The term democracy comes from the Greek word demos meaning people and Kratos meaning rule. To record Abraham Lincoln, Democracy is the form of government which is of the people, by the people, and for the people. In general, democracy as a form of government originated from the basic idea of democratic values where it is more about a culture of equality.
India is the largest democracy in the world. The citizens of India should be more aware of their human rights and how the democracy, hence the students in schools and colleges across India are asked to study and read about the democracy. They are asked to write essays, speeches, paragraphs in their exams and competitions too. So, in this article cum essay, we have given all the information you need to write an impeccable essay, speech, paragraph on democracy. This information about the democracy can also help you with exams, debates, group discussions, quizzes and for the competitive exams like IAS too.
We have given the information such as history and origin of the democracy, advantages, benefits, merits of democracy, demerits, disadvantages, shortcomings of democracy, the comparison between the democracy and dictatorship, is the democracy the best form of government? how democracy is better than monarchy, the information about democracy in India and the World democracy day. So, let’s start.
Democracy System Essay, Information, Speech, Article in the English Language
Introduction To Democracy
As a form of government, John Dewey a famous American philosopher said that universal suffrage, elections, the representative government are factored by which a democratic government is characterized to embody the principles of democracy. There can be a representative democracy (where people indirectly elect those people who in turn finally elect the leader of the parties), republican democracy (where people have the final authority but participate in representative democracy) and deliberative democracy ( the form of democracy where active deliberation is followed along with the rule of majority). In essence, all three are democracies but with few modifications at places.
History and origin of Democracy
Historically, Greece, Rome and few Mediterranean countries were the cradles of democracy. Greece had an active democracy as early as 500 BCE and most people participated actively in political affairs of the state. However, traditionally like Greece, most democracies were direct in nature meaning people gathered could directly elect their representatives.
Cleisthenes established the Athenian form of democracy which was the traditional democracy in Greece. In the Middle Ages although there was some form of democracy in nations, yet most of them were partial and oligarchic in nature.The hallmarks of a democracy are always associated with a discipline of regular elections, promotion of universal welfare schemes and high levels of public accountability.
Advantages, Benefits, Merits of Democracy
Democracy has currently become the only political option in most cases. Without democracy, most modern governments do not run. Advantages of democracy are several.
- Democracy upholds the universal right to equal social justice. Without democracy, the political system would never have achieved the kind of equality it has achieved today. As all people get the right to vote and participate in political processes, social justice takes baby steps towards fulfillment.
- As B.R. Ambedkar pointed out, ‘ Democracy is not just merely a form of government. It is a means of associated living of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of reverence and respect towards fellow men’. Democracy in its essence cannot exist without the commune style of life marked by mutual respect for fellow citizens. This in return builds a consensus that is both exclusive to the community under the government as well as universal in its application for all.
- A democratic form of government most often promotes the idea of secularism like no other form of government. As under democracy, every person is granted equal right to vote, therefore the first prerequisite to such a concept is to treat every citizen alike promoting the ideal of the fraternity like no other form of government.
- Democracy is the only form of government that treats citizens as the SOURCE of governance. When the source is granted in the hands of people, chances of public conscience building and responsibility of amassing constructive public opinion is developed significantly.
- Finally, the idea of democracy is closely tied to the principle of Rule of Law which makes every person equal before the law. Such a system promotes both equalities as well as an independent and strong legal judicial system.
Disadvantages, Demerits, Drawbacks, Shortcomings of Democracy
Despite all the advantages that democracy hopes to come with, there are still several demerits to it which cannot be negated altogether.
- Democracy has the potential to become partial to the rule of mobocracy. Meaning, even the illiterate population with very little concern for political processes and their significance might run the government electing incompetent leaders.
- Democracy without adequate checks and balances in place might lead to favoritism within government ranks. A political party with majority might try and fill up posts that are crucial in scope with people associated with the party.
- Democracy with favoritism, in the long run, gives rise to rampant corruption and real accountability towards public opinion might fade to a zero.
- Because democracy is maintained by people in theory, hence a bad government becomes the only alternative people have in case the elected ones turn rogue. In Nazi Germany, Hitler came to power only after people elected him to the helm.
- With large-scale media presence and influence in modern times, democracy also runs the risk of corporate maneuvering where corporate interests might sway public opinion in their favor.
Is Democracy The Best Form Of Government?
At the global level, the debate whether democracy is the best form of government or not ensues as much today. More so, as corruption charges are leveled against several governments that were elected in a democratic manner. In Rwanda, for example, a high turnout of voters in 2013 elections brought the same leader for 16 years back with 89% population casting their votes. This puts a question of whether democracy is a boon or a bane. For many political scientists argue that leaders turn rogue with more coercion of voters to vote for a particular party, they sway public opinion in countries with weak democratic institutions and silence public opinion by adopting stringent measures.
Yet, there remain few good alternatives to the practice of democracy across the world. Even though the rule of law can be used as a weapon against people and free and fair elections, yet at least if a Constitution provides for a democratic governance, then dissent can be mobilized legally on lines of Constitutional provisions. Without a democratic provision, effectively organizing social welfare programmes cannot be a reality. Electoral participation by people ensures that even the marginalized section of the society has a definite form of a political opinion if they are enlisted under an electoral roll.
