B S Raghavan

People's juggernaut has begun rolling!

B.S. Raghavan | Updated on March 01, 2011

I was taking a count of the countries and their populations affected by the current wave of popular unrest : They are seven countries with 165 million people, made up (roughly in the order of spreading) of Tunisia (10.5 million), Egypt (83 million), Bahrain (one million), Libya (6.3 million), Jordan (6.3 million), Yemen (23.8 million) and Morocco (34.9 million).

The Tunisian and Egyptian Governments have already bitten the dust, with their rulers ignominiously taking flight, while the much-dreaded terrorist among heads of state, the Libyan dictator, Col Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi who seemed like an immovable fixture for 41 years, is said to be either on his way to, or already in hiding in, Venezuela.

His son, Seif al-Islam el-Gaddafi, though, is raining fire and brimstone, warning of civil war and fighting to the last person, man or woman, and to the last ditch and bullet.

The Libyan people are said to be in control of several cities and many Government buildings in the Capital, Tripoli, itself, and it will not be long before the son too throws down everything and flees.

Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen and Morocco have just begun to feel the fury of a patient but long-suffering people, and anything may happen at any time. It is almost certain that the days of these tottering regimes too are numbered. Meanwhile, rumblings are heard indicating the brewing of trouble in Algeria (34.2 million), Ethiopia (85.2 million), Rwanda (10.5 million), Sudan (41.0 million) and Uganda (32.4 million), with Syria (20.2 million) and Saudi Arabia (28.7 million) in jitters and preparing for the worst.

Some regimes are already genuflecting before the people with offerings of human rights, civil liberties, good governance and fair elections.

For instance, the Algerian Foreign Minister, Mourad Medelci, hurriedly announced on February 14 that his country's 19-year state-of-emergency laws would be revoked within days, ending tight censorship and lifting a ban on political demonstrations.

“In the coming days,” Medelci said, the emergency regulations would be “a thing of the past,” giving way to “complete freedom of expression within the limits of the law.”

Bullies and cowards

Including the population (252.2 million) involved in this emerging line-up, an amazing number of half-a-billion people are showing signs of having woken up, determined to put an end to any more nonsense from their covetous, corrupt and cruel regimes, and intent on driving out of the country for good (on pain of a worse fate) the erstwhile potentates who were lording it over them.

Suddenly, the people everywhere have established a new pattern of changing their unwanted rulers by taking a direct hand and simply obliterating them. In the process, they have shown all those tin-pot dictators to be the bullies and cowards that they are.

The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, told TV anchors on February 16 that there was no scope for a repetition of Egypt and Tunisia in India because it was “a functioning democracy….. People already have a right to change governments. We have a free press.”Elections once in five years alone do not a democracy make, if, in between, the people are crushed by misgovernance, while before their very eyes, freebooters among occupants of power and authority are converting the democracy into a sham.

Encouraged by the achievements of their soulmates elsewhere, the people of India too may refuse to be sacrificial lambs and decide to set an example in the contrary direction of overthrowing the trappings of democracy in favour of a supreme council of elders of impeccable integrity and undoubted competence to serve them!

Published on February 23, 2011

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