Democracy and Illiteracy Do Not Move Together


CSS 2019 Solved Essay | Democracy and Illiteracy Do Not Move Together

Abeera Fatima, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, has attempted the CSS 2019 essay “ Democracy and Illiteracy Do Not Move Together ” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.

1- Introduction

2- Relationship between Democracy and Illiteracy

  • Understanding democracy
  • Understanding illiteracy
  • Inverse correlation between democracy and illiteracy

3- Facts Highlighting That Democracy and Illiteracy Do Not Move Together

  • Political Facts
    It is illiteracy that
    • decreases voter turnout rate
      • Case in point: 2020 Belarusian presidential election
    • results in the rise of misinformation and propaganda
      • Case in point: use of propaganda on social media; hybrid warfare
    • shrinks political participation of citizens
      • Case in point: lack of youth bulge in the political arena of Pakistan
    • lessen the political representation owing to the prevailing monopoly
      • Case in point: a comparative analysis of parliamentary and presidential forms of government 
    • creates vacuum for dictatorship and long boats
      • Case in point: derailment of democracy in Pakistan – 1958, 1977, and 1999
    • increases dynastic politics
      • Case in point: Monarchy in the Middle East
  • Social Facts
    It is illiteracy that
    • multiplies the acts of malpractice owing to a lack of transparency and accountability
      • Case in point: a comparative analysis of corruption in developed and developing countries
    • increases feudal norms and abolishes the availability of fundamental human rights
      • Case in point: Mukhtiyara Mai and Malala YousafZai
    • gives birth to inequality and injustice leads to bad governance
      • Case in point: contemporary situation of Afghanistan after the evacuation of the US
    • rises misogynistic customs and traditions vis-à-vis women’s participation
      • Case in point: comparison of literacy rate among males and females in Pakistan
    • emerges the poor quality of leadership
      • Case in point: Arab Spring 2011 and leaders in the Middle East
    • enhances manipulation and exploitation of the citizens
      • Case in point: fraud loan apps in Pakistan

4- Factors Responsible for the Prevalence of Illiteracy

  • Flawed governmental policies
  • Lack of budgets for the spread of education
  • A vicious cycle of poverty and backwardness
  • Increased population growth and a callous approach of religious leaders
  • Absence of women’s participation and social barriers
  • Ineffective role of media
  • Lack of technological advancement

5- Some Steps Already Taken for the Provision of Democracy across the Globe

  • Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Democracy Summit 2023

6- Recommendations for Strengthening Democratic Norms in True Letter and Spirit

  • Professionally mature and highly responsible role of media
  • Ensuring judiciary independence to curb institutional involvement
  • Scrupulous policies for population control
  • Proper implementation of poverty alleviation programs
  • Awareness campaign for the eradication of social and cultural barriers
  • Allocation of a proper budget for the provision of education

7- Conclusion

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Democracy, irrefutably, incorporates three main features active participation of citizens, an independent judiciary, and a free media. All these features are highly dependent on the literacy of the common man. Norway, for instance, being a Scandinavian country, has a high literacy rate of 100 percent, which results in the successful implementation of democratic norms in the country. Thus, democracy and illiteracy do not move hand in hand; the existence of the latter is the death of the former. A myriad of testimonies are cited in the account: decreases voter turnout rate; creates a vacuum for dictatorship; rises misogynistic customs and traditions vis-à-vis women’s participation; enhances manipulation and exploitation of the citizens; and results in the rise of misinformation and propaganda. However, a couple of factors are highly responsible for the presence of illiteracy, for example, flawed governmental policies, lack of budgets for the spread of education, a vicious cycle of poverty and backwardness, and dynastic politics and authoritarian regimes. Yet, some pragmatic and viable remedial measures are the need of the hour.

Democracy and illiteracy can be defined in several ways. Democracy is of the people, by the people, and for the people, as aptly stated by Abraham Lincoln. However, democracy is considered to be the best form of government, owing to its silent features of citizens’ engagement in political, social, and economic paradigms. On the other hand, illiteracy is the quality or condition of being unable to read or writes. It is a multifaceted menace that swallows the country not only politically but also socio-economically.  Nevertheless, the correlation between democracy and illiteracy is inversely proportional. The nurturing of the former is the graveyard of the latter.

After a bird’s eye view of the terms, it is immensely important to shed light on the facts which prove that democracy and illiteracy cannot dance together on the ramp. To start with, illiteracy decreases the voter turnout rate, which impediments democratic norms and values. It is due to the lack of trust in the electoral process and the perception that the election can never be held free and fair in the country. In 2020 the Presidential election of Belarus, for instance, the winner was declared with 80 percent of the vote. It was declared the most corrupt election in Europe. The then government did several malpractices, such as restriction the participation of the opposition candidates, horse trading, censoring the media, and such forth. Thus, the voter turn-out rate decreases to 84 percent, according to Al Jazeera.

