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Inculcating democratic sense and sensibilities through deliberative processes: A case for overcoming the limitations of electoral democracy

The very title of this paper, I am aware will provoke anger and righteous indignation among the readers of this article.  I am sure people will be horrified at the thought that there is an inadequacy or a limitation in electoral democracy and I will not be surprised if some come to the conclusion that this is an attempt at subverting the idea of democracy and the democratic process in this country.  Let me reassure the reader that my intent does not have any such blackness; on the contrary it is to strengthen democratic institutions through processes that cast a net wider than the present democracy which is primarily rooted in electoral politics.
Before proceeding further let me set out the angst that has led me on this path of thinking, a path that has existed for years, but one very few of us saw as being worthy of exploration.  In the final decade of the twentieth century, the idea of deliberative democracy came to the forefront as prescription to some of the shortcomings of electoral and representative democracy.  I shall get to that point later, but first let me explain why I have chosen to go down that path today.  For the State of Andhra Pradesh, to which I belong, the first decade of the twenty first century has been a very difficult one to negotiate.  The reason is the well-known separate Telangana agitation which was brought to life by Mr. K. Chandrasekhar Rao of the Telangana Rasthra Samithi, an outfit that he established after his falling out with Mr. N. Chandra Babu Naidu, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.  Since then the issue of Telangana was a thorn in many a politician’s life but now, it has become one in everybody’s life in the city of Hyderabad and the Osmania University, which is the focal point of this agitation.  I, being a teacher in Osmania University, have come to see the developments of the separate Telangana agitation rather closely, and it is this proximity to the epicenter of the agitation that has made me think about the question of separate Telangana seriously.  Even though I come from the region of Telangana, I for one am not in favour of the bifurcation of the state, since that will have repercussions for Indian nationalism and federalism.  At this juncture, it will be appropriate for me to point out that I was not for the creation of states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.   This is not to argue that the problems of the people are not genuine in these regions (including Telangana) or that they need no redressal.  All I am saying is that bifurcation, which seems like the obvious solution, need not be so. 
Some political parties and some academics as well have argued that there is nothing wrong with the process of dividing existing states and in fact, smaller states lend themselves to better administration.  To me this argument simply is a case of missing the larger picture for the smaller.  Division of existing states will have to been seen in the context of India’s history which has shown that owing to a number of social divisions such as caste and religion, the politics have been hijacked and led to colonialism.  Given the fact, that India is today in the midst of a capitalist phase of building it also goes without having to say much that it is also in the midst of creating new schisms and fractures in society which are primarily economic.  The post Vishwanath Pratap Singh years have seen the rise of caste to the forefront of politics.  In fact, one can say that post independence, India has seen the transformation of caste into a political variable that is continuously used for political gains by politicians.  Social schisms and economic inequalities together can make for a heady cocktail of politics that will seek to thrive on divisions by trying to widen them rather than bridging them.  In fact, I can say that the process has already began, the separate Telangana agitation is a prime example of those politics that thrive in furthering and creating newer forms of discriminations.
Let me try and demonstrate why I say this.  The separate Telangana agitation is based in the “son of the soil” argument and sees those who are not the sons of the soil as colonialists.  What needs to be remembered here is that only people from Coastal Andhra region mainly and to an extent for Rayalseema are seen as the colonialists.  The son of the soil argument has been forwarded first by the Telangana Reddys and then the Velamas[1]. These two castes are firmly rooted in Telangana feudalism and have not kept up with the pace of entrepreneurial capitalist progress that the Kamma community from coastal Andhra had shown. The Kamma entrepreneur grew in stature and in size during the rule of the TDP with Mr. N. T. Rama Rao as Chief Minister. In fact, the Telugu Desam party represented the Kamma business interest and was patronized by the Kammas from Coastal Andhra. Media Baron Mr. Ramoji Rao threw his weight behind Mr. N.T. Rama Rao and the TDP and functioned almost as a mouth piece for the party. The shrewd entrepreneurial spirit of Mr. Ramoji Rao saw him taking his Eenadu daily newspaper in Telugu to every nook and cranny of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Over a period of time highly localized editions of the newspaper became available. What became a formidable combination were Mr. N. T. Rama Rao's populist policies as Chief Minister and the carrying of the news of the same to all people by the Eenadu news paper. This did lead to an increase in the popularity of NTR and the TDP especially in the Telangana region where populism worked due to the relatively higher levels of poverty and lack of development. This also presented an opportunity for the Kamma capitalist from Coastal Andhra to expand into the Telangana region. The logical destination for this was Hyderabad which is the State Capital and the biggest market. It all started off as hotel industry and the cinema industry. Later on it went on to retail market capturing and finally onto the Information Technology industry which came alive with the dot com boom (which later went bust) and the opportunities provided through the Y2K problem. Mainly the Kamma caste and some others like the Rajus and Brahmins from the Coastal Andhra region basically took advantage of the IT boom.
During this time another development happened. Hyderabad saw the drain of the original dwellers to the USA over a period of time. These Hyderabadis went to the States with the intention of never returning and the space left by them in Hyderabad was occupied by a wave of migration from the coastal districts. This is the time that also saw the burgeoning of engineering colleges and the sheer number of them actually made local reservations almost redundant. The students from Coastal Andhra were in a better position to compete and therefore amassed the benefits. When the second IT wave came, it brought the out sourcing boom with it. Now was the opportunity not only to go abroad but also make use of jobs in Hyderabad itself with Chief Ministers like Mr. Chandrababu Naidu and Dr. Y.S.Rajshekhar Reddy encouraging the trend. The business opportunity was once again taken up by the Coastal Andhra entrepreneurs and the jobs by the educated sections from there. The mainly feudal Reddys and Velamas missed out on these opportunities and have since been relegated into the background. For caste groups that had dominated the region for aeons this situation was most unpalatable. The other losers were people from the BC and SC communities since they were never provided decent education ever. NTR's and TDP's support of local capitalism translated into a divide between the feudal Reddy and Velama communities on the one side and the capitalist Kamma and Raju communities on the other. On both sides are the Brahmins[2] playing relatively insignificant and consequently peripheral role in the development of antagonisms freshly.
The feudal culture of Telangana also meant that jobs were given to those who curried favour with the entrenched power groups represented by the Reddys and the Velamas. This unfortunate tendency was extended even into government employment and educational institutions including universities. The bit about the universities is extremely important because in the last three decades a good university like Osmania University has seen its reputation go down drastically in social sciences due to lack of quality teachers and researchers. The same maybe true of other faculties as well. This tendency has almost killed education in the districts of Telangana and education has been reduced to the provision of degrees to students who have no knowledge of the subjects that they are supposed to have studied. Here is a crisis. There are plenty of jobs available in Hyderabad but nobody from Telangana has the skill or the capability to claim them. These jobs have gone to Andhra people wherever there are hard core skills requirements and to people from other parts of the country wherever there are jobs that need soft skills[3].
