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Power-sharing
1
Chapter I
Power-sharing
Overview
With this chapter, we resume the tour of democracy that we started last 
year. We noted last year that in a democracy all power does not rest 
with any one organ of the government. An intelligent sharing of power 
among legislature, executive and judiciary is very important to the design 
of a democracy. In this and the next two chapters, we carry this idea of 
power-sharing forward. We start with two stories from Belgium and Sri 
Lanka. Both these stories are about how democracies handle demands for 
power-sharing. The stories yield some general conclusions about the need 
for power-sharing in democracy.  This allows us to discuss various forms 
of power-sharing that will be taken up in the following two chapters.
Chapter 1.indd   1 08-04-2022   12:29:05
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Page 2


Power-sharing
1
Chapter I
Power-sharing
Overview
With this chapter, we resume the tour of democracy that we started last 
year. We noted last year that in a democracy all power does not rest 
with any one organ of the government. An intelligent sharing of power 
among legislature, executive and judiciary is very important to the design 
of a democracy. In this and the next two chapters, we carry this idea of 
power-sharing forward. We start with two stories from Belgium and Sri 
Lanka. Both these stories are about how democracies handle demands for 
power-sharing. The stories yield some general conclusions about the need 
for power-sharing in democracy.  This allows us to discuss various forms 
of power-sharing that will be taken up in the following two chapters.
Chapter 1.indd   1 08-04-2022   12:29:05
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
2
Democratic Politics
Belgium and Sri Lanka 
I have a simple 
equation in mind. 
Sharing power = 
dividing power = 
weakening the 
country. Why do we 
start by talking of 
this?
Ethnic:  A social 
division based on 
shared culture. People 
belonging to the same 
ethnic group believe in 
their common descent 
because of similarities 
of physical type or of 
culture or both. They 
need not always have 
the same religion or 
nationality.
Belgium is a small country in Europe, 
smaller in area than the state of 
Haryana. It has borders with France, 
the Netherlands, Germany and 
Luxembourg. It has a population of 
a little over one crore, about half the 
population of Haryana. The ethnic 
composition of this small country is 
very complex. Of the country’s total 
population, 59 per cent lives in the 
Flemish region and speaks Dutch 
language. Another 40 per cent people 
live in the Wallonia region and speak 
French. Remaining one per cent of 
the Belgians speak German. In the 
capital city Brussels, 80 per cent 
people speak French while 20 per 
cent are Dutch-speaking.
The minority French-speaking 
community was relatively rich and 
powerful. This was resented by the 
Dutch-speaking community who got 
the benefit of economic development 
and education much later. This led 
to tensions between the Dutch-
speaking and French-speaking 
communities during the 1950s and 
1960s. The tension between the 
two communities was more acute 
in Brussels. Brussels presented a 
special problem: the Dutch-speaking 
people constituted a majority in 
the country, but a minority in the 
capital. 
Let us compare this to the 
situation in another country. Sri 
Lanka is an island nation, just a few 
kilometres off the southern coast 
of Tamil Nadu. It has about two 
crore people, about the same as in 
Haryana. Like other nations in the 
South Asia region, Sri Lanka has a 
diverse population. The major social 
groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 
per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 
per cent). Among Tamils there are 
two sub-groups. Tamil natives of 
the country are called ‘Sri Lankan 
Communities 
and 
regions of 
Belgium
Walloon (French-speaking)
Flemish (Dutch-speaking)
German-speaking
Brussels-Capital Region
Look at the maps of Belgium and Sri Lanka. In 
which region, do you find concentration of different 
communities?
©  Wikipedia
For more details, visit https://www.belgium.be/en
Chapter 1.indd   2 08-04-2022   12:29:07
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Page 3


Power-sharing
1
Chapter I
Power-sharing
Overview
With this chapter, we resume the tour of democracy that we started last 
year. We noted last year that in a democracy all power does not rest 
with any one organ of the government. An intelligent sharing of power 
among legislature, executive and judiciary is very important to the design 
of a democracy. In this and the next two chapters, we carry this idea of 
power-sharing forward. We start with two stories from Belgium and Sri 
Lanka. Both these stories are about how democracies handle demands for 
power-sharing. The stories yield some general conclusions about the need 
for power-sharing in democracy.  This allows us to discuss various forms 
of power-sharing that will be taken up in the following two chapters.