Similarly, a rise of misinformation and propaganda is the outcome of the illiterate society. The most eminent tool of the 21st century is social media- WhatsApp, Facebook, Meta, Twitter – to manipulate the minds and hearts of the stakeholders of the community. The phenomenon is popularly known as fifth-generation or hybrid warfare; the third party or state funds the propaganda of spreading hate speech, leading to violence and unrest in the region. Thus, it has direct implications for the functioning of democracy and good governance. To illustrate, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Ethiopia have 60 percent, 60 percent, and 50 percent literacy rates simultaneously is to be quoted in this regard.

In addition to this, illiteracy shrinks the political participation of billions of active and engaged citizens. A couple of barriers are in the way of the people: natural disasters, outbreaks of deadly diseases, economic crises, and such forth. Thus, people start losing interest in political ideas and ideology and perfectly declare the way it is going on. To exemplify the youth bulge of Pakistan, having 60 percent of the population under the age of 25, much young Pakistani lack interest. One of the reasons is the absence of the students’ union in the august institutions in the contemporary era.  According to the Global Campaign for Education, almost 774 million young populations around the world cannot read and write.

Next to it, illiteracy creates a vacuum for dictatorship and coups. Historically, particularly in Germany, Europe was under the hands of dictators for several years, having devastating impacts all over the world; Hitler in the Second World War. It is popularly said that the seed of the Second World War is sowed in the First World War. After the industrial revolution, the roots of democracy get strong in Europe. However, the Third World countries, like Pakistan, have had derailment of democracy. General Ayub Khan 1958, General Zia-ul-Haq 1977, and General Musharraf 1999 declared Martial Law which was justified under the doctrine of necessity. All these coups murdered the evergreen democracy of the people: the suppression of civil liberties and the arrest of political leaders created a cycle of political instability and uncertainty. As aptly stated by Albert Moravia,

“Dictatorships are one-way streets; Democracy boasts two-way traffic.”

In the same manner, illiteracy increases dynastic politics and political polarization in the country. Dynastic politics is a novel terminology in the state behaviour theory; it is the politics of generation to generation. In simple words, political affairs are concentrated in the hands of a few. However, a real-time example of dynastic politics is delved into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Thailand, and many more. The majority of these countries are under the rule of Kingship, another form of government. Had monarchy not prevailed in the region, the situation of illiteracy would never have been worst.

Likewise, illiteracy multiplies the acts of malpractice, owing to a lack of transparency and accountability, in all the realms of the community.  Acts of malpractices like corruption, embezzlement, bribery, and fraud become common in such a society; nevertheless, these elements are high in developing countries rather than in developed countries. According to the Corruption Index Perception 2020 by Transparency International, developing countries are prone to higher levels of corruption as compared to developed countries. According to the same report, developed countries, with the top 10 least countries, are less indulge in corrupt practices; while developing countries like Somalia, Sudan, and Syria ranked as the three most corrupt countries in the index.

Likewise, feudal norms and the unavailability of fundamental human rights mushroomed in the illiterate society. The concept of feudalism has remained popular from the era of colonialism; however, the end of colonialism does not abolish it, particularly in African countries and the subcontinent. Hence, feudalism is a threat to democracy, which means the unavailability of fundamental human rights. To illustrate, the example of feudalism in Pakistan is exemplified in the context; the unavailability of fundamental human rights in the Mukhtaiyara Mai Case is the most eminent to quote. Similarly, the Pashtoon belt of Pakistan- Swat, Waziristan, and such forth- is prone to terrorist activities; in 2012, a young writer Malala Yousafzai used to write for the Dawn newspaper on the justification of terrorist activities given by the Feudal groups. Besides, she wrote the coercive closure of schools, particularly girls’ schools, reveals the condition of unavailability of human rights in the region.

Moreover, inequality and injustice lead to bad governance take place in the uneducated community. SDG 5 and SDG 16 are to promote gender equality and justice at the international level, ratified by 181 countries, whether developing or developed nations. In practical terms, things are different; to exemplify, the evacuation process of the US from Afghanistan left behind nothing. The loss of life, property, infrastructure, and image of Afghanistan gives birth to injustice and inequality in the country that harms not only the state but also the region. In a globalized world, global equality and global justice lead to global governance. Kofi Annan, Sectary General of the United Nations, said, “Arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.”

Furthermore, misogynistic customs and traditions vis-à-vis women’s participation rise in the unenlightened society. To encapsulate, a meticulous comparison of the literacy rate among males and females in Pakistan is cited in this regard; according to United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Literacy rate of males is 69.2 per cent, while the literacy rate of the female is 46.9 per cent in Pakistan. This data is to illustrate the customs and traditions that prevail regarding the education of females as well as females’ participation in any arena of the country.

Last but not least, the poor quality of leadership emerges from the mud of uncivilized society and eventually becomes a bone of contention. Statesmanship comes with a moderate approach that is only possible with huge exposure to knowledge. To exemplify, the series of anti-government movements known as Arab Spring 2011 rise in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria in response of corrupt political leaders.  

