- Democracy – Democracy has been derived from two Greek word demos and cratia.
- Demos means ‘ the people’ and cratia means ‘power’
- Democracy is a form of government which the administration of the country is run by the representatives who are elected by the people.
Features of democracy
- Rulers elected by the people take all the major decisions
- Elections offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers
- This choice and opportunity is available to all the people on an equal basis
- The exercise of this choice leads to a government limited by basic rules of the constitution and citizens’ rights
- it is that form of government in which people directly participate in the affairs of the State.
- in this system the public opinion is expressed directly in assemblies meetings.
- All the adult citizens have the right to participate in public meetings of the assembly where all the laws are passed, taxes are assessed etc.
- This type of system is only possible where the population is small and it is possible for all the citizen to participate directly in the affairs of the state, nowadays this system exists only in a few cantons of Switzerland and some states in USA
- indirect democracy are much larger countries.
- Under this system people elect their representative for a period who run the administration .
- if they don’t work according to the wishes of the people and for their welfare , they are hanged till the time of next election
- People don’t take part directly in the affair of the state.
- Examples of few democratic countries in the world are India ,USA ,England ,SriLanka.
- it is a form of government in which all the power are concentrated in the hands of a single person or a party of which he is the leader.
- He is not answerable to any body and nobody can oppose him.
- Italy and Germany before the second world war had this form of government
Is Democracy suitable to all the Nations
- Some people has an opinion that democracy is suitable only to those countries
which are ‘‘industrialized and economically developed“
- They are of the opinion that democracy may not be suitable for countries like India Pakistan etc.
- They argue that faster and better development is possible only in dictatorship where there is discipline among citizens and no time is wasted in the process of passing a legislature .
- But this is not true. We have democracies (like India, England and U.S.A.) performing much better for the removal of poverty and backwardness in their respective countries.
- In India, government has implemented several schemes for the welfare of the people and implemented policies to ensure equal opportunities for all the citizens in the fields of education and employment.
- On the other hand, under dictatorship, the dictators do not take much interest in the economic development of the country.
- Only’those in power and supporters of the ruling group enjoy all the benefits and privileges.
- They amass wealth through illegal and corrupt means.
- Thus, democracy is suitable for all the nation.
Five merits of democracy
Taking the example of china , when in 1958-61 , many people died because of large famine . The economic condition of India was also not in a good state those days , yet we were able to avoid such large scale famine because we had democracy.
- Democracy is based on the principle of equality-
- All the members or the state are equal in the eyes of law.
- All enjoy equal social, political and economic benefits and state cannot discriminate among the citizens on the basis of caste,religion,sex,or property
2. Stability and responsibility in administration
- The tenure of the elected representatives is fixed, They form a stable government
3. It is more accountable to people
- A nondemocratic government may and can respond to the people’s needs, but it
all depends on the wishes of the people who rule.
- If the rulers don’t want to, they don’t have to act according to the wishes of the people.
- A democracy requires that the rulers have to attend to the needs of the people
4. Democracy improves the quality of decision-making
- Democracy is based on consultation and discussion.
- A democratic decision always involves many persons, discussions and meetings.
- Although this takes time but it allows to find out the mistakes .
- But there is a big advantage in taking time over important decisions.
- This reduces the chances of rash or irresponsible decisions.
5. Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts
- people are bound to have differences of opinions and interests.
- These differences are particularly sharp in a country like ours which has an amazing social diversity.
- People belong to different regions, speak different languages, practise different religions and have different castes.
- They look at the world very differently and have different preferences.
- The preferences of one group can clash with those of other groups.
- Democracy provides the only peaceful solution to this problem.
- In democracy, no one is a permanent winner. No one is a permanent loser.
- Different groups can live with one another peacefully.
6. Democracy allows us to correct its own mistakes.
- There is no guarantee that mistakes cannot be made in democracy.
- No form of government can guarantee that.
- The advantage in a democracy is that such mistakes cannot be hidden for long.
- There is a space for public discussion on these mistakes.
- There is a room for correction.
- Either the rulers have to change their decisions, or the rulers can be changed.
Arguments against democracy
- Leaders keep changing in a democracy.
- This leads to instability.
- Democracy is all about political competition and power play.
- There is no scope for morality.
- So many people have to be consulted in a democracy that it leads to delays.
- Elected leaders do not know the best interest of the people.
- It leads to bad decisions.
- Democracy leads to corruption for it is based on electoral competition.
- Ordinary people don’t know what is good for them; they should not decide anything.
Challenges to democracy
- Growing economic and social inequalities among the people–
- Although all the citizens have the right to vote and fight elections rich people have a chance to win the election.
- The poor are sometimes even forced to sell their votes to fulfill their basic necessities of life like food, clothing and shelter
- So rich people are elected representatives in the legislature who make laws and frame policies which favour them
- Role of anti-social elements –
- The role of anti-social elements has increased very much during the elections.
- Voters are coerced to vote for a particular candidate or party.
- Rigging also takes place during the elections.
- During elections, a large number of voters give weight to the caste and religion of the candidate-
- Political parties also keep in mind the caste or religion of a person while distributing tickets for the election
- Representatives also work for the favor of people on the basis of caste or religion
Remedies for the removal of drawbacks of democracy.
- Efforts should be made to reduce the social and economic inequalities among the
- People should be educated.
- Only educated people can realize the importance of the right to vote and other political rights
- Use of caste and religion should be banned.
- Organisation of political parties on the basis religion should be checked.
- Candidates making use of caste or religion should be disqualified
- democratic values should be cultivated in families