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86) Rajesh and Muzaffar read an article. It showed that no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy. Wars take place only when one of the two governments is non-democratic. The article said that this was great merit of democracy. After reading the essay, Rajesh and Muzaffar had different reactions. Rajesh said that this was not a good argument for democracy. It was just a matter of chance. It is possible that in future democracies may have wars. Muzaffar said that it could not be a matter of chance. Democracies take decisions in such a way that it reduces the chances of war. Which of the two positions do you agree with and why?
Ans: The Gram Sabha should meet regularly to carry out its functions for the welfare of the people but if the Gram Sabha does not meet that would not be democractic, it would be undemocratic.
87) This famous cartoon by RK Laxman comments on the celebrations of the fifty years of independence.
(i) How many images on the wall do you recognise?
(ii) Do you common people feel the way the common man in this cartoon does?
Ans: (i) Do it yourself.
(ii) Do it yourself.
(iii) No, it is not possible. It is impossible for all the voters in my Parliamentary or Assembly Constituency to sit together and have a meaningful discussion. The large number of voters cannot sit together for taking a decision.
88) How Myanmar is a non-democratic country?
Ans: The army rulers of Myanmar are not elected by the people. Those who happen to be in control of the army become the rulers of the country. People have no say in this decision.
89) When did Parvez Musharraf come to power in Pakistan?
Ans: In Pakistan General Parvez Musharaffled a military Coup in October 1999.
90) When did Musharaff become President of Pakistan?
Ans: In 2002 Musharaff held a referendum in the country that granted him an extension of five years as a President.
91) Who all did not accept this referendum of Parvez Musharaff?
Ans: Pakistani media, human rights organisations, and democracy activists said that the referendum was based on malpractices and fraud.
92) What does 'referendum' mean?
Ans: Referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may be adoption of a new constitution, a law or a specific governmental policy.
93) What was 'Legal Framework Order'?
Ans: It was an order issued by President Musharaff in which the President can dismiss the national or provincial assemblies. The work of the civilian cabinet is supervised by a "National Security Council' which is dominated by military officers.
94) What happened after passing this legal framework order?
Ans: After passing this law, elections were held to the national and state assemblies. Representatives were elected by people and also exercised some powers.
95) Who took the final decision in Pakistan even after elections?
Ans: The power to take final decision rested with army officials and with General Musharaff and none of them were elected by the people.
96) How People elect their representatives in China?
Ans: In China elections are regularly held after every five years for electing the country's Parliament called National People's Congress.
97) How President of China is elected?
Ans: The National People's Congress consisting of about 3,000 members, has the power to appoint the President of the country.
98) Which members are allowed to contest for the elections in China?
Ans: Only those who are members of the Chinese Communist Party or eight smaller parties allied to it were allowed to contest elections held in 2002 - 03. The government is always formed by the Communist Party.
99) What was PRI?
Ans: It was a political party of Mexico called as Institutional Revolutionary Party.
100) Why were every elections won by PRI in Mexico?
Ans: PRI managed to win elections in Mexico every six years because they used many unfair means to win elections. Like they spent a large sum of money in the campaign for its candidates and forced people to vote for them.
101) How can you say that people did not have any choice in democratic Mexico?
Ans: People seemed to have no choice. There was no way the ruling party PRI could be defeated, even if people were against it. There were no fair elections.
102) What does the true democracy say?
Ans: A democracy must be based on a free and fair elections where those currently in power have a fair chance of losing.
103) In which country women do not have the right to vote?
Ans: Saudi Arabia.
104) What is the electoral system in Fiji?
Ans: In Fiji, the vote of an indigenous Fiji has more value than that of an Indian Fijian.
105) When did Zimbabwe attain independence?
Ans: Zimbabwe attained independence from white minority rule in 1980.
106) Which party is ruling over Zimbabwe since independence?
Ans: ZANU-PF is the party that is ruling over Zimbabwe since independence.
107) Who is the President of Zimbabwe?
Ans: President Robert Mugabe.
108) How President Mugabe changed the constitution of Zimbabwe?
Ans: President Mugabe has changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the President and make him less accountable. Public protests and demonstrations against the government are declared illegal. There is a law that limits the right to criticise the President.
109) What do you derive from democratic government like Zimbabwe's?
Ans: Popular governments can be undemocratic and popular leaders can be autocratic.
110) Give any one demerit of democracy.
Ans: Leaders keep changing in a democracy. This leads to instability.
111) Give any one merit of democracy.
Ans:A democratic government is a better government because it is more accountable form of government and it enhances the dignity of citizens.
112) How democracy allows us to correct its own mistakes?
Ans: In democracy there is space for public discussion on government's or rulers' mistakes and there is a room for correction. Either the rulers have to change their decisions, or the rulers can be changed.
113) How does democracy enhance the dignity of citizens?
Ans: Democracy is based on the principle of political equality, on recognising that the poorest and the least educated has the same status as the rich and the educated.
114) Why modem democracies are representatives democracies?
Ans: Modern democracies involve such a large number of people that it is physically impossible for them to sit together and take a collective decision.
