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Taking Stock
Democratic anarchy 
By Rizwan Ullah

Democracy need not necessarily be defined for its definition is a sort of cliché though its evolution has reached a point whose progress stops and regression sets in. Various stages of decaying democracy are accepted as varying forms of democracy and every form is attributed with certain features and made acceptable through the trumpeting by its propounders and perpetrators. Thus ‘the government of the people, by the people and for the people’ with an elected legislature, bicameral or unicameral, is the ideal form of democracy albeit it should have prime minister responsible to the elected body or with no responsibility at all except taking care of the interests of class or group of people who must have propped him to the coveted position. 

The democracy is still ideal if it has a president not so responsible to elected body and at times having his own ways and assuring the people that his ways were really in their interest, such a president may chose and appoint his whole cabinet and a host of other high officials and once the representative body is persuaded to believe that every choice was fine with them, and their consent was obtained the appointees perform every act as and when their string-holder wants them to.

When a president or prime minister perpetuates in power for decades the system continues to be a democracy, when he relents dead or alive only in favour of his first blood relation the democracy continues to survive in a refreshed incarnation. There is such a great elasticity in a democracy that it can be stretched to any length without apprehending its snapping. Thus a ruling monarch can be the head of a democracy and such a democracy is transferred along with its paraphernalia through the lineage. 

Unfortunately, the only fly in the ointment of democracy is an Islamic content. If the people rule their country according to their laws framed according to Islamic principles and precepts and therefore use force to crush a revolt, as every administration everywhere would like to do, and in fact does so, it does not conform to the acceptable norms of democracy. If harsh punishments are awarded to curb crimes, and to discourage would-be criminals, it is certainly undemocratic, for democracy does not move into action until the crime is committed. And if the crime is committed by the supposed givers of law or defenders of democracy it does not move at all Democracy is a political concept, not a matter of conscience, so democratic people may not necessarily have a conscience. No definition of democracy so far has attributed conscience related conditions to a democracy which is a worldly and purely materialistic affair having nothing to do with anything that is anywhere touching the fringes of morality, rather morality is the first casualty in the lately emerging mutations of democracy.

Anyway, democracy conjures up a system with certain norms, framed, adopted or borrowed from the people believing in that system. Now, if the people having agreed to act according to certain norms that constitute a democracy but for whatever reasons chose to deviate and act according to their selfish interest harmful to the society as a whole it amounts to what may be termed as anarchy. The term anarchy got currency in mid 16th century. By that time monarchy was the only established form of governance. Even caliphate had degenerated into a dynastic monarchy. So what was non-confirming to the monarchy was anarchy, what was not monarchy was anarchy. It was an utter license, freedom unchecked by self regulation or submission to authority. Now, in the days of democracy of all hues and colours what does not conform to the accepted norm of a democracy is anarchy.

All civilized societies pass through a process of evolution and development before they become stable and establish a set of principles for governance of their affairs called law. The law as established and interpreted in our society says that any person is innocent unless and until otherwise proved and confirmed by the due process of law. But if a person is declared to be a criminal before he has gone through that procedural process or he is denied the opportunity to prove his innocence then it should be considered contrary to the agreed principles of democracy or undemocratic, and by implication what is undemocratic in a democracy is anarchic. To stretch the implication further what is anarchic despite peoples proclaimed adherence to democracy must be regarded as democratic anarchy. 

There are some characteristics of a society presumed to be a democratic anarchy: those who manage to reach an assembly by manipulating the process which governs that access forget the oath they had taken before formally joining the assemblage, they secure their own person and position before taking care of the security requirements of the people, they grab all facilities, opportunities and benefits which should have come to the people, they have no control over the forces maintained at the cost of public money and the public is inconvenienced by those forces, devoting all the time and devising means to hold the splintering groups together instead of pondering over ways to deliver the people from poverty, disability, ignorance and frustrations they are sinking in.

Unfortunately, the role of the Fourth Estate in such a democratic anarchy does not emit a gleaming ray of hope. The doctor himself is suffering from the incurable affliction. It can not discern the difference between freedom and license. It does not know how to slash the excessive malignant mass gathering over a dominating section of the society. Like other anarchic elements it declares a verdict of criminality against an individual without confirming or waiting for the verdict by a lawful authority. Such a behaviour is the anarchy of the media and amounts to its failure in playing its role in the process of the integration of society while people are thrown out of employment without providing alternative source of living, while people are destabilized by pulling them out of their lawful avocations and media remains a silent spectator without coming to their rescue it forfeits the title of the ‘Watch dog’ of democracy and falls in line with the anarchy in democracy. 

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