Last, manipulation and exploitation of the citizens are enhanced in the illiterate country.  In some countries, ease of giving loans to fight against poverty and inflation, some applications exploit the people. Fraud loan apps 2023 in Pakistan are the perfect example in the context; a number of people get trapped, which results in an upsurge of suicide cases in the country. Had illiteracy not prevailed in the country, exploitation and manipulation would never have triumphed.

The analysis of the facts proving democracy and illiteracy cannot be put in a basket altogether brings the discussion to the point where it is pertinent to meticulously analyze the factors responsible for the prevalence of illiteracy. To start with, chalk out of flawed governmental policies is first and foremost to discuss. For instance, in Afghanistan, after the evacuation of the US, the Afghan Taliban regime prohibits the movement of women without her Mehram; consequently, the immediate decline of girls or women has been seen in educational institutions. Thus, the situation becomes the worst in the country: closure of schools and colleges, violation of fundamental human rights, absence of democracy, increased drug trafficking, and such forth.

However, a lack of budgets for the spread of education is also held responsible for the prevalence of illiteracy in any society. It is a universally accepted fact that Third World countries allocate minimal budget for the provision of education in the country. As a result of this, many remote areas have remained unable to provide education to their children, and a lack of basic facilities has remained unaddressed and lagged in Research and Development arena.

Furthermore, a vicious cycle of poverty and backwardness adds fuel to the fire. It is recorded that poverty has deepened its root over the past few decades, which leads to the backwardness of marginalized segments of society. Thus, multidimensional evils emerge that hunt the true essence of democracy: the prevalence of feudalism, increased crime rate, violence against women, and so on. As aptly stated, poverty is the mother of all evils.

In addition to this, increased population growth and a callous approach of religious leaders rub salt into the wound. Third World countries, among the top 10 most populated nations, are prone to manipulation by using religion as a tool. Illiteracy halts the moderate approach of religious scholars that is needed to solve the contemporary issues of the world; thus, in Islam, the closed door of Ijtihad is the outcome.

In a similar way, an absence of women’s participation and social barriers is the root cause of illiteracy in the nation. It is famously known that women are the hurdle in the way of women; for instance, women try to justify the abuse of men in an uneducated society; this act includes social barriers. The upsurge of violence against women is the aftermath of a lack of education.

Finally, an ineffective role of media and a lack of technological advancement have exacerbated the situation to the worst. Media portrays the image of any state; however, the tarnished image of the East is presented by the media and, as a result, the country lag in foreign direct investments (FDIs), ease of doing business, and a lack of tourists in the country. Hence, the country remains backward in technological advancement.

Despite the existence of ill democracy, some scrupulous steps have already been taken toward a pro-democratic blue planet. The goals – Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – by the United Nations (UN) have been chalked out for the glory of sustainable, peaceful, democratic norms and values. Similarly, Democracy Summit was organized on 29-30 March 2023 by the United States; the key themes of the summit are strengthening democracy, countering authoritarianism, fighting against corruption, and promoting fundamental human rights. It is only possible through engaging people-to-people communication, exchanging of norms and ideas, and provision of trust inter and intra-states.

Nevertheless, some viable and pragmatic remedial measures are needed to chalk out for amelioration of the menace and for strengthening democracy in true letter and spirit. Firstly, a professionally mature and highly responsible role of media is needed. Training and seminars with the collaboration of Watchdog Journalists should be organized to train global journalists. Secondly, judiciary independence to curb institutional involvement should be ensured for speedy trials. The involvement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should count for the freedom of judges. Thirdly, scrupulous policies for population control ought to chalk out. Awareness campaigns, the positive role of media, and a sagacious role of clerics are highly productive in the context. Next, some scrupulous measures for the alleviation of poverty must be designed. Despite international organizations like World Bank and United Nations working to zero poverty and hunger globally by 2025, as enacted in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), yet more steps are needed at the eleventh hour. The role of the First World Countries in regional development is highly appreciated in this regard. Last but not least, awareness campaigns for the eradication of social and cultural barriers should be encouraged. It is solely possible through the provision of justice, equality, transparency, good governance, and accountability. Lastly, a proper budget for the provision of education must be allocated. At the national level, coordination and collaboration in Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) and Annual Development Program (ADP) is done in true letter and spirit.  At the international level, the provision of scholarship programs, ease of student visas, and exchange of job opportunities can help to materialize the importance of education.

To sum up, a meticulous analysis reveals that democracy and illiteracy cannot go hand in hand. Although a myriad of steps have already been taken to strengthen democracy, some pragmatic and viable measures must heed in this context. Professionally mature and highly responsible role of media, ensuring judiciary independence to curb institutional involvement, scrupulous policies for population control, proper implementation of poverty alleviation programs, awareness campaigns for the eradication of social and cultural barriers, and allocation of proper budget for the provision of education are some of the few steps that need to implement for the glory of democracy in a civilized world. One should hope the roots of democracy will deepen over time. The more one realizes it, the better it is.

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