Democracy: A way of life
Democracy is the art of thinking independently together
The term democracy was first used in fifth century BC by herodotus in the sense of rule by the people. Ancient Greece were the first one to experience the democracy in their city-states. All public affairs were discussed and decided in the assembly of free and adult men. The recorded history shows that they decided to give death penalty to Socrates for treason in Athens. A new form of democracy blossoms as a result of Glorious revolution in England (1688), American declaration of Independent (1776) and the french revolution (1789). It is known as representative government or popular government. Liberals, conservatives, socialist, communist, anarchists, even fascists shows eagerness in order to proclaim virtues of democracy, as the major ideologies collapsed in the late twentieth century. Though the flame of democracy appears to burn yet it seems strongly. As the Idea of socialism faded and the capitalism in question, perhaps democracy emerged as the only stable principle in the modern political state.
In a nutshell, democracy implies the ultimate authority vested in people, so the public policy is make to conform to the will of the people and to serve the interest of the people.
Democracies of the world:
Huntington on three waves of democracy-
It began in 19th century when the establishment of many new democracies after allied victory in the first world war. They are the developed countries with advanced democracy. They have access to civic republicanism, political diversity, economic freedom, institutions of liberty and equality, political modernism, Industrial development, political integration , trend towards decentralization and the post materialistic value.
It occured after world war II and included many ex-colonial countries as well as the countries which became free from the hold of the fascist or authoritarian powers owing to their defeat in the war.
The abnormal features of democracy in the developing countries are Institutionalisation, rapport with political culture, vulnerability with authoritarianism, corruption and maladministration, political instability, effect of neo- colonialisim, menace of cross border terrorism.
It occurred in late 1980s when the authoritarian regime lost their legitimacy. It appeared after the collapse of soviet union and the termination of communist regime in all countries of eastern europe. The features of democracy in the post communist state are the triumph of liberalism, reorganisation of state, construction of democratic regime, restructuring of government, economic transformation, social reinvention, national reconfiguration, international reorientation.
Democracy has evolved into many in third world country,
- Radical democracy
- Guided democracy
- Liberal democracy
- Socialist democracy
- Constitutional democracy
Essentials of democracy:
Larry Diamond, a political scientist talked about four keys of democracy. They are
Free and fair election-
India is the world’s largest democracy with multi party system.In India any citizen can participate in Indian election according to the representation of people’s act. The very good positive vibe of Indian democracy of the decade was Ms.Arya Rajendran’s victory in thiruvanathapuram corporation as a mayor at her 21 years.
Active participation of people-
Even in my writing I pen greeks were the fore fighters of democracy. True that, because of lot of documentary evidence. Tamil literary sources especially silapathikaram shows how a ordinary prudent women questions the judgement of the mighty king. Incontinence runs through the veins of Indians since ancient. Now a days, through the advantage of mass communication everyone get to know about their government and their policy also criticize them. Through this, people show their active participation. Recent farmers protest against the agricultural bills was the best example.
Protection of Human rights-
Human rights are the basic right of people. It is a right which is believed to belong everyone. a right is freedom of some kind, it is something to which you are entitled by virtue of being human. An individuals demand becomes right when they are accepted by others and recognized by the state. Human rights educate people about rights, issues and violation of rights and also provides safety and security to all. It deals with human race and they exist till the extinct of the race and it covers a very vast areas as it is a universal one. Human rights are natural, non biased and it is enforceable in a court of law and protected by law.
Challenges to Indian democracy:
India’s way of attaining democracy at her very first breath of freedom was exclaimed by all countries. Many criticized applying universal adult franchise to mass population especially to illiterate people was impossible. when India did her successful democracy by way of direct election, every European countries startle and other colonial countries made India as their role model in achieving democracy. The next challenge India faced was the monopoly of Indian National congress in Indian politics and lack of strong opposition. As a pluralistic society, Indian parliament must filled with different opinions from every corner of nation. If this lacked in legislative , it may leads to serious problem like oppression of minorities. The Indra Gandhian period witness many violations of constitutional provisions which directly hit Indian democracy. That stubborn lady who wanted to make welfare for the nation as a whole often violates individual rights. Using emergency provision as a political weapon was seriously criticized by many leaders. History always repeats itself, A very big challenge India facing today was the thumping Majority. This kind of legislature without strong opposition was the main reason for India’s condition right now. Those monopoly INC days were repeated by BJP centralisation. Though they attain thumping majority in parliament, they still wanted to occupy all state legislature. Acquisition through democracy means is healthy. But the reality is quite shocking, MLAs of regional parties are resignated without proper reason is direct attack on Indian democracy. Every legislature either good or bad must undergone serious review many a times, because those paper are going to determine the fate of many. But those process are lacking if there is thumping majority.
Democracy means tolerance, tolerance not merely of those who agree with us, but of those who do not agree with us.
Among all other forms of government, democracy was the only one meant to serve the cause of people. Today democracy is not only regarded as form of government but a way of life. That’s why there is a demand of democratization at all levels and all institutions of society. Democratization is nothing but that those affected by particular institutional decisions should have their opinion/representation in the decision making level. It demands the end of authoritarian society. Multiculturalism also closely related to democracy. It enables different cultures to flourish and treat each other with mutual respect. But in reality multiculturalism often brings drawbacks to liberal democracy. When it comes to India, it is necessary to maintain the identity of various cultural groups for the realization of democracy and social justice.
To attain the ideal of true democracy, it is essential to give recognition and protection to every small diverse groups of society. Above all Democracy is nothing but the representation of people.
- J C Johari, comparitive politics, reprint 2017
- O P Gauba, An Introduction to political theory, 7thedition revised
Author: K Sangeetha,
Government law college, chengalpattu