Dr. Shashi Tharoor speaks on Democracy
Nov 2 2013
Democracy is a system to foster public reasoning and a means to human development. This was the message conveyed by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development under Thiruvananthapuram Constituency, India. He was addressing at the Friday Forum, a programme initiated by the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS) in Phuentshogling.
The talk was graced by His Majesty the King and the Gyaltsuen.
Prior to the talk, Dr Shashi Tharoor called on His Majesty the King at the Institute.
During the lecture on democracy and development, Dr Tharoor said, democracy is a respond to the population and a means to reach-out to the lowest section of the society. Democracy, he said, creates an open discourse between the people so that their voices are heard and priorities noted.
“Democracy allows disagreement to be openly expressed. The process of free and fair public discussion and contestation, gives people the power to be stakeholders in combating social issues of a local nature without the state suppressing them or coercing the outcome.” Dr Tharoor said such constructive processes, which play a crucial role on developing the character of a democratic people, are unlikely to occur in an undemocratic state.
He added democracy and development is an intertwined concept. So with democracy, human development flourishes.
Dr. Shashi Tharoor said democracy is also a necessity to allow people to be creative in pursuing their goals. “Democracy fosters and environment of openness, giving opportunities for people to take risks. It permits citizens, access to information. It shows them right to express themselves freely without fear of repercussions.” He said the ability to think and debate freely without censorship, freeze the imagination leading to innovative practices that are the cornerstone of development.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, said Bhutan boarded well on her journey to this transition.
“I don’t know if I am stepping on political ground but I have heard that Bhutan is now considering a Right to Information Act. Having seen the difference this tool has made in India, I have no doubt that it will make democracy and its institutions in Bhutan accountable and transparent in a most wonderful way.”
He said Bhutan has also laid emphasis on the education of the people’s representative requiring graduates. “I find that remarkable, barring the candidates from fielding candidates in the elections this year on those grounds. So you have managed you democracy according to the ground rules you have agreed on.”
Friday Forum is a weekly programme initiated by the Institute where various speakers come and speak on relevant issues.