Washington: Noted social activist Aruna Roy has said that rural India, which suffers the worst aspects of democracy, is also where democracy is most alive.
"The people who live in rural India are intelligent people. Ordinary people are intelligent. They are bright. We don`t listen to them," Roy said on Thursday at a conference in London on `Open Government Partnership Annual Summit`
"We have Gandhi. Gandhi travelled all of India, listened to people, and that`s how the national movement for independence really originated, and civil disobedience. Listening to human beings whom we dismiss as ordinary is part of the Indian culture," she said.
"So rural India, which really suffers the worst of the worst of Indian democracy, is where democracy is most alive. That`s where they want to set it right. They do protest, they do struggle," Roy said.
"They protest to create something, to make something, they don`t want violence, they don`t want to beat up somebody. But they do want their bread. They do want their health services. So it was through that this kind of protest that the right to information campaign was actually born," she said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, who addressed the event through teleconference, said, "The fact is that in the United States, in Great Britain, in countries like ours, people have the freedom to assemble, the freedom to speak out, the freedom to organise, to call for government change. And in our countries, both of our countries, the media holds extraordinary power and extraordinary freedom and ability to be able to shape thinking, and people."
"Individual people, through their own individual organising efforts or through the NGOs that they choose to become part of, all have this freedom to be able to shape the media ? to have an impact through the media," Kerry added.