Topic outline

    • What is Democracy? Why Democracy?

      Q48. Why is democracy considered the best form of government?


      Why is democracy better than any other form of government?


      How is democracy better than other forms of government?


      Why do we prefer democracy over any other form of government? Give four reasons.

      Ans. Democracy is considered the best form of government because of the following reasons:

      1. Democracy cannot get us everything and is not the solution to all problems. But it is clearly better than any other alternative that we know. 

      2. It offers better chances of a good decision; it is likely to respect people’s own wishes and allows different kinds of people to live together. 

      3. Even when it fails to do some of these things, it allows a way of correcting its mistakes and offers more dignity to all citizens. 


      Q49. Write any three instances of denial of equal rights to vote in the world politics.


      Explain briefly how is the principle of one person one vote denied in the following countries: a) Saudi Arabia (b) Estonia (c) Fiji.

      Ans. Democracy is based on a fundamental principle of political equality. In a democracy, each adult citizen must have one vote and each vote must have one value. Yet, there are many instances of denial of equal right to vote.

      1. In Saudi Arabia women do not have the right to vote.

      2. Estonia has made its citizenship rules in such a way that people belonging to Russian minority find it difficult to get the right to vote.

      3. In Fiji, the electoral system is such that the vote of an indigenous Fiji has more value than that of an Indian-Fijian.


      Q50. Are the following statements in keeping with democracy as a value? Why?

      (a) Father to daughter: I don’t want to hear your opinion about your marriage. In our family children marry where the parents tell them to.

      (b) Teacher to student: Don’t disturb my concentration by asking me questions in the classroom.

      (c) Employee to the officer: Our working hours must be reduced according to the law. 

      Ans. (a) The statement made is an undemocratic statement as the girl is not allowed to express her opinion on her marriage. As per our Constitution, every citizen who is 18 or above has the right to marry according to his/her choice. 

      (b) The statement made is undemocratic as the student is being denied the right to ask questions/clear his doubts. 

      (c) The statement made is a democratic statement because here the employees are asking for their fundamental right. 


      Q51. Mention any three essential feature of democracy.


      What are the three main features of democracy?


      What are the 4 features of democracy?

      Ans. The essential features of democracy are:

      1. In a democracy the final decision making power must rest with those elected by the people.

      2. A democracy must be based on a free and fair election where those currently in power have a fair chance of losing.

      3. In a democracy, each adult citizen must have one vote and each vote must have one value.

      4. A democratic government rules within limits set by constitutional law and citizens’ rights.


      Q52. Each of these statements contains a democratic and an undemocratic element. Write out the two separately for each statement.

      (a) A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the parliament in order to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

      (b) The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency where large-scale rigging was reported.

      (c) Women’s representation in the parliament has barely reached 10 per cent. This led women’s organisations to demand one-third seats for women.

      Ans. (a) Democratic: Passing of the laws by the Parliament.

      Undemocratic: Conforming to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation.

      (b) Democratic: The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency.

      Undemocratic: Large scale rigging was reported.

      (c) Democratic: Demand by Women’s Organisation to reserve one-third seats for women.

      Undemocratic: Women’s representation in the parliament is less than 10 per cent.


      Q53. What was PRI? Highlight four dirty tricks played by it to win elections in Mexico. 


      Why was every election won by PRI in Mexico?

      Ans. Until 2000 every election was won by a party called PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). Opposition parties did contest elections, but never managed to win. The PRI was known to use many dirty tricks to win elections. All those who were employed in government offices had to attend its party meetings. Teachers of government schools used to force parents to vote for the PRI. Media largely ignored the activities of opposition political parties except to criticise them. Sometimes the polling booths were shifted from one place to another in the last minute, which made it difficult for people to cast their votes. The PRI spent a large sum of money in the campaign for its candidates.


      Q54. China's famine of 1958-61 was a result of government policies. Justify

      Ans. China's famine of 1958-61

      1. China’s famine of 1958-1961 was the worst recorded famine in world history. During those days, India’s economic condition was not much better than China. Yet India did not have a famine of the kind China had. 

      2. Economists think that this was a result of different government policies in the two countries. The existence of democracy in India made the Indian government respond to food scarcity in a way that the Chinese government did not. 

      3. They point out that no large-scale famine has ever taken place in an independent and democratic country. If China too had multiparty elections, an opposition party and a press free to criticise the government, then so many people may not have died in the famine.


      Q55. How does a democracy provide a platform to deal with differences and conflicts?


      Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts. Explain


      1. In any society people are bound to have differences of opinions and interests. These differences are particularly sharp in a country like ours which has an amazing social diversity.

      2. The conflict can be solved by brutal power. Whichever group is more powerful will dictate its terms and others will have to accept that. But that would lead to resentment and unhappiness. 

      3. Different groups may not be able to live together for long in such a way. Democracy provides the only peaceful solution to this problem. In democracy, no one is a permanent winner. No one is a permanent loser. Different groups can live with one another peacefully. In a diverse country like India, democracy keeps our country together.