Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

The Governed are More Important

In today’s world almost every society has a government and the subjects – the ones who can be termed as the governed. Much of the discussions pertaining to political philosophy and political science has been one how the governments should function and what characteristics they should have. While, there is a little discussion about how the governed should be and how they should behave and live in a state. This discussion is important because the current societies are different from the earlier ones to a large extent.
The earlier societies used to be based on monarchy, oligarchy, aristocracy or dictatorship; therefore, most of the authorities were with the government and they were rarely accountable to the governed. As a result, it was important to discuss the nature of the government and the governing individuals or the leaders. However, as the societies have evolved to democracies, they have experienced more participation of the governed in the matters of governance. They have more say in the formation of the government and they can, in certain ways, hold the government accountable for different policies and actions.
One of the best ways to influence the government is the process of election, which was not an option in monarchy, aristocracy or dictatorship. Through elections the governed can choose the leaders of their choice. Moreover, the modern societies have developed modern media that highlight the different actions and policies of the government and bring them into the attention of the masses; in certain cases, they even help in assessing those actions and policies. Meanwhile, the modern media, itself, is highly dependent on public opinion. It can shape or be shaped by views and thinking of the people. So, the thinking, feeling and emotions of the governed become very important.    
Thus, it is important to have discussion on the governed, not only on the government, and what qualities and characteristics they should have so as to flourish a better society. There are certain important characteristics that must be there in them in this regard. Most importantly, the masses in a state must be educated and aware because both education and awareness would make them understand the society and their status, roles, rights and responsibilities in it. Though education is debatable, awareness is indispensable, as some would believe that formal education supported by the government may make the people more loyal to the government instead of making them independent individuals who would be able to analyze the government and its policies critically and have the capacity to bring about important changes in the society. Awareness is majorly based on experience and open-mindedness. Though it is very difficult to achieve awareness without education, it is not impossible.
The governed must also be vigilant and must have an active part in the affairs of the state. They must not be dumb and deaf subjects as in that way their rights would be easily violated. There are political scientists who believe that the rulers are basically the people who gain authority in order to defend their own interests. They are not always interested in what the common masses get; rather their attentions are diverted more towards their economic benefits. Therefore, the masses must be vigilant to identify the policies of the government that are not intended to bring prosperity to them. They have every right to fight for their rights politically and must make sure that their rights are not violated in any way. In that manner they would be able to stop the rulers from using the authority only for their personal benefits.   
Political consciousness is another important quality that the masses must develop so as to comprehend the developments and the changes in the political system. Through such a consciousness they would also be able to gauge the policies of the government as per the political demands. Furthermore, they would gain the capacity of strengthening the political institutions and enrich the political culture with democratic and positive elements. They would, at the same time, be able to exert for positive political changes through their voting power, the tendency to change, participation in political affairs and, at most, through democratic demonstrations and protests. 
Countries like Afghanistan would also require concentrating on the characteristics of the governed as well. Unfortunately, the common masses in Afghanistan have not been able to gain the attentions. They still lack basic requirements of life and suffer from lack of awareness and consciousness. Therefore, their roles are very limited in Afghan society and mostly the rulers rule the country as per their will. Even if the rulers have the policies that are detrimental for Afghan people and Afghan society and are contradictory to the wellbeing of the masses, they do not face much opposition as the masses are not able to identify them and insist on the changes through political means.