equality of citizen
    and voice of the people to be heard through its majority, India abolished the
    jagirdari and zamindari systems immediately after Independence. The founding
    fathers of Pakistan, who had the support of such jagirdars in its creation,
    thought it fit for a very large section of the citizens to continue in their
    servitude with a muffled voice. Those architects of the country had scorned
    ‘democracy’ also in many other ways throughout the negotiating process. For
    this, let us sneak a peek in our history.
    After the abolition of Mughal monarchy, when the
    British colonial power tried to introduce political reforms by giving some
    rights of franchise to the native people for electing representatives to local
    bodies in 1892, the acknowledged leader of the Muslims of India of that time,
    Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, showed an attitude, which may be termed as undemocratic,
    when he expressed his fear that “the system of representation by election means
    the representation of the views and interests of the majority of the
    population…. [which] would totally override the interests of the smaller
    community.” “It would be like a game of dice, in which one man had four dice and
    the other one.” According to him, a democratic regime meant majority rule, which
    would definitely be a Hindu rule. He insisted that “India is inhabited by
    different nationalities”, and, therefore, he argued that the English-style
    representative institutions could not fit in the context of India, where
    elections would be contested not on a basis of personalities or parties but
    purely on community or ‘communal’ lines.
    In 1906, a deputation of thirty-five self-appointed
    representatives of the Muslims, led by Sir Aga Khan, presented a petition to the
    Viceroy of India, Lord Minto, at Simla, and expressed the same old fear about
    what ‘democracy’ would mean for the Muslims; it was likely ‘among other evils,
    to place our national interests at the mercy of unsympathetic majority’. As
    such, Muslims ‘should never be an effective minority’. Therefore, the Muslims
    should be elected only through Muslim electorates. Disregarding the numerical
    size of the Muslim community the British should go beyond the numbers in
    conceding them representation and other rights bearing in mind the 'political
    importance' that the community had commanded only a hundred years earlier.
    Agreeing to the demands of the Muslims for Separate
    Electorate, the Secretary of State, Viscount Moreley while discussing the India
    Councils Act of 1906, stated as follows: “ Only let us not forget that the
    difference between Mahomedanism and Hinduism is not a mere difference of
    articles of religious faith. It is a difference in life, in tradition, in
    history, in all the social things as well as the articles of belief that
    constitute a community.”By this Act, the Muslims were detached from the
    mainstream of Indian nationalism, and they proved themselves as the demolisher
    of the democratic principle that majority speaks, and majority rules. It was
    also the official nail in the coffin of democracy.
    One day before the 1940 Pakistan Resolution was passed
    by the Muslim League, Mohammad Ali Jinnah had argued thus: “The British
    Government and Parliament and more so the British nation, have for many decades
    past brought up and nurtured with settled notions about India's future, based on
    developments in their own country which have built up the British Constitution,
    functioning now through the houses of Parliament and the system of Cabinet,
    their concept of party government functioning on political planes has become
    the ideal with them as the best form of government for every country…Muslim
    India cannot accept any Constitution which must necessarily result in a Hindu
    majority Government. Hindus and Muslims brought together under a democratic
    system forced upon the Minorities can only mean Hindu Raj. Democracy of the kind
    with which the Congress High Command is enamored would mean the complete
    destruction of what is more precious in Islam.”
    We now see why ‘democracy’ has the feet of clay
    in Pakistan.

  2. #2
    Member Array rabia iqbal rabi's Avatar
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    now see why ‘democracy’ has the feet of clay
    in Pakistan.
    good article

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