The Reddys and the Velamas have also slowly lost their lands and the power that comes along with it. For communities used to the exercise of social power this is an unfamiliar situation and the step that they have taken is the kindling of the separate Telangana State spirit in order to drive back the Coastal Andhra Kammas and anyone else who is a threat to them. When they were in power they had followed the David Eastonian principle of authoritative allocation of resources[4] and values but with the growth of power of the Kammas the same principle was used by the other side to dispossess the Reddys and the Velamas in the technocracy that was created in the State especially during the reign of Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. This coincided with the time when the Indian State and the State of Andhra Pradesh had embarked upon a programme of structural reform as advised by the World Bank and that saw a drastic pull back from the employment sector by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. With the withdrawal of the State and a majority of jobs going into the private sector a meritocracy of sorts came into being and employment depended on certain skills which people from Telangana were not in possession of thanks to an almost useless and archaic system of education. This has led to lack of employment among the rural students of Telangana.
The Separate Telangana agitation has two dimensions. The call for a Separate Telangana by the Reddys and Velamas now, is basically an attempt to snatch back the power that they are used to. Their belief is that if the State becomes accessible to them again they would be in a position to exercise social power. The other side is represented by the students who mainly belong to BC, SC and to an extent ST communities. Politicians, especially the Maoists are interested in exploiting this opportunity so that they can seize control of a new State. The belief of the students is that the creation of the new State would help them to get employment while the Maoists who have lost a lot of ground in their traditional stronghold want that back. The Telangana issue is therefore more complex than it seems and has within itself tangles that will prove to be a problem now and in the future. The agitation is now headless in the sense that it is now in no one's hand. There are various groups and all believe that they can gain control of the movement and corner the benefits that come with the success of the movement.
This then is the setting in which the second iteration of the separate Telangana movement is played out.  Without a doubt, the son of the soil could therefore feel left out of the developmental process and may see himself as the dispossessed. That is not entirely untrue either.  However what we need to understand is that the solution of bifurcation is not the one to follow, for this solution is premised in the problems of liberal democracy and liberal philosophy which are behind the democratic process of India.  It is therefore essential to have a look at the problematique of liberal philosophy and liberal democracy.
It is not unusual for even teachers of political science to confuse liberal philosophy with liberal democracy. It is usually this confusion that leads to misplaced opinions on the nature of democracy and its operation. I would like to locate this particular discussion in the context of how democracy is perceived in India and the problems that are associated with that perception. In fact, I would like to premise my present argument in one of the aspects of the previous post and also another one where I talked about the political will of the people combined with economic necessity. One of the big problems that exists in India today is a concentration on all things political while neglecting or ignoring the economic aspect. In fact, the moment one invokes the economic category most are happy to brand that as Marxist or Communist thinking. Nothing can be farther from the truth. If one were to look at the philosophies of John Locke and Adam Smith, they have been associated with the beginnings of liberal philosophy. And in this philosophy it is strikingly evident that economy and economic well being is of paramount importance.
The work of Adam Smith usually gets categorized as economics. By doing so the philosophical and political dimensions of his work are ignored. In the case of John Locke exactly the opposite is done. He is primarily categorized as political thinker with smatterings of economic thinking reduced to his defence of private property. However, these days it is well known that both fit into the category of classical political economists.  Now that the category is invoked let me use this opportunity to clarify that political economy is not to be associated with Marx and Marxism alone. Marx only took the perceptions of free market economy that were used by Smith and Locke, turned them upside down in order to construct the stateless community. The stateless community of Marx can be seen in substance as the same as the free market. Marx felt that from within the confines of liberal philosophy and liberal democracy the goal could not be reached[5]. Therefore, he suggested the communist society as 'viable' alternative. But that is digressing from the question on hand. Liberal philosophy establishes an indelible link between private property and the well being of citizens. Its basis becomes even more obvious when it is seen in conjunction with the idea of the 'protestant ethic' as described by Max Weber. Weber opined that Protestantism in Christianity removed the intermediary which was the church in the process of identification of noble and valuable members of society[6]. When faced with this situation, people looked to the proving of their ability and productivity through private property accumulation. So a person with large private property was a reference point for everyone else; a person who reached his status through sheer hard work and perseverance.
The conflation of the protestant ethic with liberal philosophy shows the direction that Western Society especially in the Anglo-phone parts of Europe and later the United States of America took. A turn in this direction led to the pursuit of private property and with that respect in society. John Locke believed that nature had created everyone equally; but there is a difference in the notion of equality. Locke believed that all human beings were equal to the extent that God had endowed all with rationality or reason. However, this does not mean that Locke felt that all human beings had rationality in equal amount. For him it is quite possible that some were more rational than others and those who were more rational performed better than others and that could be gauged from the amount of property that they had successfully amassed[7]. Locke was using the metaphor of a race while saying this. It is well know that in a race everybody has an 'equality of beginning' but not necessarily equality at the end. Races are won and lost on the basis of ability. Those who can run faster, better and longer than others are likely to do well in the race whereas the others are not. The Lockean twist here is that he is clearly specifying that in the process of equality the role of society ends with the provision of an equal start to all. The end of the race which leads to inequality is an "inequality of consequence". Those better equipped win because of their being better equipped and society has nothing to do with how 'nature' has enabled people differently. So inequality of beginning is unacceptable but the inequality of consequence which is seen at the end of the race is acceptable[8].
The notion of democracy that was proposed by Locke was fairly consistent with this philosophy. For Locke and people like Smith democracy never meant Universal Adult Franchise or Adult Suffrage. These are notions that have been added to democracy over a few centuries as a result of many people's struggles. For Locke and company, democracy or the right to decision making was to be the exclusive preserve and privilege of the propertied[9]. This conception stemmed out of his idea that the propertied had demonstrated that they were rational and capable of taking care of themselves and hence could be empowered. The unpropertied had also demonstrated a lesser rationality by not amassing wealth and also had proved that they were incapable of taking care of themselves. If they were not capable of taking care of themselves, how could they be entrusted with the task of taking care of society? So these people were left out of the process of empowerment. This then is the Liberal Democracy that is consistent with Liberal Philosophy. However, with the passage of time and with the change in perceptions about property after taking the accident of birth into consideration, it soon became obvious that the power of decision making could not be the exclusive prerogative of some. Hence movements for universal adult suffrage came into being all over Europe and in the United States of America leading to the slow and gradual empowerment of all. In India however, the situation was different. India had no democracy till 1947 when it became independent and immediately gave suffrage to all without exception.
