Dissent is Democracy

A social system based on forced uniformity of ideas is a dictatorship, and dissent lies at the heart of democracy

Every month, around this time, it is very exciting for me as an editor, trying to take out another edition of what has now become established perhaps as the only magazine of its ilk: Parliamentarian. It is a challenge, since we have decided to tread a path that is not really uncharted, but has now been more or less consigned to the sidelines of Indian media history: journalism as good, erudite readers expect it to be.

For the past few editions, there was a sense of concern, that in whatever issue we chose as the backbone of that month’s edition, the results, or reports that our esteemed experts – none of them on our staff, all known experts and all independent – handed us to print were all in the Black Hole region. Our central concern has been the progress of the country, and these reports put us back by decades under the current regime. So by the Black Hole region I mean that the gravitational suction power of negativity is such that not a ray of positive development gets past the “event horizon”. Not a speck of light can escape that internal suction of a moribund regime.

This edition, however, is different. It does not deal with negativities. While it does not deal with any silver linings, either, it is a great pride for us at Parliamentarian that we have put together an edition on the socio-philosophical-political issue of dissension. Dissension lies at the heart of democracy. It starts from home, really, like all charity must. The father governs, the child grows up, warring the parent on so many of his or her own ideas, is overruled, and then grows up to a point where s/he rules by the rite of investiture.

What delights me is that this edition does not just deal with just facts: it gets into the philosophy of democracy. One of our top contributors, Sankar Ray has raised this issue: what is dissent, and is it dead, or on dialysis now? The semantics over dissent is so important for the current generation to grasp. They are already smarting under the jumla regime, and if they do not understand dissent, they will never be able to ensure a democracy in which they have a voice on how to shape their own, and our country’s future.

In this edition, we have tried to capture as many serious and believable dissenters as possible. Naturally, given the paucity of space,s we could not accommodate everyone deserving that station in life. But yes, reading through Senior Editor Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr’s interview of former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, shows that there are such highly qualified persons whose dissension is not based on the desire for a high portal in the government.

Similarly, Anna Hazare’s sudden re-rise from the ashes as India’s political phoenix, whose charisma lies in his discarding of all personal ambitions – apparently, he had none, sheds some light into the country’s political future that is becoming increasingly ‘curiouser and curiouser’, as Alice would say in her Wonderland.

We are also privileged that a highly educated Parliamentarian herself, Dr Sasikala Pushpa, has chosen to write exclusively for us on the ills of our existing system as it exists on the ground. That is dissent too! Well then, esteemed readers, your bouquet for the month is here and I am proud to present it.

Cheers for dissent to rise and protect democracy, and happy reading.