Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that a dangerous and false binary was emerging in the country’s political discourse which could be a danger to the democratic system.
Addressing the first Prof. S.B. Rangnekar Memorial lecture at his alma mater Panjab University here, the Congress leader said that it was time to ask ourselves if we were losing patience with democracy 70 years after getting independence.
“We need to ask ourselves whether we are losing patience with democracy and turning to more authoritarian alternatives that may well yield superior short-term results but in the long term will end up destroying our country and all the achievements of the last 70 years,” he said while addressing students and faculty.
“Governance is complex. It is messy. It is slow. Its benefits are long term. It requires great patience. Above all, democracy is a system in which people without privilege have a decisive voice in governance. If this is lost, democracy becomes meaningless,” he added.
Regarding the present day scenario in the country, Manmohan Singh said: “A dangerous and false binary is now surfacing in Indian political discourse, which must be firmly rejected. It is that we have to choose between freedom and development. It is not a new binary.
“Dr. Ambedkar once worried that the day may come when people may prefer government for the people to government by and of the people. He saw that as a great danger.
“On this 70th anniversary, we must ensure that we do not fall into the trap of choosing government for the people over government by and of the people,” he said.