Democracy-Has It Succeeded In India
In the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, the resident of the United States of America, ‘Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people’. This definition contains within it all the provisions of the democratic form of government. It is a form of government which is formed by the people of the country through their representatives whom they elect and send up to form the government and such a government when formed is expected to work for the general welfare of the people of the country.
The Preamble to the Constitution states as under ;
`We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens : Justice, Social, Economic and Political liberty of thought, Expression, Belief Faith of worship : Equality of status and of opportunity: and to promote among them all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. In our Constituent Assembly do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution.’ Our country is being governed on these democratic lines ever since our country won her independence. But questions are raised time and again, if the governments, as and in the manner formed do really reflect, and respect the democratic norms. Is our country fit for a democratic form of government? Do the people who elect their representatives really do it of their free will ? Are the elected representatives working really for the welfare and service of the electorate ? Are they really working for the people ?
Assessing the entire political scenario of our country in this light, what we find lacking most in the set up is that lack of education, rather lack of literacy is our electorate’s greatest handicap. For the successful working of democracy what is required is an enlightened electorate who look upon their responsibility and exercise their right of franchise with a free will. Are they really fit for exercising their free franchise ?
Despite these drawbacks, democracy has succeeded in India. Our electorate is mature enough to judge and vote as it has been revealed time and again, particularly in the 1977, 1989, and 1991 general elections. This is a silver lining in the dark clouds that engulf us today. Democracy has to be nurtured, sustained and protected even if we have to make the supreme sacrifice for it otherwise, dictatorship and autocratic rule shall creep in and damage the fabric of the nation further. Proper democratic functioning is the only panacea for the problems faced by the teeming millions of the country. In order to make the functioning of democracy more successful, the provision of the right to recall people’s elected representatives (as it exists in Switzerland) must be incorporated in our system, so that leaders become more accountable and responsible to the people. Drastic change in our electoral system must be brought about so that elections are free, fair and impartial in the true sense of the term and that they inspire the confidence of the people. The four pillars of democracy, legislature, executive, judiciary and the press must be strengthened. The sanctity of these institutions must not be eroded. To top it all, political education must be imparted to the populace at all levels to make them aware of their rights as well as responsibilities. The vast networks of AIR and doordarshan must be employed for this purpose. This would help curb the snowballing political violence and the cult of the gun that have become a part and parcel of Indian democracy today. Democracy has succeeded in India. And if these measures are initiated and implemented, it will soon become the strongest system operating in the world and inspire other people to follow India’s lead. At last, it is rightly said by Dr. S. Radhakrishna. “Democracy requires us to respect each individual as sacred.”