Headline, September26, 2013

''' *** !!! MINORITY RIGHTS : 


In 1994, Rwanda,  -Hutu activists  committed dreadful violence against Tutsis. Hutu tribe not only had their divisive identity, but also shared with Tutsis other identities, such as being Rawandan, African, possibly a Kigalian.
Minority Rights,  -to be totally totally fair, is one of the most complex and difficult issues that democracy has to tackle.

The recognition that democracy has to be concerned with both with the ''majority rule''  and the  ''rights of minorities''  is not a new idea,  even though, and in the organizational context, democracy is frequently seen in terms of balloting and majority rule.

A broader understanding of democracy as public reasoning, which includes the use of ballots but goes beyond much that, can accommodate the importance of minority rights without ignoring majority votes as a part of the total structure of democracy.

The eighteenth-century pioneer of social choice theory, Marquis de Condorcet,  had warned against the maxim, too prevalent among ancient and modern republicans,  that the few can legitimately be sacrificed to the many.

There remains, however, the problem that a ruthless majority that has no compunction in eliminating minority rights would tend to make the society face a hard choice between honoring majority rule and guaranteeing minority rights.  The formation of  ''tolerant values''  is thus quiet central to the smooth functioning of a democratic system.

The issues involved also apply to the role of democracy in preventing sectarian violence. The problem here is more complicated than the easy recognition that democracy can eliminate famines. Even though famine victims form a small proportion of any threatened population, democracy prevents famines because the plight of the minority is politicized by public discussion.

This very act generates a huge majority for famine prevention, since the general population has no particular reason to entertain any hardened hostility   -or exploitable animosity-  towards famine victims. The process is far more complicated with sectarian strife when inner-community hostilities can be fanned by extremists through demagoguery.

The role of democracy in preventing community-based violence depends on the ability of inclusive and interactive political processes to subdue the poisonous fanaticism of divisive communal thinking  This has been an important task in independent India and Pakistan, Both countries were born in a period of huge communal strife and violence in the 1940s.

The period that was short in the number of years but very very long in casting a huge shadow of vulnerability. The problem was explicitly discussed in this form by Mohandas Ghandhi, in his clarification of the importarnce of inclusiveness as an essential part of democracy sought by the independence movement. 

There has been some success in this respect, and the secularism of democratic India has broadly speaking survived intact, despite occasional heart rendering strains, with mutual tolerance and respect. The survival has not. however, prevented periodic outbursts of sectarian violence, often, rather very often, fed by political groups that benefit from such divisiveness.

The effect of sectarian demagoguery can be overcome only, I repeat only, through championing of broader values that go right across divisive barriers. The recognition of the multiple identities of each person, of which religious identities is only one, is crucially important in this respect; for example Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians in India and Pakistan not only share a nationality:

But, depending on the individual, can share other identities, such as language, literature, a profession, a location and many other basis of categorization.

Democratic politics allow the opportunity to discuss these non-sectarian affiliations and their rival claims over religious divisions  
In short, the great practice of democracy can certainly assist in bringing out a greater recognition of the plural identities of human beings.

And yet, and yet communal distinctions, like racial differences, remains open to exploitation by those who want to cultivate discontent and instigate violence, unless the bonds established by national democracies serve as an effective safeguard against this.

Much will depend on wisdom and vigour of democratic politics in generating tolerant values, and there is no automatic guarantee of success by the mere existence of democratic institutions, like that of all other institutions.

Here an active, fair, and energetic media can play an extremely important part, in making the problems, predicaments and humanity of certain groups more understood by other groups and all around!
With respectful dedication and very best wishes for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of India. See Ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless :
'' !! When Gold Must Do More than Glitter !! ''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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