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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/4/21

Strengthening of democracy makes even greater sense in today's world

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With rise to power of the Taliban that believes more in violence as a method of running the affairs of the state rather than the appeal of reason and consensus based on democracy, doubts may arise on the prudence of any talk about strengthening democratic institutions of a state. The apparent glee of other groups which believe in violent philosophy as well as the support expressed to Taliban by some nations, adds credibility to these doubts. The appeal of democracy may appear feeble in this context. On the other hand, strengthening democracy is of even greater importance in this situation than at other times.

Violence as a method may appear to be a manifestation of power, but in fact reveals weakness due to lack of inner security and peace. When there is a perception that one's ideology or way of life is threatened by another, it is normal human psychology to feel insecure. When humanity is divided along socio-economic and religious lines and these divisions are perpetuated by prevailing order of things, only an ideology that transcends these divisions can remain unaffected and feel secure.

Test of Non-violence
Test of Non-violence
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Anything that strengthens the mistrust and insecurity of those who believe in violent philosophy needs to be avoided. Commitment to democracy implies faith in inner strength and the capability to understand others and work together for facing challenges. Non-violence need not be preached in this situation, but doors should be left open for mutual understanding to develop. Anything that undermines democracy needs to be avoided, which would only strengthen the beliefs of those who stand by violent philosophy.

The world can no longer pay lip-service to peace, love and non-violence, or take dual stands of choosing violence or non-violence or a mix of the two, as the situation demands. Democracy is based on the core philosophy of non-violence and mutual trust. It supports the unity of all religions. It discourages division of humanity along narrow lines. If we are for democracy then we need to get rid of its weaknesses and strengthen it by all possible means. That is the only way to take on those who believe in violence as a legitimate method and the only way to ensure peace and harmony in the world. The stakes are high. The success of democracy will discourage the expansion of violence as a legitimate philosophy.

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Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan is former Professor of Medicine, Madras Medical College. Based in Chennai, India. His interests include Spirituality, Politics, Economics and Medicine.

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