Chapter 1.indd   1 08-04-2022   12:29:05
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
2
Democratic Politics
Belgium and Sri Lanka 
I have a simple 
equation in mind. 
Sharing power = 
dividing power = 
weakening the 
country. Why do we 
start by talking of 
this?
Ethnic:  A social 
division based on 
shared culture. People 
belonging to the same 
ethnic group believe in 
their common descent 
because of similarities 
of physical type or of 
culture or both. They 
need not always have 
the same religion or 
nationality.
Belgium is a small country in Europe, 
smaller in area than the state of 
Haryana. It has borders with France, 
the Netherlands, Germany and 
Luxembourg. It has a population of 
a little over one crore, about half the 
population of Haryana. The ethnic 
composition of this small country is 
very complex. Of the country’s total 
population, 59 per cent lives in the 
Flemish region and speaks Dutch 
language. Another 40 per cent people 
live in the Wallonia region and speak 
French. Remaining one per cent of 
the Belgians speak German. In the 
capital city Brussels, 80 per cent 
people speak French while 20 per 
cent are Dutch-speaking.
The minority French-speaking 
community was relatively rich and 
powerful. This was resented by the 
Dutch-speaking community who got 
the benefit of economic development 
and education much later. This led 
to tensions between the Dutch-
speaking and French-speaking 
communities during the 1950s and 
1960s. The tension between the 
two communities was more acute 
in Brussels. Brussels presented a 
special problem: the Dutch-speaking 
people constituted a majority in 
the country, but a minority in the 
capital. 
Let us compare this to the 
situation in another country. Sri 
Lanka is an island nation, just a few 
kilometres off the southern coast 
of Tamil Nadu. It has about two 
crore people, about the same as in 
Haryana. Like other nations in the 
South Asia region, Sri Lanka has a 
diverse population. The major social 
groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 
per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 
per cent). Among Tamils there are 
two sub-groups. Tamil natives of 
the country are called ‘Sri Lankan 
Communities 
and 
regions of 
Belgium
Walloon (French-speaking)
Flemish (Dutch-speaking)
German-speaking
Brussels-Capital Region
Look at the maps of Belgium and Sri Lanka. In 
which region, do you find concentration of different 
communities?
©  Wikipedia
For more details, visit https://www.belgium.be/en
Chapter 1.indd   2 08-04-2022   12:29:07
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Power-sharing
3
Ethnic Communities 
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil 
Indian Tamil
Muslim
For more details, visit https://www.gov.lk
Tamils’ (13 per cent). The rest, 
whose forefathers came from India as 
plantation workers during colonial 
period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’. 
As you can see from the map,  Sri 
Lankan Tamils are concentrated in 
the north and east of the country. 
Most of the Sinhala-speaking people 
are Buddhists, while most of the 
Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There 
are about 7 per cent Christians, who 
are both Tamil and Sinhala. 
Just imagine what could happen 
in situations like this. In Belgium, 
the Dutch community could take 
advantage of its numeric majority 
and force its will on the French and 
German-speaking population. This 
would push the conflict among 
communities further. This could  
lead to a very messy partition of the 
country; both the sides would claim 
control over Brussels. In Sri Lanka, 
the Sinhala community enjoyed 
an even bigger majority and could 
impose its will on the entire country. 
Now, let us look at what happened 
in both these countries.
Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka emerged as an independent 
country in 1948. The leaders of 
the Sinhala community sought to 
secure dominance over government 
by virtue of their majority. As a 
result, the democratically elected 
government adopted a series of 
majoritarian measures to establish 
Sinhala supremacy.
