Depth of Democracy in India
When did you first encounter the word ‘democracy’, maybe in the sixth or seventh standard textbooks? And you understood the meaning as told by your respected teachers. This word is widely used and surely is going to be mentioned a lot, further in this article. So, before starting with the crux of the article’s agenda we should understand the literal meaning of the word.
‘Democracy’, a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
After independence, India adopted democracy to restore its resources, powers, and most importantly to leave behind the nightmares lived. Our constitution and every other law made had the essence of the new liberal system. Indisputably, the decision was the best but bringing and establishing democracy in such a diverse country were two ends of the world.
We all know DR. B. R. Ambedkar played a major role in drafting our Constitution. He was a visionary man who while talking about the importance of democracy also debated the chronic challenges it may face. He also stood firm against the caste divide, which was beyond normalized in India. In the words of Babasaheb Ambedkar, “We must not be content with mere political democracy. We must make our political democracy a social democracy as well. Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it, social democracy”.
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Brief introduction of the concept of democracy
There are majorly two types of democracy, one direct democracy, and the other representative democracy. A system in which the general public can directly partake in decision making or policy making is known as direct democracy. Such democracies may seem to be liberal but have its own prerequisites. Another kind of democracy is a representative democracy in which the public elects their representatives who further assist in making policies or major decisions for the country.
In India, we have a parliamentary democracy, a system in which a party, or a coalition party, forms the Government, after being elected with a majority by the citizens. The represented leader of such a party is then made the Prime Minister, the head of the Government, and the president is regarded as the head of the state.
As Bill Gates says, ‘Vision without execution is just daydreaming’. Similarly, it was not enough to just write down the idea of democracy it was significant to execute it. This execution has come a long way but has faced some obstacles in the journey till now. Two of such obstacles are further discussed.
Democracy and caste system
Social democracy deals with the autonomy of individuals. It acts as a shield for the dignity of citizens and decorum of the system. This does Democracy does not guarantee equality rather it depends on it. The caste system in India prevailed so long that soon people started linking it with their religion. This system needs citizens to act as a whole and work towards the betterment of society. We take pride in being one of the most diverse countries but the fact of reality speaks a different language.
Writing that every person regardless of religion, caste or sex has the right to vote was not a big task but implementing the same was challenging. This brought the importance of social democracy into the limelight.
Social democracy deals with the autonomy of individuals. It acts as a shield for the dignity of citizens and decorum of the system. This does not diminish the prominence of political democracy. It is veracious to believe that there is no point in overestimating political democracy as it is only as competent as social democracy makes it.
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Democracy and representation
As we discussed earlier the two types of democracy and also the variant of democracy followed in India, we can conclude that India has a representative parliamentary democracy. Here the citizens do not take a direct part in the decision making rather elect their representatives who will do that for them. However, in the process of execution, there are some evil desires which drive it in the wrong lane.
These representatives once elected consider themselves free from any obligation towards the citizens and even citizens do not understand their importance.
Does this mean that people should be free to adopt policies? The answer is no, not everyone in the vast number of populations has the intelligence and is reliable to take such actions. Also, being a diverse population there are chances of clashes of ideas and misuse of majority. Still, this does not mean that we do not have an exit gate from this dilemma.
Today most people have the habit of being a part of the problem, directly or indirectly. They enjoy discussing the problem and criticizing the authorities. Another thing which is normal nowadays is blaming others. Nobody wants to take responsibility rather than shift the blame on others. The need is to be a part of the solution.
Rarely any person in the discussion raises some points of the solution but unfortunately, those are disregarded. We do have a solution to this misuse of execution and that is the power questioning. The Government at every point is answerable to the public. The public can raise objections and make the wrong right. This is how we can keep a check and balance on the actions of organs of democracy.
Democracy is a seed sown years ago whose plant is yet to be fully blown. In real-world democracy may be hindered but is the best weapon one can ever have. It stands on the values such as unity, justice, liberty, diversity, fraternity, and most importantly secularity. Ignorance towards the system is ignorance towards your own future. There are few steps that may help you to restore the actual connotation of democracy.
- Stop blaming others for your misery.
- Start educating yourself with reliable sources.
- Take an active part in discussions about solutions and avoid the ones discussing the problem.
- Do not spread news without ensuring its cent percent validity.
- Study an issue from all angles.
- Be ready to change your opinions if you are going for someone else’s
- Spread awareness about the rights and responsibility one has as a citizen.
- Learn when to speak.
- Before raising your voice speak in your own head.
There is absolutely no doubt that democracy is what an independent India needs and is what this India needs. The vision of Babasaheb was not wrong, rather couldn’t have been more accurate. Democracy is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, it is rather complex to grasp. Where on one hand it brings security on the other it brings responsibility.
One should not take it for granted and definitely not forget the base reason for its existence. The sole threat to such a system is division. The division of any form will result in corrupting the entire system. The easiest way of ruling a group is by dividing it and out of every nation, India should understand the need and prominence of unity.
–Written by Rudrakshi Sharma
(Writer, The Legal State)
–Edited by Disha Bohra