Democracy – in Theory and in Practice

The term Democracy is derived from two Greek word, Demos (meaning people) and Kratos (meaning power). Thus the people who had coined this term would have envisaged democracy to be a form of govt. which is by the people, of the people and for the people, a state of political stability where all the people have a say in the decision- making process. The earliest example of democracy comes from the Greek city-states of the historic period. The democracy followed there was a form of direct democracy where all the citizens could directly participate in the political process. Looking at the vastness of size and population in the big countries like India, US, Brazil etc, indirect democracy is adopted unanimously here, in which elected representatives work on the behalf of the common people.

Talking specifically of India and its political past, India or Hindustan is credited with being the largest democracy of the world, with 1.21 billion people, identified by various religions, languages, caste and ethnicities, and represented by 545 elected representatives who are obliged to sit in the 144 columned building and frame laws for the people. Prophesied by the makers of the constitution to be an honest, reliable and dedicated lot, these 545 MPs (Member Parliament) had been given the major responsibility of working on the behalf of the citizens and working for them. But as India began to climb the ladders of progress after gaining independence in 1947, the years that unfolded saw a continuous deterioration of political sincerity and the true spirit of democracy. Getting transferred from the top-notch leader to the mid level bureaucrat to the bottom most clerk, corruption and deceitfulness spread like a wild fire or a termite that continues to gnaw at our social and political fabric.


India’s claim of being a peace loving, sincere and an ethical nation-state today seems to be fading away. Though this rampant corruption has a long history, yet it was only in the last decade that it gained limelight. CWG scam, Coalgate scam, 2G spectrum scam, Fodder scam… the list is endless. In addition to these high rated scams involving high profile officers, corruption can be seen and probably is more visible at the grass root level. Bribing traffic officials to evade fines, bribing bureaucrats to evade transfers, bribing cops to evade sentences, all these are everyday examples that we all are fully aware of yet we tend to turn a blind eye to it. Mahatma Gandhi had once said, “Be the Change You Want to See in the World.” Working on these lines, a Gandhinian decided to initiate a movement against corruption and the malicious political system that actually turned into a revolution. A name today revered across the world, that man was none other than Anna Hazare. With a strong determination to end corruption and bring about a change in the governmental structure, Anna Hazare’s August Revolution brought about a change that no one had ever thought of. It made the people rise from their deep slumber and made them aware of their right to protest against the govt. another important change that this movement brought in was the inspiration among youth to envisage a change.

To make this change a reality, it was important for the people to come forward and dare to participate in politics. This gave rise to what today is acclaimed as the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP. With broom as its election symbol, the AAP, under the leadership of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal promised to sweep away all the dirt and deception from our political arena. None of the political parties had expected more than 8 or 9 seats to be won by the AAP. But still the party got exceptional and unprecedented support from the people. This was because the people of Delhi could connect with AAP leaders. These leaders neither had massive palaces nor did they have a cavalcade of security men around them. Their lives were that of a common man, their problems were that of a common man, their aspirations were also that of a common man. Giving up on their careers, the AAP leaders had stepped into politics not only because of the fact that they wanted to fight for the people, but they were themselves also so fed up of the tainted politics that they now found it unbearable. Thus the people saw the AAP as a saviour and and helped the party to gain success in the Delhi assembly elections of 2013.

As the AAP today has formed the government,it has to inevitably walk through a thorned path. We all know that the AAP is dealing with a lot of problems, both within the party and outside. What needs to be given concern is not whether the AAP govt. will be successful or not, but to acknowledge the way the common man has now realized to be intolerant to corruption. The political parties have also realised the fact that they can no more underestimate the power of the common man. Delhi being a microcosm of the macrocosm, how a new wave of change in Delhi will influence the country as a whole, is what the nation today awaits for.


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