Democracy that was drawn out of liberalism but was altered in Europe already had become even more altered in the case of India. India's exposure to principles of liberalism was through colonial rule and the democracy that Indians envisioned for themselves had very little do with the principles of liberal philosophy and the original democracy derived from it. This newer form of democracy ran successfully in the hands of original freedom fighters that also in a way constituted an elite of sorts. The acceptance of this leadership was in a way a continuation of an old Indian tradition of respecting the educated and also those who were seen as well wishers of the whole of Indian society (like the Universal Legislator proposed by Rousseau)[10]. Leadership crises of different varieties started in India with the gradual passing of the generation of educated elites and freedom fighters. With this a great disjunction happened between democracy and its substance. People took their freedom without taking the responsibility that came along with it and began identifying democracy only with procedures, hoping that the content would be taken care of by politicians. This suited the purposes of the upper castes (not to be confused with educated elites) who once again established their social hegemony by subverting the substance of democracy, which is participation in decision making through the process of deliberation. In this attempt to re-establish caste hegemonies, some of the intermediary castes were used for the building of lumpen power. Democracy in India therefore took a lumpen turn, something from which it is unable to free itself from. The apathy of the educated has only added to this situation with politics now becoming the domain of leaders and the lumpen powers that prop them up. In this situation, it is unsurprising that issues of politics are manufactured by politicians and their lumpen support structure. Even the consent behind these politics which is every once in a while demonstrated through agitations or public meetings is not a true indication of what people want. It is well known today that the same set of people attend various public meetings organized by different political parties.
This manufacturing of consent is different from the manufactured consent that Noam Chomsky talked about[11]. Chomsky's main worry is the intervention of lobbies of the corporates who can influence politics to fulfill their corporate agendas at the expense of people. In India the situation is more about caste hegemony and for now the capitalist intent has to play second fiddle to this. Lack of proper education and now the collapse of the education system have only added to this problem. One can safely say that in India now there is a new class of lumpen, the lumpen teacher. Armed with degrees that mean nothing and having curried favour with the powers that be to find themselves in the education system as teachers, these people have turned lumpen in order to protect themselves from teaching. Almost all teachers in most universities are unfit to teach even kindergarten students and carry with them biases of caste and religion and now region. Therefore the destiny of the country is in the hands of a lumpen nexus that involves students, teachers, goons and politicians. Politics are played out by these elements to suit their purposes. The rich have nothing to fear straight away and therefore can remain contented with their pursuit of fashion and Botox. It is the people at the bottom who have remained untouched by development even sixty three years after independence and it seems will continue to bear the brunt of these pragmatic politics that are dissociated from anything and everything meaningful. It is just a matter of time before the tolerance of these unempowered sections dissipates and India faces challenges afresh. Everything I have said about India and democracy here is also true of Andhra Pradesh. 
This then is the demonstration of the fact that there are many pitfalls of representative democracy and electoral politics.  The solution as I have been arguing consistently cannot bifurcations because the problem will persist even in the smaller entities and they will not be free of the problems that the bigger states have seen.  Caste grouping cannot be avoided in a Telangana state as well, just as regional groupings since Telangana is not a monolith.  The solution therefore should be that which overcomes the short comings of electoral politics and representative democracy and this solution is something which will be in addition to and not a complete rejection of electoral politics and representative democracy.  The solution can come in the form of deliberative democracy that I have talked about at the very beginning of this article.  So what is deliberation and deliberative democracy?
Deliberation is an approach to decision-making in which citizens consider relevant facts from multiple points of view, converse with one another to think critically about options before them and enlarge their perspectives, opinions, and understandings. "Deliberative democracy" was originally coined by Joseph M. Bessette, in "Deliberative Democracy: The Majority Principle in Republican Government," in 1980, and he subsequently elaborated and defended the notion in "The Mild Voice of Reason" (1994). Others contributing to the notion of deliberative democracy include Jurgen Habermas, David Held, Joshua Cohen, John Rawls, Amy Gutmann, John Dryzek, James Fishkin, Dennis Thompson, and Robert B. Talisse. Deliberative democracy strengthens citizen voices in governance by including people of all races, classes, ages and geographies in deliberations that directly affect public decisions. As a result, citizens influence--and can see the result of their influence on the policy and resource decisions that impact their daily lives and their future. This approach is now becoming common. At the beginning of the 21st Century, democracy is in the midst of a particularly major shift in its development. All kinds of leaders are realizing that the traditionally distant relationship between citizens and government is inadequate for solving public problems. They are recognizing that the usual formats for decision-making often waste public resources, create unproductive conflict, and fail to tap citizen potential. They are attempting many different civic experiments - some successful, some not - to help citizens and governments work together more democratically and more effectively.
A burgeoning field of practitioners and researchers has formed to encourage, examine, and support this shift. They include public engagement consultants, dialogue specialists, conflict resolution practitioners, and academics from a wide range of disciplines. Though they come from many different vantage points, they all advocate deliberative democracy as an approach to public policy-making and problem-solving. The leaders who are launching these civic experiments are extremely diverse and largely disconnected from one another: they include mayors and city managers, school administrators, neighborhood activists, state and federal officials, and community organizers. They are focused mainly on involving citizens in a particular issue or decision; they may not even think of their work as civic or democratic. And until recently, the civic researchers and practitioners were segregated by their professional backgrounds and their attachments to particular models for deliberation. Overall, the people who are pioneering deliberative democracy are isolated from one another geographically and professionally, making it difficult for them to learn from each other or feel like they are part of a larger change.
Deliberation projects, including both temporary organizing efforts and permanent citizen structures are proliferating rapidly in North America, Western Europe, and many other parts of the world. The largest projects are now remarkable in scope, involving tens of thousands of citizens. Some efforts are exploring the enormous capacity of the Internet to distribute information, sustain far-flung networks, and make all kinds of expertise accessible to ordinary people. And while almost all of the projects a decade ago focused on local issues, there are a growing number of examples which have connected citizen voices to regional, state, and federal policy decisions. Public deliberation can have many benefits within society. Among the most common claims are that public deliberation results in better policies, superior public education, increased public trust, and reduced conflict when policy moves to implementation. There is a growing inventory of methods to bring the public into decision-making processes at all levels around the world--from local government to multinational institutions like the World Bank. Working in groups as small as ten or twelve to larger groups of 3,000 or more, deliberative democracy simply requires that representative groups of ordinary citizens have access to balanced and accurate information, sufficient time to explore the intricacies of issues through discussion, and their conclusions are connected to the governing process.
So   it can be seen now that deliberative democracy, which is sometimes also called discursive democracy, is a form of democracy in which public deliberation is central to legitimate lawmaking. It adopts elements of both representative democracy and direct democracy and differs from traditional democratic theory in that deliberation, not voting, is the primary source of a law's legitimacy. Joshua Cohen, a student of John Rawls, most clearly outlined some conditions that he thinks constitute the root principles of the theory of deliberative democracy, in the article "Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy" in the book The Good Polity. He outlines five main features of deliberative democracy, which include:
