Vijayendra Mohanty is a writer and journalist based out of New Delhi and works as Features Editor at NiTi Central. His interests include storytelling, cultural discourses, religion, and mythology.
Here’s an interesting way of looking at the root of some of the problems facing our country right now. It’s a software metaphor. Bear with me.
Open source software is based on the philosophy of access — allowing people to get to the resources that they need to build things that are useful to them and their way of life. So anyone who is capable of doing so, can make a life for himself or herself without having to rely upon expensive software made by mighty big corporations. Proprietary software is essentially closed — its makers sell it to you and subject you to rules of their own making. They make it seem as if you owe them thanks and as if they are doing you a favour by allowing you use of their system.
Now apply this same dichotomy to the political spectrum as it exists in India. At the risk of being overly simplistic, I would say that the way the Congress-led UPA behaves is much the same as a proprietary software company. It expects you to be thankful to the Government for allowing you access to resources and it does everything in a very top-down way. Decisions that impact the entire nation are taken at a single point of influence (I don’t need to spell it out, do I?).
What might an ‘open-source’ alternative to the Congress way look like?
For one thing, it will have to be federal in nature. It would have to be a system that encourages access (as opposed to paying lip service to access) instead of limiting it. This system will open up our nation’s resource base to us and help us make full use of these resources. This system, instead of forcing itself upon us, will become stronger through participation and make the strength of the people its own. As more and more citizens willfully make use of this system, it will expand and enhance itself to better aid their various needs.
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