In 1956, an Act was passed 
to recognise Sinhala as the only 
official language, thus disregarding 
Tamil. The governments followed 
preferential policies that favoured 
Sinhala applicants for university 
positions and government jobs. A 
new constitution stipulated that 
the state shall protect and foster 
Buddhism.
All these government measures, 
coming one after the other, gradually 
increased the feeling of alienation 
among the Sri Lankan Tamils. 
They felt that none of the major 
political parties led by the Buddhist 
Sinhala leaders was sensitive to their 
language and culture. They felt that 
the constitution and government 
policies denied them equal political 
rights, discriminated against them in 
getting jobs and other opportunities 
and ignored their interests. As a 
Majoritarianism: A 
belief that the majority 
community should be 
able to rule a country in 
whichever way it wants, 
by disregarding the 
wishes and needs of the 
minority. 
Chapter 1.indd   3 08-04-2022   12:29:08
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Page 4


Power-sharing
1
Chapter I
Power-sharing
Overview
With this chapter, we resume the tour of democracy that we started last 
year. We noted last year that in a democracy all power does not rest 
with any one organ of the government. An intelligent sharing of power 
among legislature, executive and judiciary is very important to the design 
of a democracy. In this and the next two chapters, we carry this idea of 
power-sharing forward. We start with two stories from Belgium and Sri 
Lanka. Both these stories are about how democracies handle demands for 
power-sharing. The stories yield some general conclusions about the need 
for power-sharing in democracy.  This allows us to discuss various forms 
of power-sharing that will be taken up in the following two chapters.
Chapter 1.indd   1 08-04-2022   12:29:05
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
2
Democratic Politics
Belgium and Sri Lanka 
I have a simple 
equation in mind. 
Sharing power = 
dividing power = 
weakening the 
country. Why do we 
start by talking of 
this?
Ethnic:  A social 
division based on 
shared culture. People 
belonging to the same 
ethnic group believe in 
their common descent 
because of similarities 
of physical type or of 
culture or both. They 
need not always have 
the same religion or 
nationality.
Belgium is a small country in Europe, 
smaller in area than the state of 
Haryana. It has borders with France, 
the Netherlands, Germany and 
Luxembourg. It has a population of 
a little over one crore, about half the 
population of Haryana. The ethnic 
composition of this small country is 
very complex. Of the country’s total 
population, 59 per cent lives in the 
Flemish region and speaks Dutch 
language. Another 40 per cent people 
live in the Wallonia region and speak 
French. Remaining one per cent of 
the Belgians speak German. In the 
capital city Brussels, 80 per cent 
people speak French while 20 per 
cent are Dutch-speaking.
The minority French-speaking 
community was relatively rich and 
powerful. This was resented by the 
Dutch-speaking community who got 
the benefit of economic development 
and education much later. This led 
to tensions between the Dutch-
speaking and French-speaking 
communities during the 1950s and 
1960s. The tension between the 
two communities was more acute 
in Brussels. Brussels presented a 
special problem: the Dutch-speaking 
people constituted a majority in 
the country, but a minority in the 
capital. 
Let us compare this to the 
situation in another country. Sri 
Lanka is an island nation, just a few 
kilometres off the southern coast 
of Tamil Nadu. It has about two 
crore people, about the same as in 
Haryana. Like other nations in the 
South Asia region, Sri Lanka has a 
diverse population. The major social 
groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 
per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 
per cent). Among Tamils there are 
two sub-groups. Tamil natives of 
the country are called ‘Sri Lankan 
Communities 
and 
regions of 
Belgium
Walloon (French-speaking)
Flemish (Dutch-speaking)
German-speaking
Brussels-Capital Region
Look at the maps of Belgium and Sri Lanka. In 
which region, do you find concentration of different 
communities?
©  Wikipedia
For more details, visit https://www.belgium.be/en
Chapter 1.indd   2 08-04-2022   12:29:07
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Power-sharing
3
Ethnic Communities 
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil 
Indian Tamil
Muslim
For more details, visit https://www.gov.lk
Tamils’ (13 per cent). The rest, 
whose forefathers came from India as 
plantation workers during colonial 
period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’. 