1.         An ongoing independent association with expected continuation.
2.         The citizens in the democracy structure their institutions such that deliberation is the deciding factor in the creation of the institutions and the institutions allow deliberation to continue.
3.         A commitment to the respect of a pluralism of values and aims within the polity.
4.         The citizens consider deliberative procedure as the source of legitimacy, and prefer the causal history of legitimation for each law to be transparent and easily traceable to the deliberative process.
5.         Each member recognizes and respects other members' deliberative capacity.
            This can be construed as the idea that in the legislative process, we "owe" one another reasons for our proposals.
Cohen presents deliberative democracy as more than a theory of legitimacy, and forms a body of substantive rights around it based on achieving "ideal deliberation":
1.         It is free in two ways:
          A. The participants consider themselves bound solely by the results and preconditions of the deliberation. They are free from any authority of prior norms or requirements.
            B. The participants suppose that they can act on the decision made; the deliberative process is a sufficient reason to comply with the decision reached.
2.         Parties to deliberation are required to state reasons for their proposals, and proposals are accepted or rejected based on the reasons given, as the content of the very deliberation taking place.
3.         Participants are equal in two ways:
            A. Formal: anyone can put forth proposals, criticize, and support measures. There is no substantive hierarchy.
            B. Substantive: The participants are not limited or bound by certain distributions of power, resources, or pre-existing norms. "The participants…do not regard themselves as bound by the existing system of rights, except insofar as that system establishes the framework of free deliberation among equals."
4.         Deliberation aims at a rationally motivated consensus: it aims to find reasons acceptable to all who are committed to such a system of decision-making. When consensus or something near enough is not possible, majoritarian decision making is used.[12]
These are some of the rules that have been seen as being necessary for deliberative democracy to be of any consequence.  However, it should be remembered that these are not comprehensively the rules that decide the nature of deliberative democracy.  Since Cohen, other people have given their own rules and some have gone on to add to what he had to say.  Jurgen Habermas is the person of consequence here because he has been the one thinker who has successfully brought together the notion of the public sphere and communicative action for deliberative democracy to be more comprehensive than what it had otherwise been.  It is therefore necessary to have a look at Habermas and his work here.  Habermas called for a socioinstitutionally feasible concept of public opinion-formation “that is historically meaningful, that normatively meets the requirements of the social-welfare state, and that is theoretically clear and empirically identifiable.”[13] Such a concept “can be grounded only in the structural transformation of the public sphere itself and in the dimension of its development”. [14] His concluding sketch of such a concept already contains in outline the two-level model of democratic deliberation he later elaborates in his mature work on law and democracy, Between Facts and Norms .
Habermas's interest in the political subsequently led him to a series of philosophical studies and critical-social analyses that eventually appeared in English in his Toward a Rational Society (1970) and Theory and Practice (1973). Whereas the latter consists primarily of reflections on the history of philosophy, the former represents an attempt to apply his emerging theory of rationality to the critical analysis of contemporary society, in particular the student protest movement and its institutional target, the authoritarian and technocratic structures that held sway in higher education and politics.
Habermas's critical reflection takes a nuanced approach to both sides of the social unrest that characterized the late sixties. Although sympathetic with students' demand for more democratic participation and hopeful that their activism harbored a potential for positive social transformation, he also did not hesitate to criticize its militant aspects, which he labeled self-delusory and “pernicious”. In his critique of technocracy—governance by scientific experts and bureaucracy—he relied on a philosophical framework that anticipates categories in his later thought, minus the philosophy of language he would work out in the 1970s. Specifically, Habermas sharply distinguished between two modes of action, “work” and “interaction,” which correspond to enduring interests of the human species.[15] The former includes modes of action based on the rational choice of efficient means, that is, forms of instrumental and strategic action, whereas the latter refers to forms of “communicative action” in which actors coordinate their behaviors on the basis of “consensual norms”. Habermas's distinction in effect appropriates the classical Aristotelian contrast between techne and praxis for critical social theory. The result is a distinctively Habermasian critique of science and technology as ideology: by reducing practical questions about the good life to technical problems for experts, contemporary elites eliminate the need for public, democratic discussion of values, thereby depoliticizing the population. The legitimate human interest in technical control of nature thus functions as an ideology—a screen that masks the value-laden character of government decisionmaking in the service of the capitalist status quo.
Habermas defended this philosophical anthropology most fully in his Knowledge and Human Interests, the work that represents his first attempt to provide a systematic framework for critical social theory[16]. In it, Habermas develops a theory of “knowledge-constitutive interests” that are tied both to “the natural history of the human species” and to “the imperatives of the socio-cultural form of life,” but are not reducible to them. There are three knowledge-constitutive interests, each tied to a particular conception of science and social science. The first is the “technical interest,” the “anthropologically deep-seated interest” we have in the prediction and control of the natural environment. Positivism sees knowledge in these terms, and naturalistic accounts of human possibilities often regard human history only from this point of view. Second, there is the equally deep-seated “practical interest” in securing and expanding possibilities of mutual and self-understanding in the conduct of life. Finally, there is the “emancipatory interest” in overcoming dogmatism, compulsion, and domination.[17]
If each interest is constitutive of a form of knowledge, then we should expect to find for each a corresponding form of cultural-institutional realization, that is, organized modes of inquiry and knowledge-production. This seems to be plausible for the interests in control of nature and social understanding: the empirical-analytic sciences are oriented toward instrumental action and technical control under specified conditions, and the cultural-hermeneutic sciences presuppose and articulate modes of action-orienting inter-personal understanding that operate within socio-cultural forms of life and the grammar of ordinary language. In retrospect, Habermas's analysis of these two interests is limited by the concerns of the day. His distinction between the sciences that take nature as their object, and interpretive modes of inquiry that depend on communicative access to domains of human life, still has some plausibility. But his view of the natural sciences still had not fully absorbed the lessons of post-positivist science studies. Nor is it clear that prediction and control exhaust the interests that drive the natural sciences (e.g., the interest in the geologic past seems to involve more than technical control).
The status of the emancipatory interest, however, was problematic from the start. Habermas broadly identified it as the interest of reason as such, which underlies critical-reflective knowledge. However, Habermas soon realized he had conflated two forms of critical reflection: the critique that aims to unmask self-deception and ideology and the reflective articulation of the formal structures of knowledge. Moreover, the interest in emancipation does not clearly correspond to a specific science or form of institutionalized inquiry. Although Freudian psychology and Marxist social theory have such an interest, much if not most psychological and sociological inquiry does not have explicitly emancipatory aims, but rather is driven by interests in prediction and social understanding. Nor was it clear that psychoanalysis provided an apt model of liberatory reflection in any case, as critics pointed out how the asymmetries between patient and analyst could not represent the proper intersubjective form for emancipation. These deficits posed a challenge for Habermas that would guide a decades-long search for the normative and empirical basis of critique. Whatever the best path to the epistemic and normative basis for critique might be, it would have to pass a democratic test: that “in Enlightenment there are only participants”[18].
