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The winds of change are blowing

The winds of change are blowing
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It is so ironical that many democracies in the world are now struggling to catch up with a lungful of air.

It is so ironical that many democracies in the world are now struggling to catch up with a lungful of air. From the US of A to the European Union, to China and India and in the West Asian countries, societies are raising their voices against the continued violence of all forms against their identities.

Donald Trump may feel that 'Antifa' is behind the rising in his country. Is it really so? Antifa may be a part of it but it is not the whole of it. If it is Antifa in the US, then who is behind the violence in the United Kingdom? Who has defaced the statues of Winston Churchill? Who is uprooting all those symbols of racism? Those who have become statues now do not represent the present age or times. They are of bygone days and their work and their beliefs belonged to bygone days.

Some of their work has become institutional in the latter times and occupy a prominent place in the societies. But, as the times themselves change, the perceptions too change as a greater clarity is lent to the outlook of the people. The advancements made in communication and technology have empowered people, literate or otherwise, in the world. Ideas are permeating downwards, sideways, upwards and on all sides. Democracies flourish because they allow people to question. They sustain themselves because they entitle people to equal rights.

They grow because they permit interactions and deliberations before an idea becomes a policy. Stifling and intimidation of voices critical of the governments have become commonplace in these countries including India. The ruling dispensations immediately pounce on those voices because they don't like criticism. Mind you, none of these in power in these countries facing upsurges, protests, demonstrations and demands, like to allow such dissident voices to grow.

Everywhere it is clear that the governments have shown a willingness to use the might of the State to deprive certain citizens of basic civil rights for their own political purposes. These governments have failed to realise that the standards of civil and human rights have changed over the years and most of these democracies do not have any worthwhile record of protecting and nurturing real democratic values.

Can we say that the 'democratic backsliding' as the political scientists call it, has set in? There are rules of engagement in democracies. These rules are breached when the state's institutions are used in service of the ruling party. The use of state institutions to weaken or stifle opposition is in direct contravention to these principles – constituting a fundamental threat to democracy. It is not just the death of Floyd that has awakened the people in the USA.

It is this stifling of voices and rights that has led to it. Breathing is important, more so during COVID-19 times. If you don't breathe you don't live. Yes, there is no easy walk to freedom, more so in democracies! Leader or no leader. These protests shall definitely change the course of the world. Corona may not dictate the change, but these protests certainly do!

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