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Challenges to Democracy
101
Chapter 8
Challenges to
Democracy
Overview
This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the
last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of
democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces
in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic
politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its
practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these
questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which
we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites
you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of
the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own
definition of democracy.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


Challenges to Democracy
101
Chapter 8
Challenges to
Democracy
Overview
This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the
last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of
democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces
in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic
politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its
practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these
questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which
we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites
you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of
the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own
definition of democracy.
© NCERT
not to be republished
102
Democratic Politics
Thinking about challenges
Do you remember the first chapter of your Political
Science textbook of Class IX?  There we tracked the
expansion of democracy all over the world in the last
hundred years. Our reading thereafter has confirmed
our initial impression: democracy is the dominant form
of government in the contemporary world. It does
not face a serious challenger or rival. Y et our exploration
of the various dimensions of democratic politics has
shown us something else as well. The promise of
democracy is far from realised anywhere in the world.
Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does
not mean that it does not face any challenges.
At different points in this tour of democracy, we
have noted the serious challenges that democracy faces
all over the world. A challenge is not just any problem.
W e usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which
are significant and which can be overcome. A challenge
is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for
progress. Once we overcome a challenge we go up to
a higher level than before.
Different countries face different kinds of
challenges. Can you recall the map of democratic
governments in the year 2000 that was included in your
textbook? At least one fourth of the globe is still not
under democratic government. The challenge for
democracy in these parts of the world is very stark.
These countries face the foundational challenge of
making the transition to democracy and then instituting
democratic government. This involves bringing down
the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military
away from controlling government and establishing a
sovereign and functional state.
Most of the established democracies face the
challenge of expansion. This involves applying the
basic principle of democratic government across all
the regions, different social groups and various
institutions. Ensuring greater power to local
governments, extension of federal principle to all the
units of the federation, inclusion of women and
minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This
also means that less and less decisions should remain
outside the arena of democratic control. Most
countries including India and other democracies like
the US face this challenge.
The third challenge of deepening of democracy
is faced by every democracy in one form or another.
This involves strengthening of the institutions and
practices of democracy . This should happen in such a
way that people can realise their expectations of
democracy. But ordinary people have different
expectations from democracy in different societies.
Therefore, this challenge takes different meanings and
paths in different parts of the world. In general terms,
it usually means strengthening those institutions
that help people’s participation and control.
This requires an attempt to bring down the
control and influence of the rich and
powerful people in making governmental
decision.
We have noted or hinted at these
challenges in all the various examples and
stories that we studied in our textbook of
Class IX and in the earlier chapters of this
book. Let us go back to all the major stops
in our tour of democracy, refresh our
memory and note down the challenges
that democracy faces in each of these.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


Challenges to Democracy
101
Chapter 8
Challenges to
Democracy
Overview
This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the
last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of
democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces
in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic
politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its
practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these
questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which
we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites
you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of
the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own
definition of democracy.
© NCERT
not to be republished
102
Democratic Politics
Thinking about challenges
Do you remember the first chapter of your Political
Science textbook of Class IX?  There we tracked the
expansion of democracy all over the world in the last
hundred years. Our reading thereafter has confirmed
our initial impression: democracy is the dominant form
of government in the contemporary world. It does
not face a serious challenger or rival. Y et our exploration
of the various dimensions of democratic politics has
shown us something else as well. The promise of
democracy is far from realised anywhere in the world.
Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does
not mean that it does not face any challenges.
At different points in this tour of democracy, we
have noted the serious challenges that democracy faces
all over the world. A challenge is not just any problem.
W e usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which
are significant and which can be overcome. A challenge
is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for
progress. Once we overcome a challenge we go up to
a higher level than before.
Different countries face different kinds of
challenges. Can you recall the map of democratic
governments in the year 2000 that was included in your
textbook? At least one fourth of the globe is still not
under democratic government. The challenge for
democracy in these parts of the world is very stark.
These countries face the foundational challenge of
making the transition to democracy and then instituting
democratic government. This involves bringing down
the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military
away from controlling government and establishing a
sovereign and functional state.
