But even in Athens it was not a total democracy. It was direct, there were no representatives – because once the representatives come in, it is not the people who rule, it is the representatives who rule. And for five years they have absolute power. Just once every five years they become servants of the people, just for a few days while the election is on; after the election the people don’t matter at all. Then they go on doing whatever they want to do. But in Athens, the larger part was made up of slaves. What kind of democracy? – where people were auctioned, women were auctioned. And these slaves were not citizens, so the greater part of the population of the Athens was not able to vote, not able to participate in the so-called direct democracy. Athens has come closest, but that kind of democracy is possible only in small cities, not in vast nations.
In vast nations you can’t have a government by the people, of the people, for the people. In vast lands you have to fall back on mediators. So it is just making people blind, giving them good slogans, but in fact democracy exists nowhere. It is always the politicians who are the rulers of the people.
But as I have told you, Gorbachev is too much impressed by America and wants the Soviet Union to be another America. He is not saying it directly, but slowly, slowly he is coming closer to it.
Democracy will destroy seventy years’ experiment completely. Democracy will bring the rich back, the poor back; a classless society will become again a society with classes. And whenever there are rich people, they are the real rulers of the country because they can purchase the politicians. Politicians don’t have money, and they need money for their elections. No poor man can stand for election because it takes so much money to fight an election.
Even in a poor country like India you need at least a million rupees to fight an election. From where are the people going to get that much money? And that one million rupees is the minimum. It depends on the constituency, and it depends on the rival candidate. If he is throwing away two million rupees, you have to throw away more than two millions; otherwise you are finished. And in a poor country, an uneducated country, people are ready to sell their votes.
In India, anybody who has money can win an election. Not a single poor man has reached the parliament in forty years’ time, and it will never be possible, because how can you fight? You need hundreds of jeeps, you need to pay the poor – because the poor are not interested in who goes to the parliament. It is all the same; only faces change, nothing else changes. The poor go on becoming poorer, the rich go on becoming richer, and all these politicians only go on giving promises.
Even a man like Mahatma Gandhi had promised that the first president of India would be a woman, and not only a woman but a woman belonging to the sudras, the untouchables. These two classes have suffered the most, because of the Hindu ideology that the untouchables are not human beings but beasts of burden, and the woman has no rights of her own. For centuries….
So just to get the attention of the women, and the votes and the attention of the untouchables…And Gandhi changed the name – politicians are very clever in changing names – he started calling the untouchables, harijans. Harijan means “people of God.” Now if harijans are the people of God, then why are they suffering for five thousand years? And those who are not the people of God are exploiting them, reducing them to cattle.