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Morally Sensitive Democracy

Which are the aspects of liberal democracy?

1. There are two main aspects- procedural and substantive.

2. Procedural aspect involves constitutional guarantees offering every citizen an equal right to participate in the political spaces that are formally open to all without distinction.

3. The core concern of procedural democracy is that a right-bearing citizen by virtue of their right to participate in such spaces enjoys equal worth, particularly in the electoral arena.

4. The right to vote carries equal value and it has the power to decide the electoral fate of the candidate.

5. Citizens enjoy these rights because they have been bestowed with this opportunity by the Constitution.

6. Several constitutional provisions enable a citizen to vote and also to express their authentic voice in the formulation of public policies.

7. These policies have bearing not just on their particular interest as individuals, but on the general welfare of the public as well.

8. Democracy enables an individual citizen to exist in the country without anyone’s permission, patronage, or sympathy.

9. Citizenship is not based on any kind of structural hierarchy.

What is the status of democracy in India?

1. The focus of political and electoral mobilization has shifted from promotion of an enlightened individual citizen to group mobilization based on caste and religious community by some political parties.

2. Such communal, sectarian oriented parties dissolve individual citizens into the “constraining” logic of specific communities for creating a political majority based on religion.

3. Ethnicity of voters is given more significance than democracy.

4. Reduction of a person to a minority is morally coercive as it denies members of that community an opportunity for self-realization as enlightened citizens.

How can democracy be effective?

1. Democracy should be the necessary condition to allow a person to exercise their right to participate in political spaces.

2. A constitutional provision is not enough for the self-realization of a person enjoying equal worth and civic attention.

3. It does not guarantee a citizen equal worth and equal civic attention.

4. Every citizen of democracy has to be embedded with ethical readiness to acknowledge the other’s moral need of equal worth.

5. Ethical readiness to share the value space is fundamentally necessary for a sensitive democracy.

6. Democratic space has to be hospitable rather than hostile where a particular member does not face their reduction to an object of hatred or repulsion or contempt.

Where should Indian democracy focus?

1. Indian democracy has to be morally sensitive to the ethical need of a citizen to be an equally worthy being.

2. Both the political and the common space has to be shared by the members with equal dignity and respect in democracy.

3. Sharing universal values of dignity and mutual respect are necessary democratic aspiration and assertion for every member of the political community.

4. The emergence and consolidation of political community need to be premised over the creation of an ethical community.

5. This can happen through sharing the basic framework of moral values, such as dignity and mutual respect.

6. These values are best protected by creating moral solidarity rather than a dominant desire to create a political majority based on ethnicity/religion.