Oranges and Cactus


Upon birth, all of us hold the same hopes for life, and we almost genetically are wired to choice. We learn to choose whether to eat or not to, when to cry and when not to, what to choose and what not to. That is why democracy is said to be inherent in us, but do we ever really sit back and reflect on what we have done to tighten the noose around its neck, every other day we wake up?

Stories and facts abound, glorifying one country, vilifying others. We have learned to ape the Americans, in all their doings, even their undoing. And all of us do think they have the most developed sense of choice and the highest level of freedoms for any man on earth. We are taught to think that democracy is all about elections and votes, and the way of the majority with the say of the minority. And everywhere the African story of dictatorship and post electoral wars is the benchmark of all that is not needed for thriving democracy, but hold on, will you? There is more to it than you and I ever did see.

I am not a scholar; I will not fall into the trappings of historical ideologies, into quoting Aristotle and Plato. My parents, in their own wisdom taught me to think as a man does and so I will. All home have restrictions. Parents, more often the father are the heads of the house. And they are authoritarian, dictatorial to be blunt. We set rules to be followed, unwritten rules that come at a cost. In every of our children, apart from the conscience, which too is inherent, is the constant beckoning of fear. For punishment, scolding, retribution. We curtail every of their choices with a little history, a rule here and there. And we praise those who follow the tiny things as disciplined and brainy, the glow of our homes. Will it be fair to state that parents did kill the right to choice? Perhaps not, but they did. I never really did see the point of them whining about stolen elections and dictators because most of them are, they are masters of the art of sarcasm…But

Flash forward and we all join school, perhaps to learn, perhaps not to. We never really have a choice in education, it is a constitutional right, and a responsibility of every other good citizen across the world. The free spirits are culled from the herd; they are punished for being them. And the ways of the world are drummed into our heads. We learn to quote facts like a bunch of supercomputers, to suppress feelings and courage for the good of the world, to sacrifice us for the good of the general public. And that too is praised. The rules are made to favor those who follow; those who bend them are branded traitors of humanity. We chose to go to bed with the systems. Across the world children will whine forever about school, perhaps only the trees will listen to them, the people won’t. We teach them what is right; again we can’t let them choose what is right. The conscience is shackled, again, and we are happy, they are making progress, perhaps?

World over the start of vote wars is in student leadership. Somehow the manipulation of our elders finds its way again. While the eyes of the of the smaller ones are stuck with what to choose, who to choose between the friendly, outgoing  cool guy, we start enumerating the qualities of good leaders to the, the book rules whose genesis we never really know , whose compulsion we never really understand. The spirit of freedom to choice is hanged to the cross of history, and we all clap when they choose as we want, as the books wanted. Have they ever a choice, really. My school was mired with teacher Machiavelli, in retrospect I never do remember a day when the teachers would respect the choices we made as people. Their way, whether right or wrong was eternal rule. Perhaps too we were taught not to question, the art of suppression was there, always.

Have you had a look at our religions?  Have you? I am not atheist. In fact, I do believe in god somewhere, where is not a problem.  Whether Islam, Hindu, Judaist, Christian or even traditionalist, the story of travails is the same, world over. Somewhere within the good books is a story nestled about good choices in the eyes of gods. Always, there are a bunch of commitments, commandments whose chequered history perhaps has been the cause of all world wars. In our search for eternism and the ever elusive self-realization we cross paths with the same ideology, over and over again. And it attacks our souls like viruses. We either conform to it or we are bound to eternal damnation. Trepidation and fear is planted into our hearts, we learn to choose with the god`s wants in sight. Should we have the guts to complain, when extremism and the most violent forms of terrorism thrive within our societies? When religious zealots curtail rights on the basis of belief. Yes I say again, like bile our beliefs did kill democracy, but did it?

I am not adept at providing conclusions; it never was a forte I was never good at. But my brains, like all yours, point me to a way, and the ways of the earth point me to the other. I am stuck, like you are, with whether to choose the ways of the earth, and be labeled conformist, and appreciatingly so, or to chart my way through the untrodden grass and be labeled mad. I will tell you as I think, what you think of me is not consequential. You and I were taught to kill democracy, and we taught it to others. We have no one to blame, but that, as you might as well think is an escapist and cowardly excuse.

Perhaps it is time we went back to the ways of our ancestors, before the travails of Adam and Eve were enlightened on us. Our consciences are the most pure form of moral compass, the degree of affinity to the soul is only dictated by the earth. And since to us is offered the power to learn, we can also unlearn. The question of what democracy is is what ails us. We were taught to think like typical voting machines, to our learned heads democracy can’t be there without elections and complicated and arduous processes. But is all that true, really true, don’t we have a choice.

To me it was never the vote that counted, it was the choice. The choice is democracy; the choice to follow the heart, the conscience is the most exhilarating sense of democracy. And we can’t blame anyone other than us for its death. We did kill democracy by following what was offered to us like sheep to grass, and its deathbed we all have the guts to cry foul, and point fingers at each other like it was all a gimmick. Let’s stop the game now, shall we? Democracy was never there while we were alive; we need to resurrect it from the dead. Because we never really who killed democracy, who killed the conscience within us, we only have but the option of going back to the board, and checking how she was killed




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