India is the largest democratic country in the world. Democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
Democracy is considered the finest form of government in which every individual participates consciously and in which the people remain the sovereign power determining their destiny. So, in democracy the people are the ultimate source of power and its success and failure depend on their wisdom, consciousness and vigilance.
It is not possible for all the people in a big country like India to participate in the government. This is why they are required to exercise their franchise and elect their representatives at regular intervals. These representatives from the parliament legislate and form responsible government.
Such governments can be either unitary or federal. In India we have the federal form having both a government at the center responsible to the parliament and governments in the states elected and equally responsible to their legislative assemblies. But the people who participate in the election of their representatives must be educated enough to see what is good for them and who will be the right people to represent them.
India became free only in 1947 after many years of colonial rule. In the following years India had her constitution that declared India as a democratic federal republic. The first democratic election on the basis of universal adult franchise was held in 1952. However, during that election the people of India did not really had the necessary consciousness to understand democracy. They did not had the education to choose between good and evil. Many people were victims of age-old poverty, ignorance and superstitions. Many of them did not even understand the difference between the British and the new rulers. However, the entire election process were held through a democratic process.
Even to-day, after so many years, the people in India are not very much different, for many of them are illiterates. A large number of people are still below poverty level. In spite of efforts taken by the government, the Indian democracy could not the desired changes and to attain the goal of food for all, shelter for all, basic necessities for all and education for all.
There are certain conditions that are necessary for the success of Democracy in India. Those are:
- Empowerment of the poor and illiterates to enjoy and protect democracy;
- Willingness among the elected representatives to sincerely perform their duties and not to take advantage of the ignorance and poverty of the voters;
- Willingness among intelligent, educated, and efficient people to assume the leadership role;
- Willingness among the elected people not to misuse their powerful position and public wealth;
- Eradication of social evils and dangers from which democracy suffers;
- Fair, impartial, and efficient press to form public opinion;
- Presence of strong public opinion;
- Feeling of tolerance and communal harmony among the people;
- Awareness among the people of the fundamental rights that they are entitled to enjoy;
- Conscious check and vigilance on the working of the elected representatives;
- Powerful, and responsible opposition.
It is believed by some that democracy has been of in grave peril. For, it has failed to fulfill man’s expectations.
Every form of government, whether democratic or dictatorship, has both advantages and disadvantages. Indian democracy, without doubt, is very effective and proved to be very successful. It has successfully ensured individual freedom.
It is true that, in spite of various efforts, democracy has failed to fulfill human-being’s expectations. It has failed to completely eradicate poverty, injustices, social-evils and inequalities from the Indian society.
However, we must keep in mind that there is no better form of government than a Democratic government. It is, beyond doubt, a better form of government that aristocracy, dictatorship, and monarch. There is no better alternative to democracy. To create a better society and nation, the people of India along with the union and state governments should come together to fight against the miseries of human life.
Suggested External Readings
1. Democracy in India at Wikipedia
Category: Administration in India, Essays, Paragraphs and Articles
At the heart of all problems lies the politics of the country. We opted for democracy as our political system. But I have been wondering for quite some time – how democratic is Indian polity?
Indian polity has failed to provide solutions to the common man’s problems. If a government teacher plays truant or does not teach properly, can the parents do anything about it? Or if a doctor in a government hospital does not treat properly or does not give medicines? What can a poor person do if the ration shop keeper openly siphons off rations? Or what can any one of us do if the policeman refuses to register my FIR or registers a false case against us?
We cannot do anything about it. We can only complain to higher authorities who do not act upon our complaints. So, the citizens do not have any control over government employees.
We also do not have any control over government funds. Sundernagari, a slum in East Delhi does not have a secondary school, water, sewer, etc. The people have been demanding these things for ages. But the government says there are no funds. But the government made fountains worth Rs 60 lakh a few years back. Obviously the people did not need fountains. These fountains did not work for a single day, even on the inauguration day, because there is no water!
Likewise, we see that the same footpaths and roads are broken and repaired again and again. But the road in front of my house never gets repaired.
So we, the citizens of India, do not have any control over government funds. Government money is our money. We pay taxes. Even a beggar on the street pays tax – when he buys a piece of soap, he pays sales tax and many other taxes. All this money belongs to us. And we have absolutely no control over it?
We also do not have any control over government policies or the kind of laws passed by our legislatures. Recently, the government introduced Nuclear Civil Liability Bill. It seeks to cap the liability of a foreign company to just Rs 500 crore in the event of an accident on its nuclear reactor. It will have no criminal liability. I thought the government was playing with our lives. Almost selling our lives. And why is the government doing this? Some companies seem to be lobbying for this Bill. And we, the people of India, have no say in it?
So, we have no control over government employees, government funds, government policies. Is this democracy? Just vote once in five years and then plead before the same people who you voted to power? Or plead before the officials who take salary out of your taxes?
We have a democracy of elections to elections. After winning an election, the parties become brazen and arrogant. They would do all wrong things and if you question them, they would say – why don’t you change the government next time? But that would be five years later. What do I do right now? I am suffering right now.
Right to Information is a small concrete step in making our polity more democratic. In this bizarre democracy of elections to elections, it has given power to the people to "just question" the governments. Is it not time to move a step forward and demand some kind of direct participation in government decision making? Is that possible?
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author's own.
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