Webinar on Celebrating Democracy held

Hyderabad: The Hyderabad based S. Jaipal Reddy Memorial Foundation organized a National Webinar on “Celebrating Democracy” on Sunday on YouTube. It was organized on Sunday evening to mark the 80th Birth Anniversary of former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, who has been the first South Indian recipient of the Outstanding Parliamentarian award

Hon’ble Shri Justice Permod Kohli, Former Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, Former Chairman, Central Administrative Tribunal was the Chief Guest. Speaking to his virtual audience on YouTube live, the learned retired judge asked aren’t your fundamental duties as important as your fundamental rights. Everyone is talking about their rights. But, what about their duties? Is it not your duty to discharge the duties prescribed in the constitution? The same constitution which guaranteed you fundamental rights has also incorporated duties to be followed and observed. The citizens need to remember their fundamental duties as they remember their fundamental rights, he emphasized.

Does Democracy mean just protests for months together? he asked. Doesn’t this go against the spirit of democracy? he asked.

He questioned legalizing the pre-election freebie distribution concept which needs to be regulated. Political parties are legally buying votes in the disguise of freebies. Is it not political corruption, he questioned? It is the public money that can be used for better purposes such as infrastructure development etc.

He touched upon how hate speeches are on the rise of late which are going on unchecked. He worried about their frequency. Recently Mr Asaduddin Owaisi in UP openly threatened a majority community. The time has come to check these kinds of hatred which is not good for democracy, said Hon’ble Permod Kohli. The democratic values are compromised for little favors, he expressed his concern. The terrorists of democracy are the people from within the country and are not from outside. It is a very dangerous situation, he cautioned. Though I don’t know Mr S. Jaipal Reddy so intimately, all I know is that he is a good, humble politician with a good set of democratic values which must be followed he concluded his address.

Participating in the Webinar, Prof (Dr) YSR Murthy, Vice-Chancellor, RV University, Bengaluru, Human Rights Expert, highlighted how democracy has become a mockery in the hands of the mighty and powerful political entities. He sighted many examples of gross violation of human rights by various governments by using government institutions. He strongly advocated cultivating the culture of respecting autonomous democratic institutions. We need a rule of law based society and it must be supreme. He also explained how TN Seshan brought respect to the Election Commission. We must not tolerate the degradation of democratic institutions, he added.

Shri Pankaj Vohra, Managing Editor, The Sunday Guardian, Former Political Editor, Hindustan Times raised an issue of the increasing trend of the corporatisation of Media. Media is a strong force, but that is under question now even buy a bureaucrat. They are not tolerating alternative views. Any media which writes against the wishes of the all and mighty, their arms are chopped by stopping advertising support. To have a strong democracy, we need a strong opposition and strong media. Both are important pillars of democracy, he said.

Speaking further he added that S Jaipal Reddy was a towering figure in Indian Politics. He was an intellectual giant. He treated people with diverse views equally, he said.

Prof. K. Purushotham Reddy, former Head of Dept of Political Science, Osmania University raised his concern over the rising trend of dynasty rule in India. This reduces the choice to elect a good leader. It has to be rectified. The leader has to come from the people but not from a single-family or a few families. He gave a clarion call to revive the spirit of the second freedom struggle of 1977. We need today that kind of vibrant democracy, he added.

Ms Shilpa Krishna, a Research Scholar from the University of Hyderabad facilitated the Webinar.

Members of the S Jaipal Reddy family, friends, politicians, and students of Political Science, researchers on the subject and followers of Mr S. Jaipal Reddy and others attended the webinar.

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