ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Power Discerned


If power is not collectively exercised and experienced, it will remain sectarian, patriarchal and hierarchical. Power becomes positively productive only at the collective level. Monopolisation of it, both by the dominant or by the dominated, yields and promotes sectarian interests. Democracy, both conceptually and practically, reflects collective exercise of power. That is why democratisation of power always posits a counter-narrative to the concentration of power in the hands of a few or in the exercise of the authoritarian regime. It is a constant struggle between those who want to monopolise power and those who want to establish collective control over it. This is the historical framework that ultimately strengthens moral righteousness of one over the other. In other words, the struggle between monopolisation and collective control is a ceaseless process, notwithstanding the fugitive nature of democracy that often emerges as a result of this ongoing conflict.

M K Gandhi settles down the apparent ambiguity created by the result of such endless conflict where power is repeatedly monopolised and gets concentrated, resulting in the defeat of collective control over it. This impels Gandhi to reinforce the necessity of ceaseless struggle until the “truth” is realised. Yet, the realisation of the truth does not lie in achieving it finally, but rather in its relentless pursuit. Sheldon Wolin also, in the same vein, puts forth the fugitive nature of democracy where it remains momentary as its subversion into domination almost becomes inevitable. However, such an eventuality does not in any way undermine the possibility of uninterrupted continuity of the struggle, despite the fugitive nature of democracy realised only temporarily and tentatively.

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