Freedom is the most precious gift to life. Unfortunately, this freedom which is loved by all or has been squashed and suppressed by men of power and position from time to time. While the books of history are filled with stories of struggles to attain freedom, the situation today is no different. The news channels are flooded with reports of civil wars taking place inside countries and groups fighting to take control over the other while some fighting for want of a peaceful and better life.
The new age of human civilisation is moving away from the old school of authoritarian system of kings, queens, emperors and dictators. Democracy, in which people elect their leaders and government, is taking over these old systems, where only a single man/woman or a family ruled the country. Today, 123 countries in the world have democratic system in which people have power to elect or reject the representative. But, only establishing a democratic system does not ensure the welfare of the people.
There are many countries which are democratic on paper, while dictatorship is practiced in reality and rights of the citizen are crushed For instance North Korea, conducts elections like other democratic countries, but people there have only one representative to chose from and majority of the power remains in the hand of a single family passed on from generation to generation. Civil society today is one of the pre-condition of democracy as it fills-up the gaps left by the authority or the government. Civil society is a voluntarily group of citizen of the country, whom all work for the welfare of the state without any profit motive and does not have any political affiliation and intentions. The civil society helps in fixing accountability of the government, while it is also self conscious about its own responsibilities and spreads the same awareness among other citizens. Different civil societies play vital role in building a strong nation. Charitable organisations help uplift the deprived section of the society while activist groups spread awareness about the ill practices in the system, academic groups try to promote good education in the society, while the cultural groups try to preserve our good ancient heritage and practices to avoid cultural imperialism. In a democratic system where everyone has the freedom of expression and beliefs, conflicts between the government and citizens are bound to happen. In this scenario, the civil society plays a vital role of a mediator between the citizen and the government to resolve the conflict.
In a country like India which has diverse cultures and religions, the civil society has to play an even bigger role to ensure that the voice of every section of the society is heard. The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), which also comes under civil societies, are playing a big role in developing those areas and aiding people who have been overlooked by the government. Many laws increasing the transparency in the system have been passed on the recommendations and pressure of civil society, bills like Right to Information, Jan Lokpal bill and NOTA are some examples. Civil society has to play a big role in a democracy, especially in the developing nations, where the disparities are greater than the developed nations. The stronger these societies are, the more the power is equally distributed among the government and the citizens. Equal distribution of powers promote active participation from the two sides in the progress process. Thus, a robust civil society is essential to maintain a balance in a democratic environment.
By – Karan Pundir
Media and Communication Team | Fiinovation