As you can see from the map,  Sri 
Lankan Tamils are concentrated in 
the north and east of the country. 
Most of the Sinhala-speaking people 
are Buddhists, while most of the 
Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There 
are about 7 per cent Christians, who 
are both Tamil and Sinhala. 
Just imagine what could happen 
in situations like this. In Belgium, 
the Dutch community could take 
advantage of its numeric majority 
and force its will on the French and 
German-speaking population. This 
would push the conflict among 
communities further. This could  
lead to a very messy partition of the 
country; both the sides would claim 
control over Brussels. In Sri Lanka, 
the Sinhala community enjoyed 
an even bigger majority and could 
impose its will on the entire country. 
Now, let us look at what happened 
in both these countries.
Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka emerged as an independent 
country in 1948. The leaders of 
the Sinhala community sought to 
secure dominance over government 
by virtue of their majority. As a 
result, the democratically elected 
government adopted a series of 
majoritarian measures to establish 
Sinhala supremacy.
In 1956, an Act was passed 
to recognise Sinhala as the only 
official language, thus disregarding 
Tamil. The governments followed 
preferential policies that favoured 
Sinhala applicants for university 
positions and government jobs. A 
new constitution stipulated that 
the state shall protect and foster 
Buddhism.
All these government measures, 
coming one after the other, gradually 
increased the feeling of alienation 
among the Sri Lankan Tamils. 
They felt that none of the major 
political parties led by the Buddhist 
Sinhala leaders was sensitive to their 
language and culture. They felt that 
the constitution and government 
policies denied them equal political 
rights, discriminated against them in 
getting jobs and other opportunities 
and ignored their interests. As a 
Majoritarianism: A 
belief that the majority 
community should be 
able to rule a country in 
whichever way it wants, 
by disregarding the 
wishes and needs of the 
minority. 
Chapter 1.indd   3 08-04-2022   12:29:08
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
4
Democratic Politics
What kind of a solution 
is this? I am glad our 
Constitution does not say 
which minister will come from 
which community.
The Belgian leaders took a different 
path. They recognised the existence 
of regional differences and cultural 
diversities. Between 1970 and 1993, 
they amended their constitution 
four times so as to work out an 
arrangement that would enable 
everyone to live together within the 
same country. The arrangement they 
worked out is different from any 
other country and is very innovative. 
Here are some of the elements of the 
Belgian model:
?  Constitution prescribes that 
the number of Dutch and French-
speaking ministers shall be equal in 
the central government. Some special 
laws require the support of majority 
of members from each linguistic 
What’s wrong 
if the majority 
community rules? 
If Sinhalas don’t 
rule in Sri Lanka, 
where else will 
they rule? 
group. Thus, no single community 
can make decisions unilaterally.
? Many powers of the Central 
Government have been given to 
State Governments of the two 
regions of the country. The State 
Governments are not subordinate 
to the Central Government.
?  Brussels has a separate government 
in which both the communities have 
equal representation. The French-
speaking people accepted equal 
representation in Brussels because 
the Dutch-speaking community has 
Accommodation in Belgium
Civil war: A violent 
conflict between 
opposing groups 
within a country that 
becomes so intense 
that it appears like a 
war. 
result, the relations between the 
Sinhala and Tamil communities 
strained over time. 
The Sri Lankan Tamils launched 
parties and struggles for the 
recognition of Tamil as an official 
language, for regional autonomy 
and equality of opportunity in 
securing education and jobs. But 
their demand for more autonomy to 
provinces populated by the Tamils 
was repeatedly denied. By 1980s, 
several political organisations were 
formed demanding an independent 
Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and 
eastern parts of Sri Lanka. 
