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Home / World / Dissent, democracy and modernity

Dissent, democracy and modernity

According to economist Amartya Sen the greatest development of the 20th century has been democracy. In a Unicef paper of 1999 he writes that 'democracy is a demanding system…' where 'political and civil rights, especially those related to the guaranteeing of open discussion, debate, criticism, and dissent, are central to the process of generating informed and considered choices.'

world Updated: Jun 08, 2013, 23:32 IST
Shalini Singh
Shalini Singh
Hindustan Times

According to economist Amartya Sen the greatest development of the 20th century has been democracy. In a Unicef paper of 1999 he writes that 'democracy is a demanding system…' where 'political and civil rights, especially those related to the guaranteeing of open discussion, debate, criticism, and dissent, are central to the process of generating informed and considered choices.'

The index of modernity is also closely related to the attitudes towards dissent according to Shanto Iyenger, political science professor at Stanford University.

Democracy is the most invented thing of this century agrees Visvanathan. For democracy to exist, says Visvanathan, it needs to keep reinventing itself.

"Unfortunately, the State as of now doesn't have the imagination to change. It also lacks the institutions required to bring out about those changes."

So will the current spate of dissent play a role in shaping the youth identity in times to come? "The (non-violent) nature of these protests lends itself to a way of learning where the young people discover how to become a citizen and relate to each other's problems," he says.

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