What is Democracy?
“To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.”
- A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
- In simpler words, it’s a system of government of the people, by the people and for the people.
- Every member is elected through people’s choice to represent a certain group of people and all the policies are made to directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, benefit the citizens of the democratic country.
Pros of Democracy:
- It encourages personal involvement as people have a say in who they believe is the right candidate to represent them.
- It promotes equality as every vote has the same weight in a bigger picture, regardless of how rich or poor a person may be.
- It de-centralizes governmental power because the voters have the power to remove any government who seem to over-exercising their powers.
- There are no losers or winners in democracy and it all lies in the hands of voters to elect the ones who do a good job and remove any who seem out of place with their powers.
- It stops exploitation as the power is distributed within the government and therefore, no one person has the absolute power.
Cons of Democracy:
- Could promote manipulative politics, resulting in manipulating the voters into voting without knowledge of who they are voting for.
- It is costly to arrange elections on such a huge scale resulting in opportunity cost associated to choosing such a system of government.
- It requires time to ensure the acceptance of policy by majority and by the time the policy does get accepted and implemented, it may already be too late.
- There is a tendency towards short-term policy making because leaders/governments are generally elected to serve over a specific length of time (typically around 4 or 5 years) and concerns over getting re-elected often mean that they often don’t look beyond the next election.
- The focus on majority is a constant threat to minority groups, as a leader or government may only serve the interests of the largest social groups and ignore, or even repress the rights of others.
Democracy in India:
- India became a democratic state after its independence from the British rule in 1947.
- It is the largest and most successful democratic nation in the world.
- Democracy in India gives its citizens the right to vote irrespective of their caste, colour, creed, religion and gender.
- Every Indian citizen, above 18 years of age, can exercise the right to vote in India.
- It has five democratic principles – sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic.
- Sovereign: This means free from the interference or control of any foreign power.
- Socialist: This means providing social and economic equality to all the citizens.
- Secular: This means freedom to practice any religion or reject all.
- Democratic: This means the government of India is elected by its citizens.
- Republic: This means the head of the country is not a hereditary king or queen.
- Various political parties stand for elections at the state as well as national level periodically.
- A few political parties include:
- Indian National Congress (INC),
- Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP),
- Communist Party of India (CPI),
- Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M),
- Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),
- All India Trinamool Congress (TMC)
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
- A few political parties include:
- The world’s oldest recognized democracy is the United States of America , which adopted the system of elected politicians after its birth in 1787.
- Libya is the world’s youngest democracy, becoming one after the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2012.
- Out of the 193 countries that belong the United Nations, 167 are democracies, which translates as 87%!
- One third of people in the world still live in an autocratic system, however, that’s because the world’s most populous country, China, is not a democracy.