Essay Introduction

Democracy as rightly defined by Abraham Lincoln is ‘Government of the people, for the people and by the people.’ Thus the people have a major stake in the functioning of the government, which is a major reason for this system of government thriving in the world. Such a form of government is bound to succeed, as it owes its strength to the popular support of the people. India is in fact one of the largest democratic country in the world, a fact in which we pride ourselves. Is our pride justified?

Practiced in India since ages, present Democracy based on the west

This form of government is nothing new to as; in fact it is in our ethos. The form of collective decision making practiced in Gram Panchayats, dates back to times immemorial, when democratic practices were unheard of in the world.


However, with our becoming independent, the architects of our constitution laid out the foundations of a truly democratic and secular country. They rightly visualised that a country as large as India, with a vast multitude of caste, creed and religion, could only thrive in a democracy setup, where the aspiration of the people could be effectively reflected.

Keeping this in mind they framed our constitution, which has adopted all the good facets of the American and British constitution. In order that it truly reflect the aspirations of the people, provision of reservations were made for backward classes and communities, so that they could have an effective say in the governance of the country. Such provisions were made in every sphere like Education, Employment, Legislature and Parliament, so that all segment of the population enjoy the fruit of freedom without feeling alienated.

Discrepancies that have crept in due to divisive caste and creed feelings

However, the lofty ideals that our leaders envisioned for getting Ram Rajya in the country, has been completely distorted. Instead of ensuring that the backward and downtrodden classes are brought into the mainstream, our political parties have in their own vested interest, divided the community on caste and creed lines, so as to feather their own nests. Thus we have parties championing the interest of different castes and communities, to the detriment of the national cause.


Discrepancies on account of religious fundamentalism

Contrary to the secular tenets of our constitution, we have seen a distinct rise in religious fundamentalism in the country. This is another ploy to gain power, by exploiting the religious feeling of the people. It portends a very dangerous future for us. Thus we find that instead of narrowing the gap, this has in fact been widened with each party playing to the gallery, for purely political reasons. The people are being treated as vote banks and all political and administrative decisions are taken, after considering the effect of the same on the vote bank. The consequences of this are already dissemble, in the slackening of the pace of development and economic growth of the country.

Reason for the above

Someone has rightly said ‘the people get the government they deserve’. This applies to us too. The dismally low level of education and the correspondingly great disparity in their economic growth makes such people gullible to the mechanisation of crafty politicians who have their own axe to grind. Such people act as fodder, on which the ambitions of politicians thrive. George Bernard Shaw rightly said that “Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many, for appointment by the corrupt few.” This is exactly what we are witnessing in India today, which raises serious doubts about its relevance.


Conclusion — Need for a relook

There is no denying the fact that democracy is still the most successful form of government in the world today. There is, however, an urgent need for us to educate our masses and also have a relook at our constitution. The anomalies and distortions that have crept in over time inadvertently should be set right. This is of crucial importance, if we really want democracy to succeed in India. For as Abraham Lincoln rightly said “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”