Communication is the key to Good Governance
“To look is one thing. To see what you look at is another. To understand what you see is a third. To learn from what you understand is still something else. But to act on what you learn is all that really matters. Isn’t it?”
“The human relationship is purely based on the power of communication. If only we can understand each other well, it would have served the purpose of human welfare and wellbeing without any conflict of interest and misunderstanding.”
The Aforesaid two dictates are very important and inevitable in the realm of good governance. When viewed in the background of violent and undemocratic acts of hooliganisms taking place in the name of constitutional right to protest in our country in the recent past show that even the good intent with which reforms were and are undertaken can go wary if they are not propagated effectively and meaningfully communicated to the public and implemented diligently for their sake.
The NRC and CAA, the Farm Laws, demolition of properties of rioters, abrogation of Article 370, banning Triple Talaq and now the Agnipath for the armed forces though well intended and well deserved to be implemented, were met with stiff resistance and ended in hooliganism , arson and destructions of public and even private properties stealthily supported by vested interest people severely affecting public movements and disrupting public lives and made the public to suffer untenable inconveniences. Besides, these ugly incidents also gave an opportunity for the anti-social and anti-national elements to create a divide among the citizens and spreading hatred and animosity among the public tarnishing the image of our heritage country which was and still is a practicing democracy of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.
“Skilful communication can increase stakeholders’ support for governance reform objectives, influencing opinion, attitude and behavior change. Communication tools can also enhance citizen engagement in political systems. It is important to understand both communication processes and the framework for national dialogue in which these operate”. It seems that the present government with the best of intentions and well-meaning motives brought out various bold reforms and initiating actions which hither to never taken in the interest and safety and security of the country, but somewhere they lacked effective communication to convey their intent. , importance, benefits, the need of the time etc. to the general public who are the target beneficiaries of the reforms. They should have tested the pulse of the general public through feed backs before introducing the reforms and embarking on a mission of educating the target people on the merits of their envisaged reforms. In these days of technological advancement in the field of communication and considering the importance and impact of the social media and its availability, the task of effective communication is not a problem at all. When the government interacts with people, it is imperative that they understand the power of their communication to impact those whom they are targeting. An effective communication leads to better understanding which then leads to acceptance.
Good governance of the state depends on leadership capacity and capability to deliver, accept their responsibilities and finally acknowledge their accountability. In case of necessity and need, a course correction should be undertaken to achieve the goal. Constant and consistent communication with all stake holders will help creating good will and cooperation from all in the process of delivering good governance.
Communication cannot be a one way traffic. It must be two way traffic and up and down traffic. If it is done at the process level, it can promote support of governance reforms by creating political will in the leaders and policy makers, Organizational will among all level bureaucrats, induce public will among the citizens through influencing opinion, their attitude and necessary behavioral change to accept and implement the reforms. “At the structural level, communication links citizens, civil society, the media, and government, forming a framework for national dialogue through which informed public opinion is shaped”.
The role of the opposition cannot be minimized. A strong opposition is an unavoidable necessity in a functioning democracy. “In a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional, but must be maintained because it is indispensable.” How true when it is said, “An informed people is one of the best guarantees of a continuing democracy”? But how to make people be informed? Only through communication. The gift of speaking to one another on trust and understanding is the way for healthy democracy. Therefore, not only the ruling political dispensation but also the opponents require an effective communication channel and an open dialogue and indulge in constructive criticism and viable alternative suggestions. The aim and the objectives of the ruling party and its opponents in a democratic set up is to find ways and means to solve their differences through parliamentary debates and mutual discussions finding consensus where ever possible and demonstrate their protests through democratic peaceful means and not to indulge in violent activities to vent their feelings.
Unfortunately democracy being practiced as of now in our country as we see it, is nothing but a sham. If the opposition criticizes for the sake of criticism is nothing but prejudice. If they find everything wrong in whatever the ruling government is doing, it amounts to deceit. If the actions of the opposition parties with divergent views and ideology working together for the sole aim of bringing down a democratically elected government with an absolute majority, then it is not in the national interest. All the political parties clamor for their fundamental rights, particularly freedom of speech and freedom to protest, but they forget the fact that every right is derived out of a duty to be performed first and the most important duties are enshrined in the Constitution under Article 51- A on Fundamental Duties. Nobody bothers about that important Article and blatantly violates them and go with impunity. What sort of democracy are we practicing?
Communication is indeed the link that unites us with our fellow human beings. When it comes, it is like a miracle because it happens so rarely. It happened once and that was during our freedom struggle when we fought unitedly and in unison and Mahatma Gandhi harnessed the power of the people to create a “RAM RAJYA”. Will that miracle happen now in our democracy? We don’t think so while experiencing democracy as of now. But why? It has become very difficult to communicate because the nature of communication that is being used by the various political parties ably aided by the fringe elements is based on division and fragmentation of the society on the basis of caste, creed, religion, language, regions, ideologies where saner voices are not being heard nor being felt. The present day happenings have obliterated the oldest ancient Indic values, its culture, ethos and faith leading to a fear whether history is going to be repeated. But it should not be allowed to happen. Those who are taking law into their hands should be dealt with sternly to show them their proper place and make them realize that such kind of violence and anti-constitutional activities cannot be and shall not be tolerated to protect national interest, national security and integrity of the nation at any cost.
If at all our democracy has to survive the test of time, we should not forget what our school of ancient wisdom that is Bharat has taught us, Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu (May the entire universe ever be filled with peace, joy, love and light), Satyameva Jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs), Vasudeva Kudumbakam (World of one family), āno bhadrāḥ kratavo yantu viśvato (Let noble thoughts come to us from all directions) and more such divine sermons for the welfare of humanity. The only hope that we can cherish is what history has taught us that when other ancient civilizations of the world perished, our Indic civilization stood firmly and survived the test of its times and we also will survive and triumph in all our endeavors to preserve our unity , integrity and national interest and so also our democracy.
This article is shared by TR Radhakrishnan who is Banking & Management Consultant and can be reached at e-mail: [email protected]