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George Floyd: Dissent Against Denial of Human Rights: An Observation

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

-Martin Luther King. Jr.

The brawling protest over the incident of an Afro-American citizen throttled to death in police custody has created sensations over global media in recent times. The death of a handcuffed ‘black’ man by 3 ‘white’ police has ‘criminalized’ the US police departments and posed a big threat to Human Rights principles. The media broadcast may limit their focus to the much-popularized term of Racism but factually the protesters include commoners and celebrities irrespective of racial categories. The dissent and disruption demand conviction of the law enforcer that denied a pleading man’s right to live. History has ample evidence that discrimination in societies among people instigated social movements, even though they may be geographically distant or dealing with a completely different issue. A dissent raised in Minneapolis, Tiananmen Square, or Place de la Concorde might look like an individual incident, but the principal cause of these consequential movements is the violation of fundamental rights heedless of the type of governance the state has. A contradictory attitude of states is observed when it comes to the context of addressing internal issues and conducting the self in the global platform. A country that is successfully achieving Sustainable Development Goals by fulfilling quality education, decent work, economic growth, and gender equality is reluctant to accept freedom of speech and democratic reforms, here it might be asked, what makes a country powerful…its economy, military power or there is some X factor that exists!!

In the context of civil rights, Acharya Kautilya (350 BCE), the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya has taken the issue in a completely reverse direction. Kautilyan text of Arthashastra merely talks about the fundamental rights of people, instead, it has vehement support for protecting all fundamental rights to be the principal duty of a king. “Public welfare and happiness of people is the key to a successful governance and effective leadership” is a popular Kautilyan quote often used in the training programs of management and civil services. A book written approximately 2300 years back contains a detailed narration of the contemporary caste-bound indigenous society, where duties, rules, and regulations of each caste were strictly monitored. Although beyond the sociological stratum, considering people in general as his children, was a conscious imposition of duty on the king.

To be precise, what might apparently add up to some extra credits in monarchical governance becomes an inbuilt feature of a democratic system. Thus civil (and political) rights must secure an individual’s freedom and allow his active participation in the development of the state, otherwise, nationals and citizens may only remain as a part of the aesthetics of a state.

Dr.Kakali Roy Chowdhury


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