The distrust between the two 
communities turned into widespread 
conflict. It soon turned into a civil 
war . As a result thousands of 
people of both the communities 
have been killed. Many families 
were forced to leave the country as 
refugees and many more lost their 
livelihoods. You have read (Chapter 
1 of Economics textbook, Class X) 
about Sri Lanka’s excellent record of 
economic development, education 
and health. But the civil war has 
caused a terrible setback to the social, 
cultural and economic life of the 
country. It ended in 2009.
The photograph here is of a street 
address in Belgium. You will notice 
that place names and directions in two 
languages – French and Dutch.
©  Wikipedia
Chapter 1.indd   4 08-04-2022   12:29:10
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Page 5


Power-sharing
1
Chapter I
Power-sharing
Overview
With this chapter, we resume the tour of democracy that we started last 
year. We noted last year that in a democracy all power does not rest 
with any one organ of the government. An intelligent sharing of power 
among legislature, executive and judiciary is very important to the design 
of a democracy. In this and the next two chapters, we carry this idea of 
power-sharing forward. We start with two stories from Belgium and Sri 
Lanka. Both these stories are about how democracies handle demands for 
power-sharing. The stories yield some general conclusions about the need 
for power-sharing in democracy.  This allows us to discuss various forms 
of power-sharing that will be taken up in the following two chapters.
Chapter 1.indd   1 08-04-2022   12:29:05
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
2
Democratic Politics
Belgium and Sri Lanka 
I have a simple 
equation in mind. 
Sharing power = 
dividing power = 
weakening the 
country. Why do we 
start by talking of 
this?
Ethnic:  A social 
division based on 
shared culture. People 
belonging to the same 
ethnic group believe in 
their common descent 
because of similarities 
of physical type or of 
culture or both. They 
need not always have 
the same religion or 
nationality.
Belgium is a small country in Europe, 
smaller in area than the state of 
Haryana. It has borders with France, 
the Netherlands, Germany and 
Luxembourg. It has a population of 
a little over one crore, about half the 
population of Haryana. The ethnic 
composition of this small country is 
very complex. Of the country’s total 
population, 59 per cent lives in the 
Flemish region and speaks Dutch 
language. Another 40 per cent people 
live in the Wallonia region and speak 
French. Remaining one per cent of 
the Belgians speak German. In the 
capital city Brussels, 80 per cent 
people speak French while 20 per 
cent are Dutch-speaking.
The minority French-speaking 
community was relatively rich and 
powerful. This was resented by the 
Dutch-speaking community who got 
the benefit of economic development 
and education much later. This led 
to tensions between the Dutch-
speaking and French-speaking 
communities during the 1950s and 
1960s. The tension between the 
two communities was more acute 
in Brussels. Brussels presented a 
special problem: the Dutch-speaking 
people constituted a majority in 
the country, but a minority in the 
capital. 
Let us compare this to the 
situation in another country. Sri 
Lanka is an island nation, just a few 
kilometres off the southern coast 
of Tamil Nadu. It has about two 
crore people, about the same as in 
Haryana. Like other nations in the 
South Asia region, Sri Lanka has a 
diverse population. The major social 
groups are the Sinhala-speakers (74 
per cent) and the Tamil-speakers (18 
per cent). Among Tamils there are 
two sub-groups. Tamil natives of 
the country are called ‘Sri Lankan 
Communities 
and 
regions of 
Belgium
Walloon (French-speaking)
Flemish (Dutch-speaking)
German-speaking
Brussels-Capital Region
Look at the maps of Belgium and Sri Lanka. In 
which region, do you find concentration of different 
communities?
©  Wikipedia
For more details, visit https://www.belgium.be/en
Chapter 1.indd   2 08-04-2022   12:29:07
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Power-sharing
3
Ethnic Communities 
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil 
Indian Tamil
Muslim
For more details, visit https://www.gov.lk
Tamils’ (13 per cent). The rest, 
whose forefathers came from India as 
plantation workers during colonial 
period, are called ‘Indian Tamils’. 
As you can see from the map,  Sri 
Lankan Tamils are concentrated in 
the north and east of the country. 
