04 Feb 2024  |   06:00am IST

The biggest faith is that of people. And respecting People’s faith is democracy’s religion

The biggest faith is  that of people. And respecting People’s faith is democracy’s religion

Religion and faith are often correlated and juxtaposed.  But they aren’t necessarily companions, or siblings or partners. Religion, practised either at a grand temple, a pristine church, a venerated mosque or any other religiously revered place, is or should be extremely personal- shared with oneself, and one’s immediate family and loved ones, allowing individuals the freedom, to practice, propagate and practice their religion freely.

Religion was never meant to be a political tool or an embodiment of governance.

Faith however is the foundation stone for good politics and governance. And faith, above all else, is wrapped in a ribbon of trust that is tied by the people who vote. Faith also is the only ingredient that should be in the recipe of governance. When promises are made, people have faith that they will be fulfilled.

And this faith is different from the very important personal religion-based faith people have. Temples, churches, and mosques give you solace, hope and peace but they cannot ensure good governance, honest politics, corruption-free delivery of services, and respect for the common man’s interests. It is only faith in democracy that makes people believe that these will happen.

But has this faith been honoured? And isn’t the answer to that question more important to the common man than anything else that the nation seems to be completely focused on, with the architects of this focus keeping an eye only on the 2024 elections than anything else?

It is faith which makes people believe that the amount for their welfare schemes will be credited to their accounts on time.

It is faith which makes them believe that when their villages are about to be a part of mining leases, and their fields, forests and temples will be under a private lease, their views and rights will be respected, and not completely overruled.

It is faith which makes them believe that when they vote for their local representatives on panchayats and other local bodies, they will work for the interests of the village and towns and not for the self-interest of those who are elected, as they build illegal structures on the names of the family members.

At the same time, people have faith that panchayat bodies will remain people’s bodies and not become tenants of the local MLA, with all powers concentrated in the MLA, who in turn, as people often allege, keeps his and his personal and political ambitions first.

It is faith that makes them believe that when they vote for a candidate of one party, the same person will not switch sides and join a party that they voted against, effectively misusing their faith and their votes and nullifying their choices.

But when you hear these voices as we heard during a recent discussion on the increasing conflicts between the People of Goa and the system on Herald TV and digital, they chose in faith, the answer to whether this faith that people have is respected and honoured by the elected system becomes clear.

Kalanand Mani of the Peaceful Society a grassroots worker in the panchayats said “Since the last 40-45 years, we have been raising the issue of Goa’s survival, but not a single government authority has ever convened any meeting to know why people are agitating.”

The noted environmentalist Ramesh Gawas speaking on the environmental clearances given to restart mining in Goa said, “The latest EC is a fraud, with a lot of concealed information. The Environmental Appraisal Committee (on whose report ECs are given)   is always committing these frauds. They are not bothered whether the facts are being produced.”

J Santano Rodrigues, Convenor, Goa Panchayati Raj Institutions Union said, “All rights of panchayats have been withdrawn by the government. We are not even authorised to give licences for projects in the villages.”


Shouldn’t governance be about fixing these feelings and issues? Shouldn’t it be about sympathy and empathy for the common man? Shouldn’t it be about giving a just, equal and honest system to the common man, who is the real custodian of the land and the soil?

Kalanand Mani’s further comments during the discussion on Herald TV’s Point Counterpoint programme were sad and disturbing. He said “I travel all over the country ( for his grassroots work in the villages). In no other State have I seen this kind of deterioration ( in the environment, ecosystem, participative governance and honouring the people, as in Goa.”

Can we restore the faith of the people? That should be the only priority of Governance

Any party which has mastered the art of managing elections will win elections. But whether that mandate is a reflection of the faith of the people in the system that keeps them first, above political and business (read deals) is the main point.

After all, respecting People’s faith is democracy’s religion


Iddhar Udhar