India has a long-established democratic tradition. A key feature of this political past is that the ancient indeans decoded the mathematics of democracy. This article by Lakshmi Bayi and published by Sunday Guardian Live demonstrates how. Here is an excerpt:
One hundred percent is the whole of humanity. From its first recorded history, human society has continually experimented with methods of governance. An isolated individual can live on his own terms, as can those who implicitly follow him. But the moment there is a conflict with a person or a group of people, there emerges the need to find a way of solving it. Physical violence as a measure of who is mightier may seem to be an easy and immediate way of settling the issue. But this certainly is not the best way to do it, and ancient texts in India affirm this. These texts show that society over time evolves a certain set of laws or rules to contain its own fault lines into containable (ie societally manageable) proportions. Governance is based on the imperative of ensuring that these laws are adhered to peacefully.
Human societies have tried out Autocracy, Monarchy, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism and variants and admixtures of the above. Any philosophy whether political, economic or social will collapse if basic human nature is not taken into consideration while applying high flown concepts. Every system has its inherent strengths and weaknesses. To be able to extract the best and successfully apply it on to human societies is a mark of success of the processes of governance, especially in a democracy that is intended to be rule “for, by and of” the people.
Charles Darwin taught that Survival of the Fittest is the norm in Nature. That it is the living being best endowed with resources, adaptability, resourcefulness, intelligence and physical capabilities which has the advantage over the rest of those who lack this. India’s ancient (and alas no longer remembered) wisdom teaches us that life on Planet Earth can be made better and more simplified were human beings, who are at the apex of the food chain, accept that they are part of the natural world, rather than seek to be its controller. Or worse, seek to modifier beyond recognition the natural universe surrounding them. A phenomenon that was very visible in Europe and North America but which is now active in full force (or ferocity) in China. The moment humankind or a segment of it crowns itself the king of all that is surveyed, the first step away from the preservation of the natural environment gets taken. The flora and fauna surrounding humans becomes the host on to which our species assumes parasitical rights. They all become expendable in an incessant war to keep human beings as being, in a sense, superior to nature. This is what the ancients repeatedly warned should not happen, calls for rationality that went unheeded even in the land of their birth.
Read the full story here.