Most of the Sinhala-speaking people 
are Buddhists, while most of the 
Tamils are Hindus or Muslims. There 
are about 7 per cent Christians, who 
are both Tamil and Sinhala. 
Just imagine what could happen 
in situations like this. In Belgium, 
the Dutch community could take 
advantage of its numeric majority 
and force its will on the French and 
German-speaking population. This 
would push the conflict among 
communities further. This could  
lead to a very messy partition of the 
country; both the sides would claim 
control over Brussels. In Sri Lanka, 
the Sinhala community enjoyed 
an even bigger majority and could 
impose its will on the entire country. 
Now, let us look at what happened 
in both these countries.
Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka emerged as an independent 
country in 1948. The leaders of 
the Sinhala community sought to 
secure dominance over government 
by virtue of their majority. As a 
result, the democratically elected 
government adopted a series of 
majoritarian measures to establish 
Sinhala supremacy.
In 1956, an Act was passed 
to recognise Sinhala as the only 
official language, thus disregarding 
Tamil. The governments followed 
preferential policies that favoured 
Sinhala applicants for university 
positions and government jobs. A 
new constitution stipulated that 
the state shall protect and foster 
Buddhism.
All these government measures, 
coming one after the other, gradually 
increased the feeling of alienation 
among the Sri Lankan Tamils. 
They felt that none of the major 
political parties led by the Buddhist 
Sinhala leaders was sensitive to their 
language and culture. They felt that 
the constitution and government 
policies denied them equal political 
rights, discriminated against them in 
getting jobs and other opportunities 
and ignored their interests. As a 
Majoritarianism: A 
belief that the majority 
community should be 
able to rule a country in 
whichever way it wants, 
by disregarding the 
wishes and needs of the 
minority. 
Chapter 1.indd   3 08-04-2022   12:29:08
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
4
Democratic Politics
What kind of a solution 
is this? I am glad our 
Constitution does not say 
which minister will come from 
which community.
The Belgian leaders took a different 
path. They recognised the existence 
of regional differences and cultural 
diversities. Between 1970 and 1993, 
they amended their constitution 
four times so as to work out an 
arrangement that would enable 
everyone to live together within the 
same country. The arrangement they 
worked out is different from any 
other country and is very innovative. 
Here are some of the elements of the 
Belgian model:
?  Constitution prescribes that 
the number of Dutch and French-
speaking ministers shall be equal in 
the central government. Some special 
laws require the support of majority 
of members from each linguistic 
What’s wrong 
if the majority 
community rules? 
If Sinhalas don’t 
rule in Sri Lanka, 
where else will 
they rule? 
group. Thus, no single community 
can make decisions unilaterally.
? Many powers of the Central 
Government have been given to 
State Governments of the two 
regions of the country. The State 
Governments are not subordinate 
to the Central Government.
?  Brussels has a separate government 
in which both the communities have 
equal representation. The French-
speaking people accepted equal 
representation in Brussels because 
the Dutch-speaking community has 
Accommodation in Belgium
Civil war: A violent 
conflict between 
opposing groups 
within a country that 
becomes so intense 
that it appears like a 
war. 
result, the relations between the 
Sinhala and Tamil communities 
strained over time. 
The Sri Lankan Tamils launched 
parties and struggles for the 
recognition of Tamil as an official 
language, for regional autonomy 
and equality of opportunity in 
securing education and jobs. But 
their demand for more autonomy to 
provinces populated by the Tamils 
was repeatedly denied. By 1980s, 
several political organisations were 
formed demanding an independent 
Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and 
eastern parts of Sri Lanka. 
The distrust between the two 
communities turned into widespread 
conflict. It soon turned into a civil 
war . As a result thousands of 
people of both the communities 
have been killed. Many families 
were forced to leave the country as 
refugees and many more lost their 
livelihoods. You have read (Chapter 
1 of Economics textbook, Class X) 
about Sri Lanka’s excellent record of 
economic development, education 
and health. But the civil war has 
caused a terrible setback to the social, 
cultural and economic life of the 
country. It ended in 2009.
