Democracy is a type of government made for the people, of the people and by the people. As a citizen of a country where democratic government prevails, it is the responsibility of its people to vote and choose the representatives to run the government, whom they feel are fit to lead ones country towards betterment and prosperity. But is this all that a responsible citizen of a country should do. Choose the government and sit back?
Well to that the answer is NO. It is equally important for every citizen to assess, analyze and gauge the performance of their chosen representatives and see that they are performing up to the expectations. It is the duty of the people to ensure that those in power do not misuse their position. There is a need for constant vigil and this is where activist and activism come in picture. Activists are the people who make sure that the government is functioning properly and whistle blow if anything objectionable or unacceptable is done. Activism is done through various channels – print, media, social networking, in form of dharnas, public meetings, slogans, etc. Activists raises voice against the atrocities and let people know about it. And any democratic country does give this freedom to people.
There is a very thin line between democratic form of government and autocratic form of government and the transition is not very difficult. There are several instances when a person in power tries to take advantage and affect the democratic policies of a country. To prevent from something like that there is a need for them to be constantly answerable to people. There is a need for activist groups to ensure that if the government does not function effectively, the matter is brought in public domain, fearing from which the elected authorities do not try to misuse their power.
There is only a one way path from helplessness to empowerment, once empowered nobody settles for less. Activist is the person who enables people to not settle for less. One example of one such activist is Mr.Anna Hazare who awakened people regarding massive corruption in India and now which has become one of the major issues in India, wherein people are fighting to remove corruption from the country. In India there are several Right to Information ( RTI ) activists who time and again seeks information in case they find any discrepancies in government’s functioning which has brought a lot of issues in public and has ensured proper check. It was a result of activists only that special policies for women protection were formed like Nirbhaya Scheme or the issues regarding discrimination of north-eastern people was brought into attention.
We cannot ignore the fact that activism also causes unwanted unrest at several instances and sometimes takes the form of violence, which is uncalled for. We do need such kind of activists but what we definitely need is positive activism not just for the survival of democracy but also for the betterment of any democratic country. To highlight the fact on the power of activists there is a very famous saying which goes as:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”