DEMOCRACY is not only a form of government rather it is an attitude through which one accepts and respects the limits defined by the state.
Recently, an orthopaedic surgeon at a London hospital asked the camera crew which was covering the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron to go off his ward for ignoring hygiene rules aimed at preventing the spread of disease.
Mr Cameron, who apologetically put his hands up and asked the crew to go out, gave a perfect example of what it means to live in a democratic state. This gives the message to the layman of the United Kingdom that rules aren’t meant for him only and he will not be the only one caught if he does transgress the limits.
Living in Pakistan, one cannot even dream of Yousuf Raza Gilani apologising for entering a hospital ward with the camera crew just because he ignored hygiene rules. In the first place, no one would dare to tell him that he did something wrong.
Democracy in Pakistan is devoid of individuals which ought to have a democratic attitude.
Most of our leaders and politicians possess an aristocratic attitude through which those who are inferior or have a lower social stature are not valued. In addition to this, they consider themselves to be above the law.
All rules and regulations are meant for that section of the society which is not powerful enough to thwart those who censure their transgressions.
Whenever the present government talks about the smooth running of a democratic system which shouldn’t be derailed, it should also realise the need of changing its mindset and attitude. Just like charity begins at home, democracy begins from within us.
The courage to accept criticism, being principled and punctual are the most important requirements which any democratic government or democratic political party must fulfil.
It is pertinent to realise that ‘democracy’ is an attitude which manifests into a democratic state.
This was originally published in Dawn newspaper on June 26. 2011.