Most of the established democracies face the
challenge of expansion. This involves applying the
basic principle of democratic government across all
the regions, different social groups and various
institutions. Ensuring greater power to local
governments, extension of federal principle to all the
units of the federation, inclusion of women and
minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This
also means that less and less decisions should remain
outside the arena of democratic control. Most
countries including India and other democracies like
the US face this challenge.
The third challenge of deepening of democracy
is faced by every democracy in one form or another.
This involves strengthening of the institutions and
practices of democracy . This should happen in such a
way that people can realise their expectations of
democracy. But ordinary people have different
expectations from democracy in different societies.
Therefore, this challenge takes different meanings and
paths in different parts of the world. In general terms,
it usually means strengthening those institutions
that help people’s participation and control.
This requires an attempt to bring down the
control and influence of the rich and
powerful people in making governmental
decision.
We have noted or hinted at these
challenges in all the various examples and
stories that we studied in our textbook of
Class IX and in the earlier chapters of this
book. Let us go back to all the major stops
in our tour of democracy, refresh our
memory and note down the challenges
that democracy faces in each of these.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Challenges to Democracy
103
Different contexts, different challenges
Each of these cartoons represents a challenge to democracy . Please describe what that challenge is. Also place it
in one of the three categories mentioned in the first section.
Mubarak Re-elected Seeing the democracy
Liberal Gender Equality Campaign Money
© Patrick Chappatte - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Tab - The Calgary Sun, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Best Latin America, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


Challenges to Democracy
101
Chapter 8
Challenges to
Democracy
Overview
This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the
last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of
democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces
in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic
politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its
practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these
questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which
we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites
you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of
the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own
definition of democracy.
© NCERT
not to be republished
102
Democratic Politics
Thinking about challenges
Do you remember the first chapter of your Political
Science textbook of Class IX?  There we tracked the
expansion of democracy all over the world in the last
hundred years. Our reading thereafter has confirmed
our initial impression: democracy is the dominant form
of government in the contemporary world. It does
not face a serious challenger or rival. Y et our exploration
of the various dimensions of democratic politics has
shown us something else as well. The promise of
democracy is far from realised anywhere in the world.
Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does
not mean that it does not face any challenges.
At different points in this tour of democracy, we
have noted the serious challenges that democracy faces
all over the world. A challenge is not just any problem.
W e usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which
are significant and which can be overcome. A challenge
is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for
progress. Once we overcome a challenge we go up to
a higher level than before.
Different countries face different kinds of
challenges. Can you recall the map of democratic
governments in the year 2000 that was included in your
textbook? At least one fourth of the globe is still not
under democratic government. The challenge for
democracy in these parts of the world is very stark.
These countries face the foundational challenge of
making the transition to democracy and then instituting
democratic government. This involves bringing down
the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military
away from controlling government and establishing a
sovereign and functional state.
Most of the established democracies face the
challenge of expansion. This involves applying the
basic principle of democratic government across all
the regions, different social groups and various
institutions. Ensuring greater power to local
governments, extension of federal principle to all the
units of the federation, inclusion of women and
minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This
also means that less and less decisions should remain
outside the arena of democratic control. Most
countries including India and other democracies like
the US face this challenge.
The third challenge of deepening of democracy
is faced by every democracy in one form or another.
This involves strengthening of the institutions and
practices of democracy . This should happen in such a
way that people can realise their expectations of
democracy. But ordinary people have different
expectations from democracy in different societies.
Therefore, this challenge takes different meanings and
paths in different parts of the world. In general terms,
it usually means strengthening those institutions
that help people’s participation and control.
This requires an attempt to bring down the
control and influence of the rich and
powerful people in making governmental
decision.
We have noted or hinted at these
challenges in all the various examples and
stories that we studied in our textbook of
Class IX and in the earlier chapters of this
book. Let us go back to all the major stops
in our tour of democracy, refresh our
memory and note down the challenges
that democracy faces in each of these.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Challenges to Democracy
103
Different contexts, different challenges
Each of these cartoons represents a challenge to democracy . Please describe what that challenge is. Also place it
in one of the three categories mentioned in the first section.
