Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Majority May Not Always Be Right - Thomas Kamei, Head of Department of Economics & Commerce



Leaders are elected based on majority votes. Board room decisions are taken depending on the majority. Most of the time, our choices and decisions are shaped by the view of the dominant, because it reassures us that we are doing the right thing. However, this may not always be true. Nagaland is at a crucial stage right now with the framework agreement being discussed and negotiated upon. Opinions are being shared and open discussions are taking place. Recently, there was a huge debate over the Rani Gaidinliu issue too, which only emphasizes the importance of being able to discern between what is right and wrong, without letting our egos or the majority stand in the way of rational thought. 

The Majority May Not Always Be Right

The public discourse currently on many issues like budget deficit, ruling government, Rani Gaidinliu and the Frame work of Peace-accord signed between the GOI and NSCN-IM is lively and one has the chance to read into the minds of many people who want to contribute their views in the interest of the public. It made me think. What is right and what is wrong? Is torture ever justified? Would you steal a drug that your child needs to survive? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? How much is one human life worth? One of the pressing questions in my mind is whether the opinions of the majority are always correct. This write up is not about what is right or wrong about the issues mentioned above, but on what and how do we  believe on what might be right. 

The present trend seems so. The political system we are in is biased towards the majority. A person who is elected is one whom the majority favors. Whether the elected candidate is the most capable or not amongst the lot is a different question. In my opinion, it is not always the most capable who is elected. It is also possible that someone who is the most corrupted and the worst gets elected. Through this, I want to bring home the point that what the majority does or says is not always right. But the system in which we are in is such that, what the majority says must be at least politically correct. And it is always rightly viewed from the perspective of the majority, the powerful and the strong. This puts us in another situation. Truth and rights of the minority are not always politically right. So much is talked about issues which impact us remotely. In doing so, we talk the way we feel is right, and we talk in the way we are conveniently with the majority. Many a times the search for the truth is willingly giving up in our attempt to be with the majority. We tend to go along with the majority and believe in our own community, our tribes, our clan, our villages and our society not knowing what is right. We continue to stand along with the authority because of our fear of being out of their favor. Are we doing the right thing? Are we afraid of the conflict of interest for what is right? It is understood that things are right for us as long as it goes along with our perspective. But it is not right if we are tied up only with our own perspective without bothering about other’s point of view. Many of the contributors in the media seem to be the latter type, pushing down their opinion into other’s throat. Government, authorities and heads take decisions based on what the majority wants. It is natural when decisions favor the majority. However, is it not wrong when decision which favors the majority is made at the expense of the minority and at the cost of truth? Somewhere, in our quest to be in power, in our efforts to be in favor we oversee what is genuinely needed. We trample the rights of the minority. We forget that fishes survive by swimming against the current. We forget that truth will always prevail in the long run. Truth will prevail against all odds. Truth will triumph.
Many who claim to be the champion of the truth conveniently sideline the truth and say what the majority wants to hear. Many of us proclaim the wrong as right because it suits us. Truth is conveniently hidden under the voices of the majority. What good can it bring to the society? Momentary victory of the majority can be an achievement. In the long run, it corrupts the moral of the society. Imagine a society where there is no truth and every one resorts to wrongs for survival, for it is more difficult to stick with what is right all the time. Majority of the people in the society, I assume does that. The deterioration of the code of life and the increase in crime in the society are the by-products of such practice.  It begins within the family. How many parents ask their children to answer the phone instructing them to say ‘dad/mom is not at home?’ A society built on a system of lies will only deteriorate. Surprisingly, majority of us don’t take this seriously. This brings us to what I have started with - What the majority say is not always right.

Every right thinking citizen must wake up from this trend of siding with the majority for personal benefits and convenience which is resulting into more chaos and disharmony at present and also spreading the seeds for the near future. Everyone must learn to come out of the dreaded “ISM” (groupism, tribalism and so on), which is breeding not only disintegration but creating social unrest. Why not begin sowing the seeds of biasless judgment today to reap the good harvest tomorrow? And let us remember that “fishes survive by swimming against the current”.

*This write up is a personal opinion of the writer and in no way reflects the view of the community he belongs.  

“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@tetsocollege.org”.

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