Globally, one has witnessed the establishment of democracy as a founding principle for society. For a nation as diverse and vibrant as India, democracy is extremely essential to create a society which challenges existing discrimination, injustice, violence and discrimination. In the current socio-political climate of the country, many of us are increasingly feeling that the true essence and meaning of what it means to be democratic is limited to certain institutional processes.
Democracy that upholds the values of equity, secularism and justice and culminates in creation of a humane society is, however, a work in progress. There is a need to promote behavioural changes in the society as a whole where acceptance of diversity, dissent, tolerance, collective decision making and participative institution building are seen as essential components of democratic functioning. We all need to be schooled into democracy in our everyday lives to be able to build systems, organisatios, and a politics that is democratic
We wish to do this work more intensely through our organization Center for Promoting Democracy. We plan to initiate work with school and college youth to start a discussion on democratic values, democratic institutions, democratic processes and how they need to incorporate them into their everyday lives.
What does it mean to be democratic and how can we incorporate the values of democracy in our daily life? How can we change the situation of increasing alienation and disenfranchisement that we face as citizens? Can citizen participation in cities take the form of vibrant forums and change the current trajectory of politics? These are some of the questions which we have been increasingly raising during our work on urban governance in the city for the past more than a year.