Mubarak Re-elected Seeing the democracy
Liberal Gender Equality Campaign Money
© Patrick Chappatte - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Tab - The Calgary Sun, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Best Latin America, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
104
Democratic Politics
Case and context Your description of the challenges for democracy in that
situation
Chile: General Pinochet’s [Example] Establishing civilian control over all governmental
government defeated, but institutions, holding the first multi-party elections, recalling all
military still in control of political leaders from exile.
many institutions
Poland: After the first
success of Solidarity, the
government imposed
martial law and banned
solidarity
Ghana: Just attained
independence, Nkrumah
elected president
Myanmar: Suu Kyi under
house arrest for more than
15 years, army rulers
getting global acceptance
International
organisations:
US as the only super
power disregards the UN
and takes unilateral action
Mexico: Second free
election after the defeat
of PRI in 2000; defeated
candidate alleges rigging
China: Communist Party
adopts economic reforms
but maintains monopoly
over political power
Pakistan: General
Musharraf holds
referendum, allegations
of fraud in voters’ list
Iraq: Widespread
sectarian violence as the
new government fails to
establish its authority
South Africa: Mandela
retires from active politics,
pressure on his successor
Mbeki to withdraw some
concessions given to
White minority
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


Challenges to Democracy
101
Chapter 8
Challenges to
Democracy
Overview
This concluding chapter draws upon all that you have learnt in the
last two years so as to address the fundamental questions of
democratic politics : What are the challenges that democracy faces
in our country and elsewhere? What can be done to reform democratic
politics? How can our democracy become more democratic in its
practice and outcomes? This chapter does not answer these
questions. It only makes some suggestions about the way in which
we can approach the questions of challenges and reforms. It invites
you to think on your own and come up with your own reading of
the challenges, your recipe of how to overcome these and your own
definition of democracy.
© NCERT
not to be republished
102
Democratic Politics
Thinking about challenges
Do you remember the first chapter of your Political
Science textbook of Class IX?  There we tracked the
expansion of democracy all over the world in the last
hundred years. Our reading thereafter has confirmed
our initial impression: democracy is the dominant form
of government in the contemporary world. It does
not face a serious challenger or rival. Y et our exploration
of the various dimensions of democratic politics has
shown us something else as well. The promise of
democracy is far from realised anywhere in the world.
Democracy does not have a challenger, but that does
not mean that it does not face any challenges.
At different points in this tour of democracy, we
have noted the serious challenges that democracy faces
all over the world. A challenge is not just any problem.
W e usually call only those difficulties a ‘challenge’ which
are significant and which can be overcome. A challenge
is a difficulty that carries within it an opportunity for
progress. Once we overcome a challenge we go up to
a higher level than before.
Different countries face different kinds of
challenges. Can you recall the map of democratic
governments in the year 2000 that was included in your
textbook? At least one fourth of the globe is still not
under democratic government. The challenge for
democracy in these parts of the world is very stark.
These countries face the foundational challenge of
making the transition to democracy and then instituting
democratic government. This involves bringing down
the existing non-democratic regime, keeping military
away from controlling government and establishing a
sovereign and functional state.
Most of the established democracies face the
challenge of expansion. This involves applying the
basic principle of democratic government across all
the regions, different social groups and various
institutions. Ensuring greater power to local
governments, extension of federal principle to all the
units of the federation, inclusion of women and
minority groups, etc., falls under this challenge. This
also means that less and less decisions should remain
outside the arena of democratic control. Most
countries including India and other democracies like
the US face this challenge.
The third challenge of deepening of democracy
is faced by every democracy in one form or another.
This involves strengthening of the institutions and
practices of democracy . This should happen in such a
way that people can realise their expectations of
democracy. But ordinary people have different
expectations from democracy in different societies.
Therefore, this challenge takes different meanings and
paths in different parts of the world. In general terms,
it usually means strengthening those institutions
that help people’s participation and control.
This requires an attempt to bring down the
control and influence of the rich and
powerful people in making governmental
decision.
We have noted or hinted at these
challenges in all the various examples and
stories that we studied in our textbook of
Class IX and in the earlier chapters of this
book. Let us go back to all the major stops
in our tour of democracy, refresh our
memory and note down the challenges
that democracy faces in each of these.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Challenges to Democracy
103
Different contexts, different challenges
Each of these cartoons represents a challenge to democracy . Please describe what that challenge is. Also place it
in one of the three categories mentioned in the first section.
