Published Year: 2007
Published by: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Price: Not mentioned,
Yuba Nath Lamsal
Right in the acknowledgement part of
the book, Dev Raj Dahal has said that people are not born
democratic, they need to be educated and trained on the
principles, ideals and values of democracy. It is the
education, training and debate on democratic principles,
values and institutions that make people avid democrats.
The education, training not only raise the level of awareness
and build opinion and values of democracy but also help
create develop democratic culture and conduct in individuals
and society. Believing in democracy and practicing democracy
are two different things that hardly match in many of
the people especially in the Third World countries.
Many people talk more about democracy
but miserably fail when it comes to translating the ideals
and principles of democracy. There are only few people
who profess and practice democracy simultaneously. It
is because the democratic education is not adequate. It
is more so in new democracies including Nepal, where meaning
of democracy is different to different people. Many take
it as a means to grab power. There are many instances
in the world where once established democracies, after
a hard and long struggle, have suffered setbacks. History
is witness that some most popular democratic leaders have
either failed or turned to be neo-dictators in some countries
in the world. This is because the understanding about
democracy is flawed.
Against this background, the conclusion
that can be drawn is that the education and training on
democracy is more important than fighting for democracy.
The fight and trek to democracy is definitely difficult.
But more difficult is to sustain this system. For this,
leaders must be democratic both in words and action. Similarly,
the political cadres and general mass also need to be
educated properly to develop democratic behavior and culture.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has been
working in the area of democratic education and training
in Nepal. Recently, this organization has brought out
a handbook called Handouts on Democracy. This small booklet
has provided a lot of practical knowledge on what democracy
is and what is not.
Much of the content and components in
the books mainly consist of the ideas and opinions of
Professor Thomas Meyer who is a well-known German political
scientist. Professor Meyer has written and spoken a lot
on democracy and its various tenets. Professor Meyer is,
of course, a treasure of knowledge on the contemporary
global political trend and democracy. The book has mentioned
some of the important aspects of democracy in brief and
in a simplified manner. The way professor Meyer's views
on democracy have been put in the book is in itself a
praiseworthy work. The book has given basic but clear
ideas about fundamental issues of democracy and helped
the readers learn about what democracy is.
Democracy is not merely a political
system. It is a way of life and culture. Genuine democracy
contains so many fundamental aspects and in the absence
of even a single component, democracy is imperfect. This
book thus deals with these fundamental principles and
components of democracy. Thus, it is very useful for those
who want to know about democracy. Most importantly, this
book must be read by the politicians themselves. If they
read it thoroughly, it will not only give them opportunity
to learn about principles of democracy but also may persuade
them to practice what they profess.
Thus, the booklet is very important
and useful, which must be read and followed. For publishing
such a good stuff, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung deserves
Supplement, The Rising Nepal (25 April 2008)