As a counselor, it has been my duty to help children understand the principles of a healthy democracy. I did this through role-plays.
Meaning and Essence
The Indian preamble assures as below:
"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and opportunity, and to promote among them all, FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation".
The United States preamble states as under:-
"We the People of the United States, to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".
In simple words, we can say “democracy is the form of government that is for the people, of the people, and by the people”.
The people in a democratic country are themselves the rulers. But that governance is done by their elected representatives, on their behalf.
Thus, fulfilling all the desires and aspirations of the citizens are the first and foremost duty of these legislators.
Types of Democracies
Six types of democracies have been propagated by the stalwarts and apostles of the democratic forms of governance. They are as under:
- Classical Democracy
- Protective Democracy
- Development Democracy
- Participatory Democracy
- Cosmopolitan Democracy
- Marxist democracy
All the above forms have their unique features. They have to be studied and understood very minutely before being implemented. They should never be taken in toto.
Since the second world war, a new form of democracy has grown. Many consider it ‘a dynastic democracy'.
It has flourished fast and taken deep roots. It has developed since the British rule ended everywhere.
During the days of the kings, and dictators, the citizens said, “The king is dead; long live the king.”
Today it is, “The emperors and kings are dead; long live the new political kings and their dynasties.”
Who do you think would develop more, the countries or the new dynasties? It should be the thought-food for all citizens.
The essential and basic features of democracy are very clear. But they are easily manipulated in thought and action by politicians to suit their private, and personal ends.
We must first recollect the three important pillars that support democracy – legislative, executive, and judiciary. The fourth pillar that is considered today is the press.
These pillars are the four wheels and democracy is the royal vehicle. But unless all the four wheels move in unison the car is bound to crash someplace. Isn’t it visible in most democracies of the world?
Today it’s either unitary, federal or mixed forms of democracies. They are even known as the presidential or parliamentary forms.
But whatever be the case all democracies work at will, over-ruling their stated path.
Divide & Rule
The representatives of this parliamentary democracy are elected to the legislative. Before the elections, they move from door to door, and area to area pledging to fulfill all the requirements of the people.
But, after reaching the parliament or other houses they become power-filled gas balloons. All the promises and pledges are things of the past.
Their only considerations are more executive powers and means of building their empires.
So, to accomplish their dreams and remain in the hot seat they resort to the greatest democratic tool in their hands; divide and rule.
This is the extremely greatest knowledge they have learned from their masters; the British.
In most countries, the democratic system has deteriorated. It is the second side of the coin.
These demerits have to be looked into. It could be done if rules were framed that allowed using the best ideas of the classical or Athenian democracy.
The demerits that need looking into could be these:
- Removing the lack of knowledge in the common man regarding the democratic process.
- How to prevent mob rule by politicians, and people's direct participation.
- Checking the promises made by their chosen representatives, before elections.
- Curtailing the increasing greed of these legislative members.
The present system is slowly becoming valueless. It needs reworking and complete overhauling. If not nipped in the bud it’s going to become from bad to worse.
Democracy and democratic forms of governance are the biggest gifts of the two world wars. The two biggest democracies of the world being the US and India.
But the greed and narrow-mindedness of many politicians are undermining its value. It is slowly poisoning and making dents in the system.
Proper medications are required. ‘It's better late than never.’ It should be remembered that human beings and our globe ought to be placed before anything else.
It is a fact that the three main pillars of democracy - legislative, executive, and judiciary don’t work in unison. Many a time they can be seen at loggerheads with each other. The press sometimes adds fuel to such fires.
These clashes leave the common citizens in pain, agony, and loss of achieving, even, their basic requirements.
Hence, the word of warning to all citizens,” Wake up from your great slumber, rise, and set right”. Else, please don’t complain. You shall ultimately have to bear the brunt.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Bharat Sharan
Bharat Sharan (author) from Dhanbad on March 30, 2021:
Ya Flourish, you're absolutely right. We have to be on our toes and alert to save democracy from being hijacked.
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 30, 2021:
The political events of the last 4-5 years have made me truly value democracy. I cannot believe the pickle that we have put ourselves in. I'm glad that the current President has finally brought a sense of stability and order back. Hopefully, we can regain our footing at home and in the world.