Mubarak Re-elected Seeing the democracy
Liberal Gender Equality Campaign Money
© Patrick Chappatte - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Tab - The Calgary Sun, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© Ares - Best Latin America, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
104
Democratic Politics
Case and context Your description of the challenges for democracy in that
situation
Chile: General Pinochet’s [Example] Establishing civilian control over all governmental
government defeated, but institutions, holding the first multi-party elections, recalling all
military still in control of political leaders from exile.
many institutions
Poland: After the first
success of Solidarity, the
government imposed
martial law and banned
solidarity
Ghana: Just attained
independence, Nkrumah
elected president
Myanmar: Suu Kyi under
house arrest for more than
15 years, army rulers
getting global acceptance
International
organisations:
US as the only super
power disregards the UN
and takes unilateral action
Mexico: Second free
election after the defeat
of PRI in 2000; defeated
candidate alleges rigging
China: Communist Party
adopts economic reforms
but maintains monopoly
over political power
Pakistan: General
Musharraf holds
referendum, allegations
of fraud in voters’ list
Iraq: Widespread
sectarian violence as the
new government fails to
establish its authority
South Africa: Mandela
retires from active politics,
pressure on his successor
Mbeki to withdraw some
concessions given to
White minority
© NCERT
not to be republished
Challenges to Democracy
105
US, Guantanamo Bay:
UN Secretary General
calls this a violation of
international law,
US refused to respond
Saudi Arabia:  Women not
allowed to take part in
public activities,
no freedom of religion for
minorities
Yugoslavia: Ethnic
tension between Serbs
and Albanians on the rise
in the province of Kosovo.
Yugoslavia disintergrated
Belgium: One round of
constitutional change
taken place, but the Dutch
speakers not satisfied;
they want more autonomy
Sri Lanka: The peace talks
between the government
and the LTTE break
down, renewed violence
US, Civil Rights: Blacks
have won equal rights, but
are still poor, less
educated and marginalised
Northern Ireland: The
civil war has ended but
Catholics and Protestants
yet to develop trust
Nepal: Constituent
Assembly about to be
elected, unrest in
Terai areas, Maoists have
not surrendered arms
Bolivia: Morales, a
supporter of water struggle,
becomes Prime Minister ,
MNCs threaten to leave
the country
Case and context Your description of the challenges for democracy in that
situation
© NCERT
not to be republished
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook - Challenges to Democracy - Social Studies (SST) Class 10

1. What are the challenges to democracy?
Ans. Democracy is a form of government that is based on the principles of equality, freedom, and participation. However, there are various challenges that democracy faces in different parts of the world. Some of the key challenges to democracy include corruption, poverty, inequality, communalism, casteism, and illiteracy.
2. What is the role of media in a democracy?
Ans. Media plays a crucial role in promoting and protecting democracy. It acts as a watchdog, ensuring that those in power are held accountable for their actions. The media also facilitates the flow of information and ideas, allowing citizens to make informed decisions. Additionally, the media helps to create a public sphere where citizens can engage in debates and discussions about important issues.
3. How can citizens participate in a democracy?
Ans. Citizen participation is a key feature of democracy. Citizens can participate in a democracy in various ways, such as voting in elections, joining political parties, participating in protests and demonstrations, and engaging in public debates and discussions. Additionally, citizens can make use of tools like the Right to Information Act to hold those in power accountable.
4. What is the impact of globalization on democracy?
Ans. Globalization has had a significant impact on democracy. On the one hand, globalization has facilitated the spread of democratic values and principles across the world. On the other hand, globalization has also led to a concentration of power in the hands of a few global corporations and institutions, which can undermine democratic processes. Additionally, globalization has led to the rise of populism, which can pose a challenge to democratic governance.
5. What is the role of civil society in a democracy?
Ans. Civil society plays a crucial role in promoting and protecting democracy. Civil society organizations, such as NGOs, trade unions, and community groups, act as a bridge between citizens and the state, representing the interests of citizens and holding the state accountable for its actions. Additionally, civil society organizations can provide important services to citizens, such as education, healthcare, and legal aid, which can help to promote social justice and equality.
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