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  1 Forms of Government DEMOCRACY   Priyamvada Yadav B.A. LL.B (H) Self-finance   Introduction There are different forms of government that exist in today‟s political world and most  popular of them all is „Democracy‟. Democracy has been defined as „a type of society and a manner of life‟, as an ideal or as an end in itself and not just a form of choosing and authorizing government. A concept that has its roots in Ancient Greece. The word „democracy‟ is derived from the Greek word „kratos‟ meaning „power‟ or „rule‟ and „demos‟ meaning „the many‟ or „the people‟ , hence the rule of the people. 1  Until the nineteenth century, the cause of democracy was not widely taken up by the political thinkers and was just referred as a rule by the ignorant and unenlightened masses. However, in today‟s scenario, it seems that we are all democratic. Democracy, today is thus, described as a system of government under which the people exercise the governing power either directly or through representatives periodically elected by themselves. This means that a State may, in political science, be termed a democracy if it provides institutions for the expression and, in the last analysis, the supremacy of the popular will on basic questions of social direction and policy 2 . The modern understanding of democracy is dominated by the form of electoral democracy that has developed in the industrialized West, often called liberal democracy. 1  Andrew Heywood,  Political Theory: An Introduction, 143 (Palgrave, US, 4 th  edn., 2015). 2  R.C. Vermani,  An Introduction to Political Theory, 262 (Gitanjali Publishing House, New Delhi, 2 nd  edn., 2011)  2 Role of Democracy   The opportunity for political participation, political equality and the possibility of an alternative government- these make a state democratic in form. The conditions for the successful work of democracy include firstly, the widespread habit of tolerance and compromise among the members of a community, a sense of „give and take‟. This  is necessary because democracy involves the conception of majority rule, and the acquiescence of the minority in the decision of the majority. If either of them presses its demands at the expense of the other, democracy becomes difficult to work. The second condition involves the provision of adequate opportunities for the individual to develop his personality: access to knowledge through a system of state-aided free education, security against unemployment, a minimum wage (which should include provision against sickness and for old age), coupled with fair conditions of work, leisure, and some voice in determining the conditions of work to guard against economic slavery. This implies that vast disparities in the distribution of national wealth should be progressively reduced. „Survey the countries of the world‟, writes Dubs: „you may find elsewhere greater  political achievements, but assuredly in no country will you meet so many good citizens of independent opinions and sound practical judgment; nowhere so great a number of  public men who succeed in fulfilling their functions in minor spheres with dignity and skill; nowhere so large a proportion of persons who, outside their daily round, interest themselves so keenly in the welfare and in the difficulties of their fellow citizens.‟ 3  Certain features of democracy involve: a)   a form of government of the poor and the disadvantaged;  b)   a government that is direct and continuous; 3 John Hoffman, Paul Graham,  Introduction to Political Theory ,117 (Dorling Kindersley, New Delhi, 2 nd  edn., 2010)  3 c)   a system of equality and individual merit; d)   a system of decision making i.e. a majority rule; e)   a government that tries to secure rights of minorities. The difficulty and the importance of leadership in democracy arise from two facts: i.   In the complex society of modern days, on most of the questions which matter in government, a general will  –   in the sense of a clearly desired end related to the means by which this end may be realized- simply does not exist. ii.   For most people, government is only a part and, with many, the least important  part, of the business of life. For such people, earning a living, family and social calls and amusements occupy a good part of their time and attention. The functions of leaders in a democracy involve the protection of the rights of the people, to think out what are the best interests of the community in a given period, to rouse men and women to a sense of their common interest and their public duty and to reshape their interests in the light of altered circumstances. Models of Democracy 1.   Classical Democracy : It was direct democracy and Athens was the abode of such a democracy. The classical democracy of Athens assumed the form of mass meeting. The Athenians periodically met together to take stock of the situation of the state and make policies and decisions. All the full time public officials were chosen by the Athenians through lottery or election. 2.    Protective Democracy :  It highlights a quite different aspect. In the words of Heywood, “democracy was seen less as a mechanism through which public could  participate in political life, and more as a device through which citizens could  protect themselves from the encroachments of government, hence protective democracy”.  Here democracy has been viewed as a means at the disposal of individuals which they can use to safeguard their rights and liberties.    4 3.    Developmental Democracy : According to J.S. Mill democracy was a very  powerful mechanism of moral self-development and highest and harmonious expansion of individual capacities. We are thus in a possession of two elements of development. One is moral self-development and the other is development of individual capacities.  4.    People’s Democracy or Marxist Model of Democracy : In communist ideology, a country or form of government in transition from bourgeois democracy to socialism. In this stage there is more than one class, the largest  being the proletariat, led by the Communist Party, which is therefore the dominant  power. Direct and Indirect Democracy   At the time of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln extolled the virtues of what he called „government of the people, by the people, and for the people‟. 4  Through this, he drew a distinction between two contrasting notions of democracy. The first, a government  by the people which is based on the idea that the public participates in government and indeed governs itself: popular self-government. The second, government for the people, is linked to the notion of the public interest and the idea that government benefits the  people, whether or not they themselves rule. 4  Andrew Heywood,  Political Theory: An Introduction, 143 (Palgrave, US, 4 th  edn., 2015)
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