The simple meaning of democracy is rule by people. If you go a bit deeper, democracy is defined as a system where the majority elects a country’s government. Going further into detail, the elected representatives that have a majority form the government of a democracy. In such a case, a party voted by a majority of people may lose an election because their number of elected representatives are less.
The 2016 U.S. election is an example where Hillary Clinton lost the election despite winning the popular vote over Donald Trump. The same also happens in India if you take the last assembly election of Karnataka and MP.
JFK said, “Democracy is for the people, of the people, and by the people.” I consider this to be the best definition of democracy. Is India a true democracy? The point is simple; democracy is a very broad term. Every country has a different type of democratic setup. No democracy in the world is either perfect or true.
Let me give another aspect to it. Many ask, “How mature is the Indian democracy, compared to western countries?” The answer is simple, India is as mature or immature as other democracies of the world because the forms of democracies are unique in every nation.
On what should the answer be based? If we go by the Constitutional provisions, I would say yes, democracy is functioning well. Power transfer is always smooth. Laws are made as per Constitutional provisions. Even Constitutional amendments are done as per the provisions mentioned in it.
There might be bureaucratic red-tapism, but I don’t think that contradicts anything written in Constitution. People may cite any adversities, but believe me, if you go by laws, clauses, etc., you will find it a true democracy.
But then, is this type of assessment correct?
I will again go back to JFK’s quote of “a democracy is for the people, of the people and by the people”. To assess a democracy about its perfectness or truer shape, we need to investigate how the real people perform in this democracy. That will define if Indian democracy truly performs.
The Constitution makes people the master of this democracy. It vested a responsibility onto us to choose representatives who will govern this country democratically. Does that happen? People sell their votes. People vote either based on caste or religion. People vote being influenced by something.
It’s people who vote criminals, corrupts and even inefficient dynasts. All these are Constitutional because people have the right. What people forget is that the Constitutional right itself is a democratic duty.
The point is simple. Ask yourself a question, “Am I truthful to my democracy?” That will give you the answer. And believe me, the same situation exists worldwide because people of all democracies are not truthful.