Democracy, Politics and Discipline
- Khin Maung Oo
- The above-said three words are commonly found in our everyday expressions wherever we go today. The word, “Democracy” had reached the mouths of almost all individuals for nearly three decades. Those belonging to the age-group 60 years and above have experienced several political systems, especially suffering the suppression of military dictatorships. As a result, they had to live in fear, without having a hint of freedom, not to mention expressing words such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and democracy. The then governments exercised various kinds of ways and means to retain their political power—such as tortures, imposition of news blackout and creation of the country as an isolated nation so that they can hang on to power forever. The worst thing was that many people were subject to moral bankruptcy. “We get the government we deserve,” as the saying goes and we had to live for years under the said fear. The country plunged into the bottom of poverty. For this, we need not argue who was responsible.
With increasingly developed technology and the emergence of able persons who were endowed with advanced political vision and valor, we had managed to change into the political system we had hoped for years. And we have had the government that won the support of the people unprecedentedly. Though being in these circumstances, it cannot be said that we now have a perfect government. “A deva cannot fulfill the needs of mortals,” as a Myanmar saying goes. The incumbent government will not be able to deal with problems piled up for nearly half a century in a short period of time. We have a deep trust in the “cetana” and good will of the present Union Government. We ourselves have elected the current leaders. So we are always responsible for our representatives not to go astray. We can point out and criticize our leaders from a constructive point of view, but we must be careful ourselves so as not to fall for the tricks and traps of evil-minded destructive elements. These days there are many who clap and boo for a meager amount of money in our surroundings. The other day, Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Nanda Malabivumsa who seldom speaks anything apart from sermons addressed a noteworthy word, “These days some people think that it is politics to act against a government. In fact politics means any effort one makes in the interest of the people and the country.”
The government, or rather we who have elected this government into power have many things to implement and amend ahead of us. Here we need to distinguish between politics and discipline through the excerpt from Bogyoke Aung San’s speech addressed at the All Workers’ Union and dinner party in Natmauk, on 25th March 1947—“You are required to distinguish politics from discipline. Nothing will work without discipline. If someone wants to violate a code of discipline, he must be well convinced of what kind of punishment he deservedly will get as a consequence. Try your best to have an order changed, by keeping discipline. Abide by disciplines before having it changed. This is differentiation between politics and discipline.” Bogyoke’s speech will serve as a guideline for us to follow forever. We are required to support and help our elected government to be able to give a better future for our generation and future generations.