The ancient Athenian ruling system has widely been attributed for the origin and emergence of the modern democratic political regime. After the trials and tribulations of two thousand years, it has become successful in engulfing entire globe in its fold, barring Islamic monarchies and communists regimes. Similarly, after independence, India went for parliamentary democratic system with supremacy of constitution. However, we are aware about the proposition that no system in itself is ideal, but the prevailing conditions and leaders decide its fate. In this blog, “Assessment of Indian democracy ” I have decided to present a balancing view about the pros and cons of worlds most common political regime in respect to India.
Meaning of democracy
You know that democracy have many forms which have been evolved since ancient Greek civilization; for example, direct, representative, and constitutional democracies. Out of these, representative and constitutional democratic forms are common in the modern day politics.
According to modern democratic system, it is a type of political regime based on representative principle in which people of that nation elect their’s candidates to govern on the behalf of them within the ambit of constitution.
In other words, citizens of a nation elect representative through free and fair elections to advance theirs interests according to the checks and balances of constitution.
Major features of modern day democracies
Before we proceed to assess modern day democracies, indepth understanding of this system is indispensable. For this purpose, let’s see the major characteristic of modern day democracies in detail.
Supremacy of constitution
Today, there is no form of democracy is purely delineated. According to need and situation, various nations intermixed many features of different forms. Generally, in all the democratic nations, the position of constitution is supreme. It is, undoubtedly, an effective legitimate checks and balances over the ambitious elected representatives. This could only be achieved through the separation of powers among, executive, legislature, and judiciary institutions for healthy functioning.
The supremacy of constitution means, the decisions taken by representatives should not be inconsistent to the constitution. Otherwise, the interests of minorities might be compromised. Moreover, the chances of corruption and nepotism can not be ruled out in the absence of such measure. Nowadays, most of the notable democracies have theirs own supreme constitution.
Free and fair elections
Elections are the powerful checks on the leaders misusing power. Hence, the means of election is utmost important. It is a purifying process through which corrupt is punished; whereas, honest deserves reward. This is the reason why people emphasis on the free and fair elections to elect next government.
Here, free and fair means anyone who has a right to vote can exercise his right. For this, it is the duty of election comission to make such accessible arrangement so that all legitimate voters could caste their’s vote.
Second, fair means free from bias and discrimination. All citizens, irrespective of gender, class, caste, religion, and region do exercise their’s right. Unquestionably, elections are the lifeline of democratic system.
All and equal participation of citizens
Obviously, the fate of democracy depends on the people’s active participation in the all form of processes. Mere voting doesn’t mean that people are actively participating. They have to stand in elections to lead like minded citizens. Besides, it is theirs duty to demand for consistent laws, development, and so on to make the carnival of democracy more relevant and successful. It is the system designed for people and the will of people is the ultimate reality. Then, without active participation, the system will become the puppet in the hands of traditional oligarch.
Human and Fundamental Rights
Human and fundamental rights are highly instrumental to express people’s grivences or will in a democratic manner. After elections, this is the only means through which they can convey their’s demands and feeling about decision taken by government. In addition, no one could confiscate citizens property, restrict freedom, and deprive life without due process of law. Thus, the role of human and fundamental rights is highly important to safeguard the interests of citizens in case of misuse of power.
Rule of law
If we are treating all citizens the ultimate source of power; then, they cannot be ruled by the different laws. For this, the law of constitution is supreme and all are equal before that law. No other law could violate it. Second, no one is above the law. In other words, everyone is treated equally and no one is above the law. In addition, no other law is applicable except the law of constitution. This is the best means to enforce the will of people.
Now let’s see the pros and cons of worlds largest democracy.
So far, Indian democratic regime has successfully completed seven decades. In the course of time, it has created many peaks and troughs. Being the largest democracy of the world, its impartial assessment in the light of mentioned characteristics deserves attention.
India is well known for its unity in diversity. Despite having different languages, religions, and traditions, its impeccable unity is the great message for the entire global community. Over the seven decades of journey has precipitated many things to cheer. Here is the short summary of success of democratic system.
Supremacy of the world’s greatest constitution
Not even a single incident is noted for undermining the constitutional authority in the period of seven decades. Being the guardian of constitution, Supreme Court many a time declared laws passed by legislature as unconstitutional. It means that there is clear-cut separation of powers among the major institutions to ensure better checks and balances. Apex court has, so far, successfully protected the fundamental rights of citizens from encroachment by executive.
Successful seventeen general elections
In India, elections are used to be the democratic carnival. Despite being the second largest country, it is widely acknowledged for its election process across the world. So far, seventeen general elections have been successfully completed without any obstructions and doubts. Geographical barriers failed to thwart the spirit of election campaigns. For this, democratic institutions like election comission is largely aappreciated.
Equal participation and rule of law
People irrespective of caste and religion participate in the democratic processes. Even the poorest of the poor can stand in elections to run office.
Without fear, people stand in queue for hours to cast votes for theirs candidates. So far, there is no incidents of discrimination is recorded.
No person is treated above law except the law of constitution. In the last seven decades, millions of people uplifted out of poverty and ignorance.
Furthermore, adequate incentives in the form of reservations is given for the socially and educationally weaker sections in the democratic decision making.
Citizen can approach court in case of infringement of fundamental rights. In short, people in India are actively participating in the various democratic processes ever since the beginning of system.
Though India is the largest workable democracy in the world, it is not absolutely free from the shortcomings. Now, let’s see the cons of Indian democratic system:-
Nowadays, it is a common thing in the election campaigning. Political leaders irrespective parties, are actively pursuing wrong policies to influence the public opinions.Therefore, genuine issues are taking secondary position.
In India, emotional appeal is the age old tactics. In this case, voters easily fall for leaders temptation, neglecting the most important issues like unemployment, price crash of agricultural commodities, farmers suicides, drought etc.
It is undeniable fact that political system is designed to achieve collective goals. So, what would happen when people are deceived by such manipulative tactics to fulfill narrow minded goals.
Since, one or two decades, leaders are addicted of power politics. It means they are desperate for power at any cost. Use of money power, nuxes between politicians and business houses is too common.
Apart from this, role of media, whether it is print or electronic, is great cause of concern. It is well known to educate people but they are busy to advance the interests of ruling class.
Most importantly, dynastic politics is rapidly mushrooming and penetrating at the local level. Leaders openly accept that people are more in favour of dynastic politics than new face.
Political leaders business interests is also the most serious problem. Here, we must not forget that the fate of any system depends on the Will and satisfaction of the citizens. In India where farmers are loosing hope and youth is jobless. Moreover, the condition of tribals is more than both. In this situation, who will dare to convince them that Indian democratic system is one of the best in the world….
“Greek philosophers Plato and Thucydides regarded democracy as a bad form of government or mob rule, whereas Aristotle saw much virtues of it on condition that it is exercised for common good. ”