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  • 29 August, 2019

  • Min Read

Democracy and its discontents

GS-II: Democracy and its discontents


Civilisation progresses with the evolution of institutions designed by humans to govern their a?airs. Institutions of electoral democracy have evolved over the centuries, with notable innovations in the U.K., France and theU.S. that provided models for electoral democracies everywhere.

Basic forms of democracy are:

DIRECT DEMOCRACY: Citizens participate in the decision-making personally. Example- Switzerland.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: Elected officials represent a group of people. It is an element of both parliamentary and presidential systems of government. Examples – United Kingdom, India, USA, etc.

Democracy in India

  • India is the world’s largest democracy. India became a democratic nation post its independence in the year 1947. Thereafter, the citizens of India were given the right to vote and elect their leaders. In India, it gives its citizens the right to vote irrespective of their caste, color, creed, religion, and gender. It has five democratic principles – sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic.
  • Abraham Lincoln in his famous speech at Gettysburg described democracy as government of the people , by the people,for the people. Democracy is slightly more than that. Apart from political, it is social also. It envisages not only a democratic form of government but a society in which there is free exchange of ideas and each individual enjoys the same status in society.
  • Democracy is a way of life in India .It has grown deep roots. The making of democratic India was not only the result of an ideological preference,but a pragmatic understanding of ground realities.
  • There is no doubt that the present age is the age of democracy, and it has developed into a very strong movement all over the world. Even the Communist countries, which reject the basic western philosophy of democracy, call themselves people’s democracy
  • India not only survived but flourished as a democracy. An important aspect of Indian democratic resilience is the ability to adapt and accommodate to changing realities. In a democracy, economic reforms are an exercise in political persuasion and management and yet our direction remains clear as also our determination to deepen the reform process.
  • Many countries have been unable to resist the temptation of achieving certain economic goals at the cost of effectively curtailing the right of dissent and the freedom of expression .But in India the democratic spirit been instrumental in creating change.


Democracy is important because it gives representation to a larger section of society in the Government. But the world still witnesses full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and even authoritarian regimes. Efforts from institutions like United Nations and nations world over are needed so that representation by citizens of various nations of the world may be met and their voices be heard. At the same time, democracy also needs to have various internal checks like the independence of the judiciary so that its real goals are achieved.

Source: The Hindu

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