What is Democracy and its 10 important features

What is Democracy


You must have heard on radio or seen on T.V or must have read that India is one of the largest democratic country of the world, where as Pakistan has  a non democratic form of government or dictatorship. We are going to study about democracy and dictatorship, the two most prevalent forms of government prevailing in the present world.

We will study the major features of Democratic governments, why is it the most prevalent form of government in the world, what makes it better than other forms of government?

Definition of Democracy

The  term ‘democracy’ has been derived from two Greek words ‘demos’ which means people and ‘kratos’ meaning ‘The power’. Democracy therefore, means rule by the people. Democracy is a form of government in which the ruling power  is vested in the hands of the people and the government is answerable to the people who can change it through constitutional means.There are basically two types of democracies:

1) Direct democracy
2) Indirect democracy

1) Direct democracy

This is the oldest and the real form of democracy in which the people directly participate in managing the affairs of the state. Such of form of democracy existed in the ancient Greek city States.These cities States used to have very small population,therefore, all the adults could participate in the affairs of government but now the city States have been replaced by Nation states and there has been an immense increase in the population of the states. Therefore,direct democracy is no more popular.

2) indirect democracy:

Indirect democracy is also known as representative democracy. In  indirect democracy, people elect their reprecentatives on the basis of the universal adult franchise and through to them they carry on their administration. Representatives are responsible to two people for the exercise of their powers. These days indirect democracy is prevalent in countries like India, England, America,France, Japan etc.

Origin of democracy

The seed of representative democracywe’re arguably sown in the Roman republic.democratic principles and elements have also been argued for the Mahajanapadas of ancient India and also in the local Sanghas,Ganas and Panchayats that existed throughout the centuries of India. However, political rights were granted only to Nobel or  upper class people. In these republic powers were typically vested in the hands of an elite class. In the case of the village panchayats, the picture is somewhat more democratic. Panchayat in essence,is a meeting of town people mediated by a group of village elders, and so it is an example of a direct democracy.

Features of democracy or why do we need democracy?

We have studied about democracy that more and more countries are adopting this form of government.

1) Government based on the will of the people: 

democracy is based on the will of the people and its functions according to their consent. The factors that democratic government cannot ignore the interests of the people.To run administration the government makes policies and plans keeping in mind public interests and the representative is elected by the people pay due respect to the wishes of the people. On the other hand dictatorship is based on the will of an individual or group and the government functions according to his wish.

2) welfare of all:

Democratic government does not look after the interest of any particular caste, class, or group,rather it looks after the interest of all and provides equal opportunities to all for their development. The government makes economic and social plans for the welfare of all. In case the government does not do so, the people can change it during next elections.

3) Responsible government:

democratic government is responsible government the representatives are elected by the people on the basis of universal adult franchise remain responsible to the people and in case they do not remain responsible before the people, the people can change them during the next elections.

4) Possibility of good laws:

in a democratic government the representatives have direct relation with the people therefore they properly understand their problems and interests.They properly represent the interests of the people in the assemblies and the Parliament and always try to get the good laws passed.Under dictatorship laws are passed according to the will of The dictator.

5) Political education:

The greatest merit of democracy is its educative value.participation in elections and other political activities, make the people intelligent and politically conscious. It is very helpful to the people to be conscious and aware. Political education should be  essential for every citizen.

6) Based on liberty, fraternity and equality:

In democracy the rights and the liberties of the people are well safeguarded. People are given freedom to express their views without any fear. They can criticize the wrong policies of the government. Democracy also provides equality to the people. All citizens get equal opportunities. Democracy also promotes fraternity among the people because in IT everybody is treated alike.

7) Democracy improves the quality of decision making:

1.Democracy is based on consultation and discussion.2. A democratic decision always involves many persons, discussions and meetings.when a number of people put their hands together, they are able to point out possible mistakes in any decision.3.As most of the decisions are taken by discussions it reduces the chances of rash or irresponsible decisions.4.If the decision taken is not according to the wishes of the people they have the right to protest against it and they can even for the government to withdraw it.But this kind of liberty is not available in a non democratic country.

8) Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts:

1.Democracy provides all the citizens some basic rights through which they can give their opinion.2.Democracy provides a chance to all the citizens to choose their representatives and change them if they do not work according to their wishes.3. In Parliament, all the members have the right to give their opinion.4.Democracy provides the citizens the right to follow any religion.

9) Democracy is better than other forms of government because it allows the people to correct its mistakes:

There is no guarantee that mistakes cannot be made in a democracy. No form of government can guarantee that.The advantage in a democracy is that such mistakes cannot be hidden for long.There is a scope for public discussion on these mistakes and there is a scope for correction.

10) Democracy enhances the dignity of citizens:

1. Democracy is based on the principle of political equality. So all the citizens whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated have the same status.

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