“Democracy and development are multi-dimensional realities and possibilities. At present, both the concepts are imprisoned within the logic of money and power”, said Prof. (Dr.) Ananta Kumar Giri, Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai at KIIT Law School (KLS) lecture series on 11th May 2022. The special lecture, titled “Transforming Democracy and Development – Ethics, Aesthetics and Responsibility”, was organized by the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, KLS in blended mode.
Explaining the various facets of democracy, Prof. Giri termed democracy as the absolute, unlimited form of government, because in it the supreme power is fully constituted by the power of the multitude. Spinoza’s democracy is to be animated by a constituent power, a dynamic form of popular authority. In effect, democracy is a return to a plane of ethics: Power (potential) does not exist in Spinoza’s democracy except to the extent that it is a constituent power completely and freely constituted by the power of the multitude, he stated.
According to Buddhist philosophy, inner strength must be cultivated first, followed by compassion and loving kindness towards others, he said, adding that the Dharma emphasizes personal development that can heal individuals and, by doing so, help transform society. He also said democracy has become its worst enemy as many of us rarely interrogate its foundational limitations such as limits of the very logic of representation itself.
Prof. Giri opined that modern democracy is intimately linked to the project of nation-state; and the ethical problems of nation-state also haunt the working of democracy. Modern democracy is still imprisoned within the logic of statism. But the ethical problems of the state are rarely addressed in our discourse on democracy, he added.
Earlier, Prof. (Dr.) Sanghamitra Patnaik, Head of the Department introduced the topic. The lecture was attended by more than 100 students and faculty members. Mr. Satyanarayan Jena, Assistant Professor, KLS proposed the vote of thanks, while Dr. Ramesh Chandra Sethi, Assistant Professor coordinated this academic discussion. The program was inspired by Prof. Bhavani Prasad Panda, Director, KLS.