The photograph here is of a street 
address in Belgium. You will notice 
that place names and directions in two 
languages – French and Dutch.
©  Wikipedia
Chapter 1.indd   4 08-04-2022   12:29:10
Rationalised 2023-24 Rationalised 2023-24
Power-sharing
5
So you are 
saying that 
sharing of power 
makes us more 
powerful. Sounds 
odd! Let me 
think.
What do we learn from these two 
stories of Belgium and Sri Lanka? 
Both are democracies. Yet, they 
dealt with the question of power 
sharing differently. In Belgium, 
the leaders have realised that the 
unity of the country is possible 
only by respecting the feelings and 
interests of different communities 
and regions. Such a realisation 
resulted in mutually acceptable 
arrangements for sharing power. 
Sri Lanka shows us a contrasting 
example. It shows us that if a 
majority community wants to 
force its dominance over others 
and refuses to share power, it can 
undermine the unity of the country. 
Read any newspaper for one week and make clippings of 
news related to ongoing conflicts or wars. A group of five 
students could pool their clippings together and do the following:
? Classify these conflicts by their location (your state, India, 
outside India).
? Find out the cause of each of these conflicts. How many of these 
are related to power sharing disputes?
? Which of these conflicts could be resolved by working out power 
sharing arrangements?
European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium
accepted equal representation in the 
Central Government.
 Apart from the Central and 
the State Government, there is a 
third kind of government. This 
‘community government’ is elected 
by people belonging to one language 
community – Dutch, French and 
German-speaking – no matter where 
they live. This government has the 
power regarding cultural, educational 
and language-related issues.
You might find the Belgian model 
very complicated. It indeed is very 
complicated, even for people living 
in Belgium. But these arrangements 
have worked well so far. They helped 
to avoid civic strife between the two 
major communities and a possible 
division of the country on linguistic 
lines. When many countries of 
Europe came together to form the 
European Union, Brussels was 
chosen as its headquarters.
Chapter 1.indd   5 08-04-2022   12:29:11
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Power-sharing - Social Studies (SST) Class 10

1. What is power-sharing?
Ans. Power-sharing refers to the distribution of power among different groups or political parties in a country. It is a way to ensure that no single group or individual holds absolute power and that different groups have a say in decision-making processes.
2. Why is power-sharing important in a democracy?
Ans. Power-sharing is important in a democracy because it helps to prevent the domination of one group over others. It ensures the inclusion of diverse perspectives and interests in decision-making, thereby promoting social harmony and stability. Power-sharing also helps to safeguard the rights and interests of minority groups.
3. What are the different forms of power-sharing?
Ans. The different forms of power-sharing include: 1. Horizontal power-sharing: It involves the sharing of power among different organs of the government, such as the legislature, executive, and judiciary. 2. Vertical power-sharing: It refers to the sharing of power between different levels of government, such as the central government and state governments in a federal system. 3. Community power-sharing: It involves the sharing of power among different communities or ethnic groups within a society.
4. How does power-sharing promote stability in a country?
Ans. Power-sharing promotes stability in a country by ensuring that different groups have a stake in decision-making processes. When power is shared, it reduces the chances of conflict and violence between different groups who may have competing interests. It also helps to address the grievances and aspirations of various communities, thereby reducing tensions and promoting peaceful coexistence.
5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of power-sharing?
Ans. Advantages of power-sharing: - Promotes inclusivity and diversity in decision-making. - Helps to prevent the domination of one group over others. - Facilitates the peaceful resolution of conflicts. - Protects the rights and interests of minority groups. - Promotes social harmony and stability. Disadvantages of power-sharing: - Decision-making can become slower and more complex. - It may lead to compromises that do not fully satisfy any group. - It can be challenging to strike a balance between different groups' interests. - Power-sharing arrangements may be difficult to establish and maintain. - It may require constant negotiation and consensus-building.
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