I am fully aware that there are many difficulties even in the path of deliberative democracy and that it is not an easy fix for a problem that is as compounded as it is specifically in the case of politics of Andhra Pradesh and generally in the case of India.  In order to give deliberative democracy a chance one of the things that is needed is a good social science education, which in India, is available only in select pockets such as Delhi and to a certain extent Kolkata.  In India there were a few fundamental mistakes committed in providing education to the people of the country post-Independence.  On the one hand the first Prime Minister of the country, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru talked about the necessity for a temperament that was based in an understanding of science[19], but permitted the setting up of schools which were to impart education in the vernacular.  What was overlooked (those who are more sympathetic to Nehru’s problems are more charitable in describing the scenario as ‘inevitable’ due to the lack of an English educated workforce of teachers) was that there was no translation of the requirements of modern society in knowledge terms in the vernacular languages.  Regional media therefore failed in imparting the kind of education that was necessary for the continuance of the spirit of modernity and scientific inquiry.  This has led to different gaps in Indian society, vis-a- vis the educated in English and the educated in regional languages.
Regional media for education were introduced in India in tearing hurry and that has led to the destruction of the education system. There can be no argument over the fact that socially, politically and medically relevant knowledge has to treat the world as its constituency. When the world is the constituency for knowledge, the language used for understanding this should have the flexibility and openness to describe and analyze situations and diseases etc. Now local languages are precisely that. Since every language evolves from within a culture its structures and vocabulary pertain to that culture. English too was a local language once. But with colonialism and with the spread of English to most parts of the world and because it was the language of the powerful, English became the language which was better equipped than most to deal with new and emerging forms of knowledge. These developments meant that for a local Indian language to be enriched it needed translations from English. However, the problem with that is that it requires persons who have a good grasp and control over both the languages, English and the other language into which things are being translated. It also means that the translator will have to be knowledgeable of technical terms and the technicalities of the languages concerned. A tall order. For a nation in a hurry to establish itself as the equal of all others such an exercise proved to be time consuming. Instead, of then saying that English would be the language of instruction till such time that bodies of knowledge were adequately translated into Indian languages, to satisfy the jingoistic concerns of some, regional media of instruction were introduced taking education to where it is today. The consequence was inequality among educated people and all those who have been educated in the regional media and are hopeless about their future are a big constituency of lumpen elements whose services can be hired by politicians for whatever purposes they have in their minds.  Otherwise how does one explain educational institutions becoming breeding grounds for all activities political, revolutionary or otherwise?
One of the biggest casualties of the regional medium and vernacular education, in India, has been the social sciences. In the Western world one saw the social sciences incepting in an atmosphere that was conducive to free thinking[20]. Free thinking was the desire of the individual to define and organize oneself on rational grounds in a way which would facilitate that individual's realization of the true potential of the self. Into this scenario were born the social sciences which took advantage of the liberality of a society that allowed the individual to do what I have talked about in the preceding sentences. The social sciences then were an extension of the liberal arts and at best a slightly more pompous version of the arts. All things considered pretensions apart the subject matter of the social sciences and the liberal arts is the same. Therefore that which is considered to be "social scientific" knowledge is one that still deals with the question of the individual and his/her place in society. Karl Marx, in his attempt to ground the study of human society in what he called "objective material conditions"[21] created an epistemological break by seeking to eliminate the one variable for whose sake the study was being carried out - the human being. But by and large the agenda that even the Marxists and Marx had was very much consistent with that of the liberal arts.
The state of social science education in India is poor. There are many reasons for this but the most significant of them is the fact that the social sciences have got lost in an ocean of stupidity. After the attaining of independence the spirit was such that people took pride in their own culture and justifiably so. But when this pride in one's own culture is stretched to illogical levels, it only becomes jingoism that is completely devoid of any meaningful content. And that is what happened with the education system in India and especially so the social science education. One may ask why the social sciences especially? If that is your question you will find the answer to that in the following sentences.  Very often when certain words find circulation in public speech they begin to lose their true import and meaning. After a while they remain merely words with no specific content or meaning and therefore they become vacuous. Nevertheless they continue to circulate in the public sphere with people talking at each other than to each other. Education, the term or the word, has sadly met the same fate. People today talk about education without having the faintest idea about what is involved in it. For most education is a degree that one receives, to some it is a sacred cow and if you are in Andhra Pradesh it is a business opportunity. None of these correspond to what education is or should be. Armed with this inability to properly define education we have successfully created stereotypes about what it is and therefore we think that one who has 95% marks is educated or one who has a good job is educated and so forth. The furtherance of these stereotypes has created a mess that is now very difficult to clean up. In all this the very elementary purpose of education - that of enlightenment - has been forgotten.
In this process the social sciences have suffered more and disciplines such as history have been reduced to the documenting of fictitious and puerile things. They have also become weapons in the hands of bigots. So why did this happen? The answer is simple. The social sciences when they were born in the West had a form that was consistent with the content. It has remained more or less like that till date. However, in India it is a different story. We have taken the form and have tried to stuff it with whatever we thought was the appropriate content. This parody of sorts happened because of the desire to study in one's own tongue and when there is no body of knowledge to support that ambition or aspiration, things are bound to go wrong. The true pursuit of social science entails either a translation of all Western content into whichever language that one wished to study in or the creation of an alternative body of knowledge. In India's case neither has happened and as a result people study the same book in their mother tongue, from class eleven to Ph. D. This means that higher qualifications are awarded for studying the same book.
Social scientific education is a necessity in any society, for it is the tool that one can use to have an audit of the functions of society, politics and governance. Not only can it audit, it can also provide with good alternatives to bad policies and programmes. It is also a necessity for a good and enlightened democracy[22]. In the case of India, the necessity for proper social sciences is even more heightened for obvious reasons. A society that has become fissiparous and threatens to fall apart needs good social sciences. And that is missing.  Are the other sciences any better? The answer will be yes, but only a little. The other sciences are armed with mathematics and numbers which are considered to be lingua pura and therefore they are not bogged down so much by the problems of language. It is therefore completely a categorical imperative[23] in order create a proper social scientific knowledge.
