In today’s era, people live in democratic countries where they are themselves powerful enough to form a government as per their own will. It’s the democracy that makes them feel free, independent, and powerful enough to make choices and to affect the will of the government (legislator).
The roots of the word ‘democracy’ come from the Greek word ‘Demos’ meaning ‘people’ and ‘ketos’ which means ‘power’, and together it comes to mean ‘power of the people.’ It is a way of governance that depends on the will of the people. The Greek model of democracy was first established in 5 century BC in the city of Athens, and the main model of Athenian democracy continues to exist.
One can find two main drawbacks of early Athenian democracy. Firstly, in a direct form of democracy, the people, instead of electing representatives to form the government, themselves try to make and debate questions of governance and then implemented the policy.
The second difference is that this system of a direct form of democracy was partly possible because the category that influences and contests it are people who belong to the ‘majority’ category which tends to exclude women, children, slaves, immigrants as well as differences in economic disparity.
But, today, there are as many different types of democracy. There are democratic nations, presidential, and parliamentary democracies, democracy is that a federal or unitary, democracy is that uses proportional voting system, a democracy that uses a majoritarian system, and so on.
One main thing that unites the modern system of democracy is that they all select representatives and send them to govern, or to work according to the will of the people, and this is a representative democracy. It is a kind of contract where a group of people agrees to have one person to represent their will and the majority of will prevails.
There are two most common ways to participate in a democratic government, first, by casting votes and secondly, by standing for office and became a representative of the people. However, both ways are subject to the constitution of the nation, as to how much a constitution of a country liberates or restricts the people from participating in the democracy.
For example, some countries prohibit a prisoner from voting but some don’t. Among all the democratic countries, India is considered as the largest democratic country. India became a democratic state after its independence in 1947 after a long period of colonial rule India, got swaraj (independence), and became its own sovereign.
Democracy in India is not limited to just providing the right to vote to its citizens but, it also works towards social and economic equality. Indian democracy runs on values based on the principle of being a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic. These are the principles provided by the constitution of India.
While elections have been happening regularly and despite following a systematic approach to conducting elections since the beginning, there have been many hindrances in the smooth functioning of democracy. This includes illiteracy, gender-based discrimination, poverty, culture disparity, political influence, casteism, and communalism. Moreover, democracy is run with the will of the people, and democracy is often said to be the most challenging form of government, as every member of a state has the right to control the representative through the input of vote and to determine the direction of the country.
It is a question mark, or maybe an upcoming fact, as to what would happen when society proposes ‘ill-will’ that may harm mankind. What if the people want to pursue ill-will, like religious fanaticism or fascism, or any other kind of psychopathic desire which may have devastating consequences for others?
Democracy is a map with a blank road where the rule of the mob seemingly supervises the direction, and often the people’s representative (politicians) are often under pressure of certain lobbies or groups to support a particular policy. Teddy Roosevelt, former president of the USA said that “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the use.”
People need to be more responsible and aware of their decision-making power, and the role of morality should ensure a fair, peaceful, healthy, and prosperous democratic nation.
About the authors: Janmejai Singh Hada and Harshvardhan Chauhan are LLB students at the School of Law, Manipal University, Jaipur.