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Despotic Regimes and Faltering Institutions

Despotic Regimes and Faltering Institutions

“Tyranny liberates people in a way that their concerned engagement is not needed at all.”

The idea of social contract as put forth by Hobbes was a result of the constant culmination through revolutions, struggles, fall & rise of empires over centuries. The idea is as basic as the establishment of order via shared norms & rules to be incorporated by all. In hindsight, it can be concluded that social contract paved the way for bringing in responsible bodies to implement & act as per the shared ideals ratified by all either directly or indirectly.

These bodies are the institutions which are distinctive in their construct and role, with solemn aim to deliver for which there lies provisions in the practice of constitutionalism.

Democracy & Institutions

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Institutions play a vital role in any form of governance whether it’s monarchial or democracy. There are some conspicuous differences between tyranny & democracy, as the idea for their mere existence is so starkly opposed to each other. However, there’s one similarity over how they can merge or can masquerade as being one -another. That’s the use of institutions, despotic regimes which embrace tyranny use institutions for the advantage of one man or the organization in power, similarly when elected governments squander the trust vested by masses in them in a way that puts institutions into some tawdry fettle & thus erodes them, there they erase the fine line between despotic and democratic regimes. There are situations which are likely to build confidence if confronted with a conscience to take people along yet they’ve given more powers to states retrospectively. Whenever there’s a crisis the banality of becoming more powerful is justified for people’s own good. If it pains to read history then this pandemic is a perfect illustration as it enraged many democratic regimes compared it with some war and to handle matters effectively they cut off link with every medium of accountability.


Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban even acquired the power to rule by decree. In our case, our PM doesn’t care for any accountability, So does ‘PM-cares’, Chinese aggression on the border, plunging economy or job losses aren’t needed to be addressed as accountability was a thing of the past. How’s this possible that in the name of integrity, sovereignty or any other form of chauvinism those who suffer the most are coaxed to compromise? Because it starts with the erosion of institutions. Say the election Commission is fair, we got what we voted for, but the media and judiciary don’t confirm the constitutional commitment, what is likely to happen? Media wouldn’t report on real issues, they will dance on the rhythm of supreme leader’s mellifluous orders, the judiciary wouldn’t protect rights & if someone complains then his/her mouth is shut either by nefarious intimidation or by citing that it’s the regime which felt the confidence of the majority. Where would you go then? Now consider judiciary is fine but media and electoral machinery are malaise ridden, the apex court will strike some misdoings down on the basis of their unconstitutional nature but wouldn’t be enough either. For a functional or even a 50-50 flawed democracy that we are heading to needs some robust institutions which will stand up & fight the tyranny or the overwhelmed intervention of the executive. With a slow erosion or degradation of institutions democracy itself stagnates.

The Indian Way

One more similarity between despotic and democratic regimes is that of selfishness: A non suppressed desire to become more powerful with every crisis. Despotic regimes have this unabated tendency but for democracies, it should lie with the people. People should be so selfish in a democracy that they make their institutions serve them by rigorous questioning, throwing out every single man who believes in rhetoric but never delivers. People need to be empowered to show the perpetrators, the hate mongers, the communal and corrupt proponents, mirror that they don’t deserve to sit where they plan on to continue. I have heard of a man who talked of ‘ Vikas’ ( development), who wanted to bring ‘ Achhe din’, who claimed to be the only nationalist to look the enemy who is after our territory in the eye, who wanted to foster; growth, harmony, prosperity, who patronized new ideas; new India, new idea to resuscitate old culture, who favoured hard work over Harvard, who preached of how criticism makes democracy stronger but those who believe him for this are slammed with sedition, UAPA, NSA & a tag of being anti-national too, who answers everything without taking any questions, whose chest size is more known to people than that of the nation, who pretends to be oblivious of attention yet spots camera before anything, who looked no less than a messiah, who now gets nostalgic of his poverty, who speaks his mind on the radio every Sunday, who laughs at our ineptitude and keeps lying, who has turned our institutions into his cheerleaders or have frightened them, who is this man? I don’t know him but I do know that when it’s projected as everything is alright, then there’s brute consensus and homogeneity which confirm the demise of the institutions.

I hope ours aren’t dead yet!

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About The Author

Shiwangi Sharma

Exist in my own head only & Still figuring the rest out!

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