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By M.S. Golwalkar

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Fate of First Reaction One, the older of the two, is called Democracy. It originated as a reaction to the unbridled monarchy in the countries of Europe. The individual was then a mere serf, devoid of all initiative and freedom, just a toy in the hands of the ‘divine’ kings. People rose in revolt, overthrew ‘the divine right of kingship’ and smashed the power of monarchy for all time. The inspiring slogan of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’ was on the lips of everybody. It was loudly trumpeted from housetops that the long dark night of slavery and tyranny had finally ended and a new era of ‘individual freedom’, sanctity of the individual rights’ and ‘equality of opportunity for all’ had dawned.

But the whole system has become perverted. Groupism and casteism have displaced the functional scheme. Notorious goondas often get elected to the Panchayats. Appeal to casteism, lure of money, threats, physical assaults have become the deciding factors; functional expertise has been thrown to winds. However, these distortions will have to be corrected. Well meaning and socially conscious persons in each field should be encouraged to come together and exert their influence so as to give a clean and effective rural base to the entire national edifice.

I asked a railway engineer, who was an authority on bridges, whether the fact of flooding of rivers flowing from the mountains had been taken into account while deciding the number and the length of railway bridges. He confessed that it was not. He also pleaded that in such matters decisions were often based on political and other considerations rather than on the opinion of the experts. "Territorial" Plus "Functional" This is one of the major obstacles, which the present system of elections has thrown up.

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