In a democratic system, citizens have the right to choose their representatives through free and fair elections. The chapter What is Democracy? Why Democracy? covers all topics related to democracy.Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes introduce students to the definition of democracy, the importance of democracy & its features. By studying the notes of this chapter, students will be able to understand the significance of democracy in India.
What is Democracy?
A system of government in which power is vested in the hands of the people. It is a form of government where citizens have the right to elect their representatives through elections. Democracy is based on the principles of equality, freedom, and popular sovereignty. For example -India is a democratic country.
While, in a non-democratic government, rulers are not elected by the people. In-charge of the country’s army took over as rulers, For example-Myanmar is a non-democratic country.
What Are the Features of Democracy?
- Democracy is based on the principle that power resides with the people.
- Citizens have the right to participate in the decision-making process.
- Each person’s vote carries the same weight without any discrimination.
- All are equal before the law.
- Democracies aim to safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.
- Democracy relies on regular elections. These elections are conducted freely and fairly.
Major Decisions by Elected Leaders
In a democracy, elected leaders make major decisions that shape the direction and policies of the government. They make decisions on matters such as economic policies, social programs, healthcare, education, and environmental regulations. They have the authority to determine how public funds are allocated.
On the other hand, in some countries, like Pakistan, these rules are not followed. The elected leaders were granted some powers. But the final power rested with military officers.
Free and Fair Electoral Competition
Since its independence in 1930, China has held regular elections to elect its parliament, called Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (National People’s Congress). The government is always formed by the Communist Party & the candidates for the National People’s Congress (NPC) are nominated by the Communist Party of China.
Mexico has held elections every six years to elect its President. Before 2000, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) consistently emerged as the victorious party in each election.
Reading these examples, we get a sense that we cannot.
Democracy must be based on a free and fair election where political parties and candidates can participate in elections on an equal level. this system allows all eligible political parties and candidates to freely participate in the electoral process without any discrimination. All have an equal opportunity to present their platforms, ideas, and policies. The electoral processes like voter registration, campaigning, and vote counting, should be transparent, impartial, and conducted according to rules and regulations.
One Person, One Vote, One Value
“One person, one vote, one value” is a fundamental principle of democracy, emphasizing the equality and fairness of each citizen’s vote. Every eligible citizen’s vote should carry equal weight and have the same value without any discrimination. It promotes the idea that every citizen’s voice and choice are equally important in shaping the outcome of elections and determining the direction of governance.
However, there are many examples of infringement of the equal right to vote.
Before 2015, in Saudi Arabia, women did not have the right to vote.
In Estonia, the Russian minority finds it difficult to get the right to vote.
In Fiji, the vote of an indigenous Fiji has more value than that of an Indian Fijian.
Rule of Law and Respect for Rights
Zimbabwe gained independence from White minority rule in 1980, and Robert Mugabe, the leader of the ZANU-PF, has been in power since independence.
Even elections were held regularly, but it was always won by ZANU-PF.
No one has the right to criticize the President.
Television and radio gave only the ruling party’s version. These were controlled by the government. Newspapers were independent, but they didn’t go against it, and so on.
while the Democratic government rules within limits set by constitutional law and citizens’ rights:
- The rules of law are applied equally to all individuals and institutions, including the government itself.
- It establishes a framework for fairness, justice, and accountability.
- It respects & protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion.
- It involves treating individuals with dignity and upholding their human rights without any interference or discrimination.
Arguments Against Democracy
- In a democracy, the regular change in leadership through elections does not necessarily lead to instability.
- People do not know what is good or bad for them.
- Elected representatives do not take an interest in the citizens’ welfare.
- There is the possibility of corruption due to the electoral competition.
- There is no scope for morality because of political competition.
All above the arguments show that democracy may not be the ideal form of government yet democracy is better than other forms of government such as monarchy or dictatorship.
Arguments in Favour of Democracy
A democratic government is a better government because it is a more accountable form of government:
A democratic government is considered a better form of government because of its accountability to the people. For example, in the United States, the president is elected through a democratic process. The president, as the head of the executive branch, is accountable to the citizens who voted for them.
Democracy improves the quality of decision-making:
In a democratic system, decision-making involves a wide range of stakeholders and encourages open debate on various issues. This allows for the consideration of multiple viewpoints, leading to more well-rounded and informed decisions.
Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts:
In a democratic system, differences of opinion and conflicts are inherent due to the diversity of views, interests, and aspirations within a society. But Democracy provides a framework for managing and resolving these differences through peaceful means.
Democracy enhances the dignity of citizens:
Democracy enhances the dignity of citizens by recognizing their inherent worth, providing them with rights, and empowering them to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives.
Democracy is better than other forms of government because it allows us to correct our own mistakes
Democracy provides the opportunity for self-correction. Through regular elections and democratic processes, citizens can hold their leaders accountable and make changes if they feel their previous choices were mistakes.
Broader Meanings of Democracy
This chapter explores the meaning of democracy, focusing on its descriptive nature as a form of government. It helps students to understand the essential features of democracy. Representative democracy is the commonly practiced form, where elected representatives make decisions on behalf of the majority. Not all people directly rule in democratic countries. This has become necessary due to the following reasons:
- Democratic countries with a large number of people are not possible to sit together and take a collective decision.
- The citizens could not take part in all the decisions due to their lack of time, desire, or skills.
Democracy is not just about government but a principle that can be applied to various aspects of life. When people use the term democracy, they visualize an ideal standard that all democracies should strive to achieve. However, if we consider these ideals, no country perfectly embodies democracy. Still, understanding democracy as an ideal allows us to assess existing democracies and identify their shortcomings. It also helps us differentiate between a basic democracy and a strong democracy. In today’s world, the most common form of democracy is representative democracy.
The Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes provide students with a comprehensive understanding of Democracy & its features. By studying and practicing these NCERT notes, students can enhance their knowledge, improve their problem-solving skills, and perform better in their exams. You can access them by visiting the website. If you have any other queries about What is democracy? Why is Democracy? Class 9 Political Science Chapter 1 Notes feel free to reach us so that we can revert back to us at the earliest possible.
1. What is democracy Class 9?
Democracy is a system of government where power is held by the people, who elected representatives.
2. Why define democracy?
Democracy is defined as it helps to understand its basic principles and the way power is distributed in a government.
3. What is a short note on Democracy?
Democracy is a form of government where the people have the power to elect leaders and participate in decision-making. It promotes equality, freedom, and accountability.
4. Name some democratic countries.
The United States, Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil, and South Africa
5. What are the types of democracy?
Direct democracy, Representative democracy, Parliamentary democracy, Presidential democracy, and Constitutional democracy.