Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Requirement Analysis for Democracy 2.0

Let us for a moment assume Niall Ferguson's argument to be true that democracy is also one of the Six killer apps downloaded by us orientals (Civilization the west and the rest)from the western civilization as if it is a western idea unheard of anywhere in the east of Suez.(Do not jump on your feet to argue that there are democratic states before the birth of The Mauryan empire or clear your throat to the explain the existence of the village democracies of The Chola age)
Even if we go by Ferguson's logic we have customized this particular Democracy app that was downloaded 64 years ago,to suit the complex needs of our complex nation.

We have started as a multi party democracy with universal adult franchise ( where as the western democracies had taken ages to allow theit fairer sex suffer the travails of the suffrage)and after the demise of the age of a single party rule entered successfully into the era coalition governments.corruption seeped in,at first as an exception then as a rule and manifested itself as the only grease that runs the gigantic,rusted wheels of the government machinery.
During these 64 years for a brief 22 months period, this App was put in disuse by a paranoid but a popular system admin citing some intrusion by foreign hackers and security reasons(but never found in the logs and traces) and installed another app called Emergency.Though this was certified by the then CEO,this app itself was a virus that contained many a trojan horses to trap the political opponents and to obtain personal gains for the administrator.Though the old app was brought back eventually,the infrastructure was corrupted beyond repair while hosting the 'Emergency', that observers could perceive a considerable decrease in the performance after the relaunch.Religious chauvinism and sectarian differences at times prove a menace to running this application.
Some twenty years ago,the application for the financial management changed from Fabian socialism to Market based economy,out of compulsion. While the this helped cut the red tape and delays in some key industries and fostered growth in general,Some neo-liberal updates of the later times also facilitated in large scale pillages by unscrupulous politician turned unscrupulous businessmen.

Politicians found the incentive in keeping the status quo, maintaining the vote banks, reviving the divisions in the society. Majority of the middle class prided itself in its ability to keep away from the process and in the vociferousness of its criticism of the politics and its practitioners.The masses, intelligent though illiterate participated and(often auctioning their democratic decision making powers to the highest bidder) some how provided the fuel for the functioning of the engines of democracy.All the while allowing corruption to gnaw at the vitals of the society.

Can Democracy 2.0 allow the for feedback from the popular judgement influence the law making.May be a Gandhian with a long history of social work and unimpeachable integrity could awaken the usually somnolent middle class of the country to support the cause.
Is this the subversion of democracy by a bunch of self styled unelected,unelectable individuals?
Or is it asserting that the means to find a solution to a critical problem that reached unusual proportions can also be equally unusual?.
Or this is the course correction that is long due for a process that has been subverted by vested interests that are too reluctant to change the system, which is faulty by design.
Can sartorial patriotism by sporting a Gandhi cap and waving the national flag and lighting a candle amount popular dissent?
Can twitter feeds and Facebook likes and other paraphernalia of Web 2.0 coupled with media created hype effect a change in design of the new version of the Democracy App.?

What explains the fact that this protest could force the largest number of ordinary citizens to come out on to the streets for an apolitical,secular cause in the history of independent India.

This surely is another test for the effectiveness of the greatest social experiment that is being conducted successfully for the past 64 years in the crucible of human society, i.e, to keep together (almost) one fifth of the planet's population of incalculable differences under the flag of a popularly elected government.
May be user base increased multiple times since release of the first version, and this is the new method of accessing the App that appeals to the newer generation that is increasingly interested to use and experiment with this app for maximum benefits.
Let us hope this feature to tap the popular feedback(though not expressed through the traditional channel that is opened every five years) to make structural changes into the system proves to be the reason for the better performance of Democracy 2.0.

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