The first series of deliberations must be among academicians on a pan India basis.  Even though I have been talking mainly about the Telangana agitation it is well known that there are others lurking in the background.  These are the separate Gorkhaland agitation, the separate Vidarbha agitation, the separate Ladakh agitation not to mention the four new states that Miss Mayawati seeks to create out of Uttar Pradesh.  It is well known that the setting up of new states with new capital cities is an exercise that will bring out huge expenditure, something that can be used for a better implementation of the agenda of development.  The beginning should be made with education right from the primary level and should essentially inculcate a spirit among students which will combine the scientific with the social scientific.  Such an education system will also prepare citizens of the country to be more involved in their own society and politics and contribute actively to the deliberative process and thereby make democracy more meaningful.   Right now the solutions proposed such as bifurcation of existing states is only going to encourage parochialism and intolerance which can be harmful for the nation.
Deliberative democracy needs a vibrant public sphere and a communication process that Habermas calls communicative action. In communicative action, or what Habermas later came to call “strong communicative action” in “Some Further Clarifications of the Concept of Communicative Rationality”, speakers coordinate their action and pursuit of individual (or joint) goals on the basis of a shared understanding that the goals are inherently reasonable or merit-worthy. Whereas strategic action succeeds insofar as the actors achieve their individual goals, communicative action succeeds insofar as the actors freely agree that their goal (or goals) is reasonable, that it merits cooperative behavior. Communicative action is thus an inherently consensual form of social coordination in which actors “mobilize the potential for rationality” given with ordinary language and its telos of rationally motivated agreement.[24]
To support his conception of communication action, Habermas must specify the mechanism that makes rationally motivated agreement possible. Toward that end, he argues for a particular account of utterance meaning as based on “acceptability conditions,” by analogy to the truth-conditional account of the meaning of sentences. But rather than linking meaning with representational semantics, Habermas takes a pragmatic approach, analyzing the conditions for the illocutionary success of the speech act. According to the core principle of his pragmatic theory of meaning, “we understand a speech act when we know the kinds of reasons that a speaker could provide in order to convince a hearer that he is entitled in the given circumstances to claim validity for his utterance—in short, when we know what makes it acceptable”. With this principle, Habermas ties the meaning of speech acts to the practice of reason giving: speech acts inherently involve claims that are in need of reasons—claims that are open to both criticism and justification. In our everyday speech (and in much of our action), speakers tacitly commit themselves to explaining and justifying themselves, if necessary. To understand what one is doing in making a speech act, therefore, one must have some sense of the appropriate response that would justify one's speech act, were one challenged to do so. A speech act succeeds in reaching understanding when the hearer takes up “an affirmative position” toward the claim made by the speaker.  In doing so, the hearer presumes that the claims in the speech act could be supported by good reasons. When the offer made by the speaker fails to receive uptake, speaker and hearer may shift reflexive levels, from ordinary speech to “discourse”—processes of argumentation and dialogue in which the claims implicit in the speech act are tested for their rational justifiability as true, correct or authentic. Thus the rationality of communicative action is tied to the rationality of discourse[25].
The rationality of communicative action can bring about a significant change in the rationality of discourse.  It can create a new discourse or a new discursive process that brings people on to a platform of rational deliberation. This is what a deliberative democracy and a public sphere can do and should do.  Now if we were to take the case of India, is there any indication whatsoever, of a situation which is anywhere near what deliberative democracy should be?  On the contrary what we see in India are the ills of a representative democracy that has somehow lost its way.  In India, we know the various machinations and manipulations of voters that bring leaders into power as elected representatives.  It could be anything from distribution of money, distribution of liquor to plain intimidation that can bring a person into power.  Over and above that if one sees the performance of the elected representatives it is very clear that what we have today is a mockery of democracy rather than democracy.  Otherwise how will one explain the fact that pan Andhra Pradesh political parties like the Congress and the Telugu Desam have people in their ranks (Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly) clamouring for both separate Telangana and United Andhra Pradesh at the same time?  What do these parties stand for?  Are they mere aggregation of individuals?  These undoubtedly disturbing symptoms of a politics that exists independently of the desires of the constituents that are supposed to be represented it.  So where does the solution come from and what does it bring with it?
I have mentioned in one of the preceding passages the internet.  The internet has been seen without doubt as the most democratic of all media that are available to today.  One of the richest means of sharing, the internet has brought together different individuals from different countries and different social positions through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, MySpace and the idea of the blog.  The World Wide Web is brilliant example of not just mass communication but of mass collaboration.  In fact, at one level is the mass collaboration (the technical level) which is leading to the process of mass communication (user level).  “Wikinomics” is a process of mass collaborations that is cutting down the power of the corporations in every individual’s everyday life.  In an earlier passage I had cited Noam Chomsky’s distrust of the big corporations since they had the tendency to put their own agendas over those of the common people.  But with wikinomics and mass collaboration that process will perhaps begin receding.
“Throughout history corporations have organized themselves according to strict hierarchical lines of authority.  Everyone was subordinate to someone else- employees versus managers, marketers versus customers, producers versus supply chain subcontractors, companies versus the community.  There was always someone or some company in charge, controlling things, at the “top” of the food chain.  While hierarchies are not vanishing, profound changes in the nature of technology, demographics, and the global economy are giving rise to powerful new models of production based on community, collaborations, and self-organization rather than on hierarchy and control”.[26] While the corporations and the hierarchies have not vanished totally there has been a reliance on the “open source” which is an outcome of shared knowledge, by individuals and this has meant that the power of the corporation has significantly been diluted.  Linux has been the company that has set this process rolling.  This has provided open source platforms on the internet in the form of php and asp technologies that are freely available to all, and this has resulted in the explosion of media on the internet.
“Millions of media buffs now use blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and personal broadcasting to add their voices to a vociferous stream of dialogue and debate called the “blogosphere”.  Employees drive performance by collaborating with peers across organizational boundaries, creating what we call a “wiki workplace”.  Customers become “prosumers”[27]by cocreating goods and services rather than simply consuming the end product.  So-called supply chains work more effectively when the risk, reward, and capability to complete major projects – including massively complex products like cars, motorcycles, and airplanes – are distributed across planetary networks of partners who work as peers”.[28] When the world is transforming rapidly like this it is somewhat ironical in India there are still movements of separatism which are primarily driven by parochialism.  The way out of that parochialism can be through education about and the usage of these newer media and technologies which ultimately empower all individuals without discrimination.  The blogosphere has the potential to convert the world into a true “globosphere” where relationships are not based in power but in equality and sharing.
