Democracy in India
DEMOCRACY, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, as spoken by the late US President Abraham Lincoln, was a great experiment after periods of great kingdoms all over the world for many centuries and colonization by western countries ruled by the kings.
Any claim for early democratic institutions comes from the independent republics of India “Sanghas” and “Ganas”, which existed. Countries were ruled by a minority group or a monarchy that had all the power. Early democratic experiments were conducted in Greece since 700 BC. Cities were ruled by a group of elites. Rome’s history helped preserve the concept of democracy over the centuries. A democratic form of government was the idea behind the French revolution.
The first modern democratic system of government with a constitution began in the United States of America when it became an independent country on July 4, 1776, and the constitution adopted in 1788 provides the blueprint for a formal democratic form of government.
US Democracy is a Presidential system, where the president is elected directly as the Chief Executive with executive powers and the US Congress elected from the States. US Congress consists of 100 senators, two from each of the 50 States, with a six-year term, almost one-third elected every two years and the US House of Representatives consists of 435 members elected from 435 Districts divided based on population. As of 2016, each district represents 720,000 people. This can go up or down based on population increase or decrease, while the number of representatives remains at 435.
Another rule says that each State should have at least a minimum of one house of representatives. All legislation must be passed by both the Senate and US House of Representatives, collectively called the US Congress. The US is the Federal Republic with State has independence on State matters. The States elect their Governor, Chief Executive, directly and elects the State’s legislative bodies - the Senate and State Assembly. Each State District will have a Senator and two Assembly representatives.
A lot of countries in the world now has a democratic system of government. Many have a Presidential system with legislative support like in the USA and many have a Parliamentary system like in India.
The United Kingdom has a Parliamentary system with the Queen as the figurehead just for signing legislation and acts as the ceremonial head of government with the Prime Minister elected as the leader of the majority party as the person with the real power.
India also has almost a similar system like in the United Kingdom with the President as the ceremonial head of government and Prime Minister, the leader of the ruling party or coalition, with real power. Democracy in India survived all these years without any trouble while democracy in Pakistan and several other countries often were changed to military rule. In India, once Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi declared emergency and tried to consolidate power temporarily.
Democracy in India is surviving because of mainly one reason, the Civil Service, which is the backbone of Indian Democracy. The officers in the IFS, IAS and IPS cadre provide administrative and managerial support to the ministers and their actions based on policies approved by the legislation and others. They also fill the vacuum when there is not an elected government for a very short period.
India also has a military strongly rooted in democratic principles. Even with many political parties and coalition governments in the Center and States, the Democratic system of government survived or even strengthened. Being the largest democracy in the world with a 1.2 billion population, India stands high in a democratic system of government while many small countries could not maintain a democratic government. India’s success as a democratic system upholding individual freedom even within poverty, caste system and systemic corruption is amazing.