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Is democracy a success?

Posted by nkashokbharan on June 19, 2009

in this contemporary globe – we talk more about democracy but do we really get the point of democracy? – this question stroked into my mind after listening a long lecture on democracy at my Political Science class.

Well what is democracy? it means that the state power is held by people of that state or simply the people decides the ruler (or rulers) of the state. This system is believed to be fist in practice in Greece, and later spread all over the globe – may be not in the same model but took many different forms based on the same concept. From those before Christ days up to now democracy has been very complicated and a tough thing to practice exactly the way it is meant to.

democracy - a challenge!Yes, it is true that in democracy it claims that the people are the deciders, that means giving equal rights to all people to decide their ruler (or rulers), but does that mean that really ‘the people’ are deciding? – no, it is the ‘majority opinion’ which is deciding. So simply we can define democracy as ‘majority’s choice’.

‘democracy’ became a real need for all those people who suffered under monarchs. when the majority felt that they are discriminated by the monarchy , they rebelled against it and after the successful downfall of the monarchy – they chose a  ruling system which suited them – which gave them all rights, which fulfilled their aspirations – this thing happened mostly in the western countries like UK & France where they had one community & one language for the whole country so democracy seemed working for them.

But when this theory was applied to the eastern countries in the 17th,18th & 19th centuries, which had many communities, ethnicities, castes, religions, and very well diverse in many ways then a problem occurred. As we said earlier democracy is ‘majority’s choice’ – and when it came into these multi ethnic nations – the communities which had population power easily chose the rulers and satisfied their needs and aspirations from them, whereas due to their lack of population the other ethnicities were considered ‘the minorities’ and discriminated from achieving their aspirations! This is what has caused many problems in these eastern nations. In one perspective democracy has failed in these nations but democracy isn’t a constant avatar, it is a thought which can be dressed up the way which suits us, thus when it is moulded into a suitable system which satisfies all ethnic communities – then that will prove successful. A great example for this is Switzerland. The Swiss federal government model is a great forefront system for all multi ethnic countries yet we should understand that it is hard to practice.

democracy has its’ advantages but it will also be disadvantages if not properly tailored according to your needs, because we cannot practice the same model of democracy followed in the UK in India and we cannot assume that American democracy model will suite Sri Lanka, because each & every nation’s nature & needs are different and the systems & models too should differ too.

we should note one important thing in democracy. If at all democracy in a country is used by the ‘majority’ to ruthlessly rule the ‘minority’ – the goodness of democracy will be demolished and the country will have to face many challenges in succeeding as a prosperous nation. So it is an important duty of the political intellectuals to find a proper and suitable model of democracy to their country considering the needs and aspirations not only of the majority but also of the minority.

Let’s make democracy a success!


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