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A RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT FOR ALL|
A righteous government is
of all the most to be wished for,
Bearing of blessing and good
fortune in the highest.
Guided by the law of Truth,
dedication and zeal,
It blossoms into
the Best of Order,
a Kingdom of Heaven!
To affect this I shall work
now and ever more.
Vohu Khshathra Gatha 51:1
Our socio-political world is intrinsically tied to what happens in the United States of America in its role as a „superpower‟. As debates about “big government” and
government‟s obligations to the less fortunate wage in the media and dining tables across the United States on the brink of presidential elections, it might help to go back to the scriptures for answers about the Zarathushti perspective on democracy. Dr. Jafarey explains a verse of the Vohu Khshatra Gatha that describes a righteous government: “The Gathic division of the human society is unique. It begins with the family living in a house that multiplies consequentially into settlements, districts, and lands and finally embraces the entire earth –all based on good thinking and precise procedure. This makes one realize the true democracy Zarathushtra expounded. The guiding leaders of all these units must be elected only on account of their competence, and that too by persons with „good mind – Vohu Manah‟ and in the „right –Asha‟ procedure. In today‟s definition it would mean that each and every person elected must be fully qualified for the office he/she is elected to.”
One of the crucial elements of this verse is the line “To affect this I shall work now and ever more” emphasizing the basic principle of Zarathushti ideology i.e. personal responsibility. Every individual has a place in making democracy work. In modern times this translates not only to the responsibility to vote in an election, but to make an informed decision guided by the truth. This means basing the vote on where the candidates stand on issues such as human rights, education, environment, foreign policy rather than background and personalities of the candidates. Democracy is an important freedom in a world where millions of people do not have a choice about the way they are ruled, and Zarathushtis are required as a fundamental tenet of their faith to participate in making the world a better place. *
USHAO Zoroastrian magazine Autumn 2012