What Now for Egypt?

President Hosni Mubarak's decision to finally step down from power is significant. As mentioned by many people, including world leaders like US President Barack Obama, the removal of the once powerful Hosni Mubarak is history in the making. Who would have ever imagined that a President, who was saddled in power for the last thirty years, would suddenly find one-self, utterly useless, hopeless and yes powerless. For any political leader, what has happened in Egypt should be a humbling experience. It also goes to show that the real source of power lies with the people and that their will finally prevailed even if it was someone in the stature and power of President Mubarak. And yes there are now people who want a similar kind of people’s revolution everywhere. However we need to be cautious. Not every regime or government can be overthrown every second day. If this is the case there will be anarchy and lawlessness. This will create world disorder, which is something not desirable. For instance, even in India, some of the politicians are starting to encourage Egypt like protest for their political ends. This is unnecessary and at the same time dangerous to propagate such ideas. What happened in Egypt is quite different.  
Here in India or Nagaland, at least we have periodic elections where regime change takes place every now and then. This is the good thing about our democratic experience even though we may find many faults with our elections.  In Egypt, it was a one man rule with no political rights for people. In such a scenario, people were repressed for decades without the freedom to speech or even protest. And because there was no outlet for venting people’s anger, finally the revolution exploded right in the face of President Mubarak. At least here in India, periodic elections serve as a safety valve for people to air their grievances and seek the change they want. We need to therefore encourage democracy and the right of people to elect their rulers. Hopefully the Egyptian revolution will awaken the despotic and repressive regime in many of the countries especially in the Arab world. People want to live as free people with dignity, enfranchisement, basic rights and governments responsive to their needs. What we have seen in first Tunisia and now Egypt can happen in other Arab countries. The world is changing rapidly and rulers must do a reality check otherwise they risk the real possibility of people’s revolution.
Having said that about political rights, reforms and democratic opportunities, people who successfully brought about the revolution in Egypt should also not be under the impression that merely removing one man from power will solve all their problems. In fact, ousting a President took just 17-18 days of hard demonstration and protests. However to bring about the real change in their lives, removal of Hosni Mubarak will just not be enough. It will take more effort to actually rebuild the country—to reform the political system, sustain and run the economy besides ensuring that the real ideals of democracy—pluralism, peaceful order, free and fair election is achieved. Egyptian people should also be wary of vested interest groups including religious fundamentalist from distorting the real meaning of the revolution. The power vacuum created by the exit of President Hosni Mubarak should not be used by people to foment religious intolerance or create anarchy and violent assertions. This will be unfortunate.