Oral Democracy

The voices of the poor are often not heard. Governmental systems devised to assist the poor focus on top-down poverty identification through definitions, biometrics, surveys, and measurements, over which people have little say. And programs to assist the poor are administered through opaque and difficult to navigate bureaucracies. Gram sabhas have the potential to change that by facilitating what we have termed “oral democracy”, a political system powered by citizens’ voices, where direct verbal engagement is the modality and narratives are the main currency.