115) What is the basic sense behind a method of taking decision in democracy?
Ans: A democratic decision involves consultation with and consent of all those who are affected by that decision.
116) Define the term 'Democracy'.
Ans: Democracy is a form of government in which the rule over the country is of the people, for the people and elected by the people. E.g: India.
117) Giving an example of Mexico, prove that although having a democratic system, they were not practising democracy.
Ans: (i) Since independence in 1930, Mexico holds elections every six years to elect their President.
(ii) But until 2000, every election was won by a party called PRI. Opposition parties did contest elections, but never managed to win.
(iii) The PRI was known to use many dirty tricks to win elections. The PRI spent large sums of money in the campaign for its candidates and booths were shifted from one place to another in the last minute, which made it difficult for the people to cast their votes.
118) Compare the democratic system in China with Mexico.
(i) In China, the elections do not offer people any choice.
(ii) They have to choose the ruling party and the candidates approved by it.
(i) In Mexico, the people seemed to have a choice but practically they did not have any choice.
(ii) There was no way that the ruling party could be defeated, even if the people were against it.
119) Give examples of the countries which do not provide equal rights to vote.
Ans: There are many examples of countries which do not provide equal rights to vote.
(i) In Saudi Arabia, women do not have the right to vote.
(ii) Estonia has made its citizenship rules in such a way that people belonging to Russian minority find it difficult to get their right to vote.
(iii) In Fiji, the electoral system is such that the vote of the Fijian has more value than that of an Indian Fiji.
120) Give arguments against democracy.
Ans: The arguments against democracy are:
(i) Leaders keep changing in a democracy. This leads to instability.
(ii) Democracy is all about political competition and power play. There is no scope for morality.
(iii) So many people have to be consulted in a democracy that it leads to delays.
(iv) Elected leaders do not know the best interest of the people. It leads to bad decision-making.
(v) Democracy leads to corruption because it is based on electoral competition.
(vi) Ordinary people don't know what is good for them, so they should not decide anything.
121) Give arguments in favour of democracy.
Ans: The arguments in favour of democracy are:
(i) A democratic government is a better government because it is a more accountable form of government.
(ii) Democracy improves the quality of decision-making.
(iii) Democracy provides methods to deal with differences and conflicts.
(iv) Democracy enhances the dignity of citizens.
(v) Democracy is better than other forms of government as it allows rulers to correct its own mistake.
122) What according to you is the broader meaning of democracy?
Ans: Democracy is a form of government in which representatives of an area in a country sit together to take decisions. Elections are held to choose the representatives and native people or citizens are allowed to participate in the elections. Democracy is also a principle that can be applied to any sphere of life.
123) What is democracy? Give examples of non-democratic countries.
Ans: Democracy is a form of government in which the rulers are elected by the people. Examples of non-democratic countries:
(i) The army rulers of Myanmar are not elected by the people. Those who happen to be in control of the army become the rulers of the country. People have no say in the decision making.
(ii) Dictators like Pinochet are not elected by the people.
(iii) The king of Nepal and Saudi Arabia rule, not because the people have chosen them to do so but because they happen to be born into the royal family.
124) How does democracy provide a platform to deal with differences and conflicts?
Ans: In any society people are bound to have differences of opinions and interests. These differences are particularly sharp in a country like ours which has an amazing social diversity. People of our country belong to different regions, speak different languages, practise different religions. So they look at the world very differently and have different preferences. Democracy provides the peaceful solution to this problem. In a diverse country like India, democracy keeps our country together and united.
125) How does democracy enhance the dignity of the citizens
Ans: Democracy is based on the principle of political equality, on recognising that the poorest and the least educated has the same status as the rich and the educated. People are not subjects of a ruler, they are the rulers themselves. Even when they make mistakes, they are responsible for their conduct.
126) What have you understood by the term 'Democracy'?
Ans: Democracy is a form of government in which rulers are elected by the people. But, this definition is not adequate to define democracy. We need to add up following features:
(i) Democracy is a form of government in which rulers elected by the people take all the major decisions.
(ii) Elections offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers.
(iii) This choice and opportunity is available to all the people on an equal basis.
(iv) The exercise of this choice leads to a government limited by basic rules of the constitution and citizens rights.
127) How democracy can enhance the dignity of the citizens?
Ans: (i) Democracy is based on the principle of political equality, on recognising that the poorest and the illiterate has the same status as rich and the educated.
(ii) People are not subjects of a ruler, they are the rulers themselves.
(iii) Even when they make mistakes, they are responsible for their conduct.
128) "Democracy is better than other forms of governments because it allows us to correct its own mistakes." Do you agree with it or not ?
Ans: (i) There is no guarantee that mistakes cannot be made in democracy. No form of government can guarantee that.
(ii) The advantage in a democracy is that such mistakes cannot be hidden for long.
(iii) There is a space for public discussion on these mistakes. And there is a room for correction.
(iv) Either the rulers have to change their decision or the rulers can be changed.
(v) I believe, this cannot happen in a non-democratic government; so I fully agree that democracy does allow us to correct its own mistakes.