Democracy is Always Better Than Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government where a single person exercises their authority to govern a country. Most usually, the monarchy is preceded by the dynastic ruling. England previously was a monarchical form of government where the King or The Queen succeeding the throne became the ruler of the citizens. Under the monarchy, the chief problem is, the overall quality of life of citizens and the extent to which social justice, welfare, and affairs are carried out depends totally on the whim and nature of the ruler in question. The monarch has the ultimate decision-making capacity in almost every sphere which makes it difficult to be dynamic towards the changing needs of the citizens.
On the contrary, democracy, where the people have the foremost authority to elect their leaders, have the freedom to ‘choose’ the quality of leadership as well as it is unbiased by factors like blood, kinship and politically irrelevant qualities like family history.
When compared to monarchy, democracy always scores higher because monarchy may or may not grant freedom of equality to the people but under democracy equality and free fair elections are the chief prerequisites. These days most erstwhile monarchies have switched to a Parliamentary democratic system. Nepal was a constitutional monarchy but 2008 onwards embraced a federal democratic system. While monarchy may or may not be tyrannical yet the fact that people have the least opinion in its decision making makes it an undesirable form of government compared to democracy.
Democracy versus Dictatorship
Dictatorship is one of the most undesirable forms of government. Under dictatorship, there is just one leader who selects the rest of the government members and the leadership is more often than not oppressive and thwarts the overall freedom of the people. Owing to a single party rule, people are left with no choice of opposition, which in most cases is banned as a legal tool. The leader has full control and authority over citizens and even liberal institutions like film, culture is also organized on the leader’s whims.
Democracy is no doubt better than military rule, which a dictatorship can often fall into. In a democracy, there is always the healthy provisioning of an Opposition order or multiple oppositions catering to the diverse nature of population needs in a country. If not anything but a regular election system guarantees the chance of replacing one political party by another in case the earlier stands restrictive in nature.
Democracy in India
Universal adult suffrage, the basic precondition for democracy in any country, was not something that was granted under the British Rule in India. In fact, by an act in 1935, only close to 30 million people could be brought under the purview of universal suffrage. It was thus left solely to the post Independence era leadership to draw out a plan that would bring in the aspect of universal suffrage. In a research, it was found that most of the electoral roll was prepared by the people with help from the Constituent Assembly and Election Commission. It was more difficult as back till 1950 there were several princely states who refused to accede to the Indian polity and thus people had the responsibility to draw up the possible electoral roll for various places.
In India, democracy is guaranteed not only by universal adult suffrage but also fundamental rights. The Election Commission of India oversees all matters of democratic elections taking place in Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, State legislative elections as well as elections to the President and vice president positions. As the largest democracy in the world, India has always been an example of a dynamic election process. Electronic voting machines were first used in Kerala in 1982 and after that EVMs slowly became the preferred mode in elections. In 2014, NOTA was introduced that gave people the right to not vote for any leader at all.
However, even though elections form the basis of democracy yet it cannot be denied that democracy is not just limited to elections and electoral processes. Democracy also implies the right to live freely and practice equality. Indian democracy despite the large numerical success lags behind other democracies in providing for that continuous system of social justice that is by the people and of the people.
Often, party leaders put up nominations of their favorite people despite the same having a criminal record, such a trend definitely undermines the spirit of a fair election. Also, for a democracy to function it is highly recommended that there be no external influence while voting, but in India, we often hear about people being threatened and women being discouraged to cast their vote. Widespread illiteracy too makes people a bad judge of democratic solutions available to them and make them put up with non-democratic processes for a long time.
The recent mob lynchings over beef, the imposition of linguistic order by promoting one vernacular over the rest, such kind of practices become contrary to the democratic spirit. When a section promotes one language over the other, we cannot forget that easy languages will always be preferred by people as something they are familiar with. So disrespecting the same raises the question is it not hampering the growth of India?! To enhance the democratic spirit corruption needs to be mitigated in India, which is sadly not the case that is happening on an aggressive basis.
World Democracy Day 2018
Across the globe, 15th of September each year is recognized as the Democracy Day. The United Nations identifies democracy day as a specific day in order to commemorate the values and ideals of democracy. In 2017, the aim of Democracy Day, in particular, was in favor of strengthening democratic institutions to promote greater dialogue and strength in order to promote human rights and prevent conflict at civil levels. The stronger civil democratic networks at decentralized levels, the better the access to overall democratic governance on a large scale is possible.
In India, a noted body providing democratic solutions across the country and the globe is the Democracy Foundation. It seeks to promote democratic principles and awareness among people, seeks to bridge the gap between people and government and helps in constant strengthening of existing bodies that work with the people for similar aims.
Democracy is not just an idea but it is a way of life in essence. It is imprudent to say that the need of democracy starts and ends at the ballot system. The newspaper publishing free and liberal views to the aspect of judicial accountability, each of the aspect is overseen by democratic principles alone. It instills a political discipline and when respected and carried forward in the right manner becomes a culture rather than a process. India’s national unity has always been a direct result of democracy and democratic principles which should be respected and implemented by all.
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