Is Development the new name for Peace? World democracies: Which of the two is best? None!

james  kottoor

WORLD DEMOCRACIES: Which is the best Democracy in today’s world? By democracy we mean a government ruled by the will (vote) of the majority of the  country’s grown up citizens! It is also described as A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE! Or breiefly: By ‘We the People’!

Which are today’s so-called Oldest and Largest democracies? All will say in one voice: US and INDIA! But who are allowed to vote in both the coutries? In India from the very beginning the rule is ONE MAN/WOMAN ONE VOTE (irrespective of gender); in the US it was not so from the beginning, even now for women in certain states. So today India is the best as far as the number of people allowed to vote and gender discrimination is totally eliminated?

Literacy defines Quality!

But what is the BEST democracy QUALITY-WISE? That is,  as far as informed voters are concerned? What makes one an informed voter is the educational quality of the voter, man or woman! On that score alone depends the QUALITY of any democracy!

What is the educational quality of an Indian voter? The latest literacy statistics we have, Times of India, Sept.9, is what follows: The worst in literacy rate among states is, AP 66.4%, the best, Kerala 96.2%, while the national average is 77.75%. But what about the literacy rate of women in different states, who number more and are more inclined to vote? 

Women’s literacy in States?

Again it is worst in Andhra Pradesh where the  literacy rate of women is only 13.9% and upwards in UP 18.4%, Bihar 19.2%, Rajastan 23.2%, and best again in Kerala, where women are just 2.2% less literate than men 96.2%. This should be eye-opening for many who think Biharees and Bengalis are most illiterate, because most migrant workers in Kerala are from those states.

Assam generally rated illiterate in popular thinking is 85.9% literate  while Karnataka a Southern state is literate only 77.2% below national average and well below Uttarkand’s  87.6%, a northern state. What about female literacy in various Indian states?

National Female Literacy!

On the national level the average female literacy is just 70.3%, with a gap  of  over 14 percentage points more for males  at 84.7%. The worst state for female literacy gap is Rajastan 23.2 percenatage points, Bihar19.2 and UP 18.4 points. But the  diferemce between urban male literacy  and rural women literacy is an alarming 27.2  percentage poits at national level. In contrast the female rural literacy is above 80% only in Kerala and below  70% in 13 of India’s 22 major states. So we make big blunders when we calculate  averages on various  different counts!     

But  how are literacy, development and peace  interconnected? It is Pope Paul  VI with whom I had a photo after my studies at Vatican, who made a very pregnant statement when he said: DEVELOPMENT is the new name for PEACE! Devolepment is the pregnant word. By it he meant development of the WHOLE MAN  and ALL MEN(and women).  Whole Man means his/her physical, material, intellectual and moral/spiritual development; all men means all human race including all without differences of class, creed, caste, color, community or country!

Development = Peace!

Nothing could have been more comprehensible! Do any of the two great democracies we boast about in the world, come anywhere near this great ideal? Compare it also with Modiji’s: “Sab ka sat, sab ka vikas & sab ka viswas! Democracy after all is the nearest ideal of government we have arrived at on a global level! The rest are Theocracies/churchianities galore, Islamic factions world wide and Rama Rajya or Rss/Hindutva conglomerates! These religious groups are to be respected and encouraged, as long as they are confined to their private domains, not public political sphere!

That is what Pope Francis also meant when he said all religions are willed by God and simultaneously, ‘Prosalatization is a solemn nonsense!’. Now you judge the two great democracies with this yard stick. Aren’t they both  just self serving, power-hungry groups bound together by dynastic or what-is-in-it-for-me motive for self-agrandisment? Politics is to be for public good, not private! 

Organized Religions?

As for organized religions we have made our view clear.As long as they don’t poke their nose into public space, they are  welcome or else to be cut off! Their area of activity is in the private sphere! Each one can have his/her private godly or devilish religion! That is why we said the biggest wonder in this world is you and me in our private life to follow each one’s commanding conscience.

That is the long rope given to freedom of expression and conscience also by Voltaire the great French philosophaer. Finally he and Francis Pappa seem to be saying the same thing, although many criticize the Pope. Of course each one of you are most welcome to your views, otherwise you will cease to be the biggest wonder in this world. That can never BE!

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