Idea for India: Don't be a sitting duck as someone takes potshots at democracy

"The India I’d like to see in 2024 is one where we all educate ourselves about legal rights, understand the checks and balances we have as citizens under the Constitution"

When democracies falter, they rarely recover. Representative image shows a ballot paper being inserted into the slot of a box and emerging below in strings, as though from a paper shredder (image: National Herald archives)
When democracies falter, they rarely recover. Representative image shows a ballot paper being inserted into the slot of a box and emerging below in strings, as though from a paper shredder (image: National Herald archives)
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Danish Husain

If the judiciary is compromised, democracy is in danger. And in the last few years, most judgements that have come have veered towards the Executive’s assertion or interpretation of the Constitution.

The India I’d like to see in 2024 is one where we all must educate ourselves about legal rights, understand the checks and balances we have as citizens under the Constitution, and exercise our right to vote judiciously.

But more than that, we must follow up with the elected representatives and make sure they stick to their oath of protecting our Constitution, and do not erode or, what’s worse, disenfranchise us of our rights as citizens.

I am reminded of these lines by Shauq Bahraichi:

Barbaad gulistaan karne ko bas ek hi ullu kaafi thaa

Har shaakh pe ullu baitha hai, anjaam-e-gulistaan kya hoga?

(A single owl was enough to destroy the garden

What will be the fate of the garden where an owl sits on every branch?)

The warning is clear, as the owl’s presence in any place indicates that the place is reduced to a ruin.

To paraphrase in English: let’s not be sitting ducks for someone to take potshots at our democracy.

Danish Husain is an actor, poet and theatre director, instrumental in reviving Dastangoi, the old form of Urdu storytelling

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