Democracy Introduction Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Democracy

Introduction

  • Democracy, literally, rule by the people. The term is derived from the Greek democratic, which was coined from demos ( “people” ) and kratos ( “rule” ) in the middle of the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens.
  • It is one of the most successful idea in the political world. It provides the ordinary man his decisive say in who to govern the country and how to do it?
  • The terms Sabha (gathering) , Samiti (smaller Gathering or Committee) Rajan, or Raja (Householder, Leader) exists and are found in Vedic literature. Rig Veda also says that the position of the King (Leader) was not absolute, and he could be removed by the Sabha or the Assembly.

Features of Democracy

  • Respect for basic human rights,
  • A multi-party political system paired with political tolerance,
  • A democratic voting system,
  • Respect for the rule of law,
  • Democratic governance, and
  • Citizen participation.

Key Democratic Practices

  • Control over government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in elected officials.
  • Elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon.
  • Practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials.
  • Practically all adults have the right to run for elective offices in the government.
  • Citizens have a right to express themselves without the danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined.
  • Citizens have a right to seek out alternative sources of information. Moreover, alternative sources of information exist and are protected by law.
  • Citizens also have the right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups.
  • Elected officials are able to exercise their powers without fear of being overridden.
  • The polity is self-governing; and able to act independently of constraints imposed by others.
  • People have the freedom to speak and publish dissenting views.

Important Questions

1. Features of democracy

2. Relationship between democratic rule and protection of fundamental rights

3. Does a perfect democracy advocates absolute protection of fundamental rights?

Chapters:

0: 00 Democracy

0: 11 Introduction of Democracy

1: 32 Indian Idea of Democracy

2: 41 Features of Democracy

6: 19 Key Democratic Practices

11: 45 Questions About Democracy

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