JAC Board Class 10 Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 8 Challenges to Democracy
→ Thinking about challenges
- Democracy is the dominant form of government in the contemporary world. It does not face a serious challenge or rival.
- The promise of democracy is far realized anywhere in the worlds
- Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does not mean that it does not face any challenges.
- A challenge is not just any problem. We usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which is significant and which can be overcome.
- A challenge is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for progress.
- The first challenge is a foundational challenge, of making the transition to democracy and then instituting democratic government.
- The second challenge is the challenge of expansion. This involves applying the basic principle of democratic government across all the regions, different social groups and various institutions.
- The third challenge is of deepening of democracy is faced by every democracy in one ‘form or another. This involves the strengthening of the institutions and practices of democracy.
→ Thinking about political reforms
- Generally, all the suggestions or proposals about overcoming various challenges to democracy are called ‘democratic reform’ or ‘political reform’.
- If all the countries do not have the same challenges, it follows that everyone cannot follow the same recipe of political reforms.
- We can develop some proposals for reforms at the national level.
- But the real challenge of reforms may not lie at the national level.
- Instead of that let us think of some broad guidelines that can be kept in mind while devising ways and means for political reforms in India:
- It is very tempting to think of legal ways of reforming politics, to think of new laws to ban undesirable things. But this temptation needs to be resisted.
- Any legal change must carefully look at what results it will have on politics. Sometimes the results may be counter-productive.
- Democratic reforms are to be brought about principally through political practice. Therefore, the main focus of political reforms should be on ways to strengthen democratic practice.
- Any proposal for political reforms should think not only about what is the good solution but also about who will implement it and how.
- Let us keep these general guidelines in mind and look at some specific instances of challenges to democracy that require some measure of reform.
→ Redefining democracy
- We began this tour of democracy last year with a minimal definition of democracy.
- We then looked at many cases and expanded the definition slightly to add some definitions:
- The rulers elected by the people must take all the major decisions;
- Elections must offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers;
- This choice and opportunity should be available to all the people on an equal basis; and
- The exercise of this choice must lead to a government limited by basic rules of the Constitution and citizens’ right.
- You may have felt disappointed that the definition did not refer to any high ideals that we associate with democracy.
- You may have noticed that in the course of our discussions of various aspects of democratic government and politics, we have gone beyond that definition:
- We discussed democratic rights at length and noted that these rights are not limited to the rights to vote, stand in elections and form political organizations.
- We have taken up power sharing as the spirit of democracy and discussed how power sharing between governments and social groups is necessary for a democracy.
- We saw how democracy cannot be the brute rule of the majority and how a respect for minority voice is necessary for democracy.
- Our discussion of democracy has gone beyond tfie government and its activities.
- Finally, we have had some discussion about some outcomes that one can expect from democracy.
- In doing so, we have not gone against the definition of democracy offered last year. We began then with a definition of what is the minimum a country must have to be called a democracy.