There has always been a Social Conflict existing in the society whether we like it or not and whether we accept it or not. The theme of such conflicts has changed ranging from ethnicity to racism to casteism to inter-casteism, and so on and so forth; yet the concept remains relevant in any given point of time taken for reference even sans par contra. The idea of citizen participation, is not a novel idea emerging out of fine technocratic efforts, though if claimed so, is only an indication of having reinvented a wheel, and can only be rendered as necessity to complement the evolving political structure that is prevalent in the contemporary scenario.
The need to understand such complexities is necessary to prepare contingency plans when conflicts arise and to understand the dynamics of basic human behaviour, also already explained through various Social Sciences. To find relevance of such theories and philosophies to the socio-cultural and traditional context, any “meritorious technocrat” would need to break the mystery with proper understanding of the ingredient that adds a local flavour to the emerging issue in hand.
However, we are raising the concept of “citizen participation” standing in a developing country internally struggling to keep the states together, in a country where despite attempts made to show our need to contemplate strength required to advance by bringing forth the concept of ‘unity in diversity’, ‘diversity’ is more predominant than the expected unity in terms of the stratification witnessed in every step taken, even in an enlightening process of education where the need to fill the religion and caste is still mandatory despite disapproving the same in text book covers and incorporated into lessons; this pseudo advancement is only a complement to the lop-sided comparatively rapid advancement in science and technology seen along side rural development; villages still need electrification after over 6 decades of independence, our Prime Minister sinks while mentioning losing thousands of children every single day due to malnutrition as a national shame. Worse stories can be heard about the health sector, thanks to poor sanitation, water and hygiene and unreached health programs; inaccessible areas can still dream of doctors and health services reaching them with our doctor-population ratio misting away at 1:4000 and that too with most of the doctor cluster beaming with the pride of meritocracy taking their first flight out adding to our brain drain or settle in concentrated-cushioned urban carpets when 70% of India still lives in villages.
The programs we have to eradicate poverty and promote better standard of living et all, just like our IPC and constitution, are one of the best in the world yet only on paper. If only we had implemented them! We have done nothing about it. Apathy! We live in a world of marked differences; a huge wall separating the few rich and plenty poor; we live to prove the 80:20 theory, which says that 80% of the wealth rests with 20% of the people and vice versa. Unequal distribution of wealth and justice has always been an issue brushed underneath the carpet as we shine the floor for highlighting our land as one with a progressive prospect.
The concept of e-governance is attempted with just 4% of internet users in the country, with a population exceeding 1.19 billion and a growth rate of 1.5%, our BPL index hitting a 22% and illiteracy level at 39%. What needs to be our priority?! Do we see all this before speaking the technocratic language or is it an accumulation of Ignorance with Apathy?
multi-disciplinary interventions juggling Politics, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology and Economics, need to be deliberated to widen the horizon of limitless solutions; beginning with the understanding of issues. Each branch deals with the issue within its certain boundaries and an attempt needs to be made to converge these in case a vision incorporating all needs to be envisaged.
The ‘body’ as a metaphor used in earlier philosophies to explain stratification needs to be looked into with a new perspective and may be attempted to be seen as a wholesome unit while contemplating utopian ideals such as Citizen Participation. This is only a representation of our movement from a barbaric world into a more civilized world; sans enduring will only negate endeavours especially with more need-based missions that need to be initiated and socio-political-economic barriers that stagnate the growth process that need to be crossed in the development process by inculcating values along with (un)commonsense to realize sustainable development. Priorities need to change, apathy and ignorance curbed, further redtapism nullified and dreams hastened into action. Till then, “Citizen Participation” will be forged in pain; as pain is the only commodity available sans disparity. At the moment, we are at the crossroads.
Painting by M.F Hussain