Conditions Necessary for the Success of Democracy

Everywhere democracy does not succeed. To make it a success, certain conditions are necessary.

In the absence of these conditions, democracy may not survive as it happened in many developing countries, e.g., Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Afghanistan etc.

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These are:

(a) The people should have faith in democracy that it can deliver goods to the people.

(b) Vigilance is the price of democracy. The people should remain ‘watch dogs’ and aware that it is not misused by corrupt politicians, mafia or bureaucrats. They should not remain passive, and fiercely criticise injustice and mismanagement, thinking themselves to be ‘masters,’ not slaves.

(c) Democracy needs ideal citizens, having virtues, civic sense, morality and spirit of sacrifice. The dying speech of Lord Buddha’s to Anand reflect the importance of such virtues.

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(d) The people are to have education so that they may know their rights and duties. Education can enable citizens to be good law-makers and administrators, and also compel the rulers to act honestly.

(e) Social and economic equality is basic to political, democracy. There should be no discrimination based on caste, sex, language, region, sect or status. Communalism in all its forms is enemy of democracy.

(f) Effective public opinion is the base as well as guide to democracy. The media should be free and fearless. Its role must be constructive. Yellow journalism, control of money-bags and permissiveness must be avoided.

(g) No democracy can survive unless the people put their country over and above everything – party, religion, language etc. They must be imbued with a sense of national and emotional integration. It would free them from all kinds of parochialism and age-long loyalties.

(h) Political parties are considered ‘invisible government’ by Finer. They are lifeblood of democracy. Their organisation, goals and functions must be people-oriented. Only lawful means should be adopted by them.

(i) Spirit of toleration is a part of the democratic culture. Majority and minority must be fluid, based on opinion, and not on ethnicity, caste, religion or language. A minority has right to become majority, therefore the latter has no right to eliminate the minorities.

(j) Organisation of government has to be based on constitution. It should have provisions for strong, and responsible executive, separation of powers, independence of judiciary, decentralisation etc. Its basic structure must not be easily amendable,

(k) Rule of law has now been accepted as the basis of democracy. It connotes government of law, not of man. All should be treated equal before law.

(l) Local Government like corporations, municipalities, panchayats etc. are regarded as primary schools or training grounds of democracy. These encourage public awareness and create a sense of responsibility towards public functions. Alfred Smith has rightly observed that, “All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.” It means there should be decentralisation of power to the largest possible extent,

(m) Atmosphere of freedom makes democracy a success. Press and platform are to remain free. The government has to operate strictly within limits.

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