Networking of people on the internet is a phenomenon which has changed people’s outlook towards the world.  One company more than any other has facilitated this transformation more than any other.  Google is the company that made internet searches a phenomenon which would bring to people’s homes through computers knowledge of most of the things that they can think about.  “Not since Gutenberg invented the modern printing press more than 500 years ago, making books and scientific tomes affordable and widely available to the masses, has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.  With its colorful, childlike logo set against a background of pure white, Google’s magical ability to produce speedy, relevant responses to queries hundreds of millions of times daily has changed the way people find information and stay abreast of the news”.[29]Today we know that information/knowledge is power; a power that can effectively neutralize the power that is used for subordination of some and super-ordination of others.  “Woven into the fabric of life, Google has seemingly overnight become indispensible. Millions of people use it daily in more than 100 languages and have come to regard Google and the Internet as one”.[30]  The exponential growth of various electronic media and use of computational tools and applications on cell phones has increased the need for Google.  Men, women, children have today come to rely on Google so much that they cannot imagine a life without it. 
“Google’s transcendent and seemingly human qualities give it special appeal to an amazingly wide range of computer users, from experts to novices, who trust the brand that become an extension of their brains.  That appeal is universal, enabling it to overcome differences in culture, language, and geography en route to becoming a global favorite.  For a young firm that has not spent money or promote its brand name, these are unparalleled achievements.  Google’s growth has occurred entirely by word of mouth, as satisfied users recommend it to their friends, and others learn about it through media and online…. In an uncertain world, Google reliably provides free information for everyone who seeks it”.[31]Apart from this Google also provided the Blogger platform to anyone free of cost.  This platform is widely used by many to express themselves about all matters under the sun, including the political.[32]Google also has a social networking site which is “Orkut”.  Till recently Orkut was the number one social networking site in India with many thousands of communities based in motorcycling to ancient forms of knowledge.  Recently however, India has also become a part of the worldwide phenomenon in social networking called Facebook.  Prior to Facebook becoming ubiquitous MySpace was yet another site that was used for the communication of ideas, mainly by musicians.  In the West, music has been controlled by the industry in the form of record labels and managers of those labels.  Most musicians have found it difficult to work in such situations and therefore they created a movement which was simply called “Indie” which stood for independent.  Musicians who wanted to do what they thought was best through music found an ally in MySpace which allowed them to put out their music on the site free of cost.  This facilitated the furtherance of the Indie movement significantly.  But when it comes to social networking and the politics of openness it is Facebook which stands above everything else.
In some ways, the election of Barack Obama as the President of the USA was facilitated by Facebook.  Many Americans fed up with the conservatism of the George W Bush administration, rising inflation and unemployment, used Facebook to vent out their views and frustrations.  The support for Barack Obama also came as part of this and campaign managers on both sides (Democratic Party and Republican Party) regularly used Facebook to understand the mood of young America.  But it was in the year 2008 CE that one saw the unleashing of what is today candidly called the Facebook effect.  Oscar Morales who was a civil engineer from Colombia was fed up of the politics of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC as they called themselves.  Their politics included kidnap and torture and it was the plight of a four year old boy, Emmanuel Rojas that drew Oscar Morales to form a group against FARC on Facebook. “He wrote a short description of the group’s simple purpose – to stand up against FARC.  Morales designed a logo in the form of a vertical version of the Colombian flag.  He overlaid it with four simple pleas in capitals running down the page, each one slightly larger than the last – NO MORE KIDNAPPINGS, NO MORE LIES, NO MORE KILLINGS, NO MORE FARC.”[33]The remarkable achievement of this was that about 350,000 Colombians signed in on this Facebook page, most of them in their real names.  This size of support even garnered the support of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and all this culminated in the substantial weakening of FARC.[34]
Facebook fuelled activism and protest also went to Iran along with the involvement of the micro blogging site Twitter during the elections of 2009.  “For the first time, the moderates, who were always stranded between authoritarian regimes that had all the powers of the State and Islamists who had all the powers of the mosque, now have their own place to come together and project power: the network”.[35]But that is not all.  “It was on Facebook that defeated Iranian Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi told his followers when he thought it was time for them to go into the streets.  And when a young woman was tragically killed during one of those protests, it was on Facebook that video of her murder emerged, to be shared worldwide as a symbol of Iranian government repression”.[36]
Now Facebook has played a part in the protests against totalitarian regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain.  Following is the news excerpt from the website of the BBC.
“In Wael Ghonim, Egypt's anti-Mubarak street movement finally found a hero to rally around after a period of leaderless protest.The Egyptian-born Google marketing executive first played a role in organising the opposition through Facebook, only to disappear into police custody for 12 days. Emerging again, he denied he had done anything heroic at all, instead paying tribute to the young activists who had been on the streets since 25 January. But his return to the public eye - marked by an emotional TV interview on 7 February which gripped Egyptian viewers - re-energised the movement just as it seemed to be losing steam. The fact that hundreds of thousands of protesters returned to the streets of Cairo the day after he spoke testifies to his appeal.He was hailed on Facebook and Twitter as a hero, Egyptian blogger Issandr el-Amrani noted. "You know how this has been a leaderless movement and they're saying they want to designate him as a leader of the youth component in this movement," Mr Amrani told the BBC World Service”.[37]
Facebook is definitely bringing the world together. “It has become an overarching common cultural experience for people worldwide, especially young people….It changes how people communicate and interact, how governments reach out to citizens.  It is altering the character of political activism, and in some countries it is starting to affect the process of democracy itself”.[38]It should be noted that it is not just Facebook on the internet or the World Wide Web.  The possibilities of communicating among each other and finding ways of resolving questions of politics is now very much a reality that is supported by Facebook, Orkut and Twitter.  Therefore, one can see a new “public sphere” emerging in cyber space, a public sphere that is real and can make the jump from cyber space into the households of anyone who has an internet connection.  As has been seen in the case of Colombia and Egypt even government authorities cannot ignore the deliberations that take place in the cyber space and the new public sphere.  Habermas’ communicative action acquires a whole new dimension in this context which makes deliberative democracy truly deliberate and goes beyond the four notions enunciated by Joshua Cohen.  In India too politics must move from the manipulations carried out on citizens that lead them into the ways of parochial movements which will ultimately benefit only the power mongers and the power brokers, while the common people who have supported those movements go back home empty handed.  It is in my view the task of the educated and teachers of all levels to lead students and other citizens on the road of deliberative politics and democracy.  One cannot ignore the uneducated and the innocent thinking of them as the heathen, for it is they who will fall prey to the machinations and manipulations of politicians and form destructive armies that will set the nation back.  Since politics is in the air and everywhere it cannot and should not be ignored.  The rich and the powerful should share their primary social goods with the traditionally disempowered, as has been suggested by John Rawls.[39]Sharing is the way forward for breaking the shackles of traditional power and moving towards a more egalitarian and humane society that is not rooted in parochialism but boldly seeks to embrace the world.[40]

[1] I would like to point out that my naming the castes is a purely academic exercise and not aimed at the vilification of any one.

[2] The role of the Brahmins in segregation of societies is not being under minded.  In fact, most of the time, the social divisions within the various social groups of India have their origins in the arguments of inferiority and superiority.  What is being said in this particular point here is that once caste has become a cultural variable the role of the Brahmin has become only peripheral.

[3] Various magazines and newspapers have been carrying these stories for quite some time now.  India Today while rating educational institutions nationally has said that social science education in the south is discouragingly poor.

[4]  See Easton, David, A Framework for Political Analysis. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965 and Easton, David, A Systems Analysis of Political Life. New York: Wiley. 1965

[5]  See Morrison, Ken, “Marx, Durkheim and Weber”, London, England, Sage, 2006

[6] ibid

[7] See Chappel, Vere, “Locke”, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1994

[8] ibid

[9] See Locke, John, “Two Treatises of Government”, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1988

[10] See Strong, Tracy B., “Jean Jacques Rousseau-The Politics of the Ordinary”, London, England, Sage, 1994

[11] See Rai, Milan, “Chomsky’s Politics”, London, England, Verso, 1995

[12] Cohen, Joshua Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy, in The Good Polity: Normative Analysis of the State, Alan Hamlin and Phillip Petit, editors, New York: Blackwell, 1989.

[13] Bohman, James Public Deliberation: Pluralism, Complexity, and Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996 p 96

[14] ibid

[15]  See Bohman, James  Theories, practices, and pluralism: A pragmatic interpretation of critical social science, 1999.

[16] See Buchanan, Allen. Justice, Legitimacy, and Self-Determination. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004

[17] ibid

[18] White, Stephen K. The Recent Work of Jürgen Habermas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1989.

[19] See Nehru, Jawaharlal, “Discovery of the World”, New Delhi, India, Surjit Publications, 1979

[20] See Wood, Gordon S., “Democracy and the American Revolution”, Oxford, England, OUP.

[21] See, Marx, Karl, “The Capital”, Moscow, USSR, Progress Publishers, 1972

[22] Lloyd, G.E.R., Democracy, Philosophy and Science in Ancient Greece, in Dunn, John edited “Democracy – The Unfinished Journey, Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, p. 47

[23] See, Kant, Immanuel,  Metaphysical Foundation of Morals, New York, USA, Modern Library Press, p. 46

[24] ibid

[25] ibid

[26] Tapscott, Don, and Williams, Anthony D., “Wikinomics”, London, England, Atlantic Books, 2007, p.1

[27] This term was first used in Alvin Toffler’s book the Third Wave to show that the producer and the consumer come together as one individual.

[28] Tapscott, Don, and Williams, Anthony D., “Wikinomics”, London, England, Atlantic Books, 2007, p.1

[29] Vise, David A., London, England, MacMillan, 2005, p.1

[30] ibid

[31] Ibid pp.1&2

[32] Blogger has been used by the author of this piece in order express opinions on various aspects of politics, such as the separate Telangana agitation, leadership problems in India and problems with the education system. has found followers in countries such as India, the USA, UK, France, Germany, Poland, Korea, Malaysia, China and Thailand among many other countries.  Some of them have even taken part in discussions about various aspects of politics in India and their countries through the extensive use of the comments section.

[33] Kirkpatrick, David, “The Facebook Effect”, London, England, Virgin Books, p. 2

[34] Ibid p. 5

[35] Thomas Friedman as quoted in ibid. p. 7

[36] Ibid.p.7


[38] Kirkpatrick, David, “The Facebook Effect”, London, England, Virgin Books, p.15

[39] See Rawls, John, “A Theory of Justice”, Harvard, USA, Harvard University Press.

[40] It is not the intention of the author to say that everything about new media or the world spawned by them is hunky-dory.  There are bound to be problems, but concentrating on the problems in the very beginning will only discourage people from embracing something new and giving it a chance.  Without doubt problems will arise, but if people keep the faith in deliberative democracy and respect the other as they respect themselves, there is no reason why problems cannot be solved along the way.The very title of this paper, I am aware will provoke anger and righteous indignation among the readers of this article.  I am sure people will be horrified at the thought that there is an inadequacy or a limitation in electoral democracy and I will not be surprised if some come to the conclusion that this is an attempt at subverting the idea of democracy and the democratic process in this country.  Let me reassure the reader that my intent does not have any such blackness; on the contrary it is to strengthen democratic institutions through processes that cast a net wider than the present democracy which is primarily rooted in electoral politics.