NCERT Textbook - What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Class 9 Notes | EduRev

NCERT Textbooks (Class 6 to Class 12)

Created by: C K Academy

Class 9 : NCERT Textbook - What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Class 9 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


22 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
O O O O OVER VER VER VER VERVIE VIE VIE VIE VIEW W W W W
The stories and the analysis in the previous chapter gave us a sense of
what democracy is like. There we described some governments as
democratic and some as non-democratic. We saw how governments in
some of those countries changed from one form to the other. Let us now
draw general lessons from those stories and ask the more basic question:
What is democracy? What are its features? This chapter builds on a simple
definition of democracy. Step by step, we work out the meaning of the
terms involved in this definition. The aim here is to understand clearly the
bare minimum features of a democratic form of government. After going
through this chapter we should be able to distinguish a democratic form
of government from a non-democratic government. Towards the end of
this chapter, we step beyond this minimal objective and introduce a broader
idea of democracy.
In the previous chapter, we have seen that democracy is the most
prevalent form of government in the world today and it is expanding to
more countries. But why is it so? What makes it better than other forms of
government? That is the second big question that we take up in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2
What is
Democracy?
Why
Democracy?
Page 2


22 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
O O O O OVER VER VER VER VERVIE VIE VIE VIE VIEW W W W W
The stories and the analysis in the previous chapter gave us a sense of
what democracy is like. There we described some governments as
democratic and some as non-democratic. We saw how governments in
some of those countries changed from one form to the other. Let us now
draw general lessons from those stories and ask the more basic question:
What is democracy? What are its features? This chapter builds on a simple
definition of democracy. Step by step, we work out the meaning of the
terms involved in this definition. The aim here is to understand clearly the
bare minimum features of a democratic form of government. After going
through this chapter we should be able to distinguish a democratic form
of government from a non-democratic government. Towards the end of
this chapter, we step beyond this minimal objective and introduce a broader
idea of democracy.
In the previous chapter, we have seen that democracy is the most
prevalent form of government in the world today and it is expanding to
more countries. But why is it so? What makes it better than other forms of
government? That is the second big question that we take up in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2
What is
Democracy?
Why
Democracy?
23
2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
distinguishes these governments
from Pinochet’s rule in Chile,
communist rule in Poland or the later
period of Nkrumah’s rule in Ghana?
What do these governments have in
common with the military rule in
Myanmar? Why do we say that these
governments are not democratic?
On the basis of this analysis, write
down some common features of:
?Democratic governments
?Non-democratic governments
W W W W Wh h h h hy def y def y def y def y define democr ine democr ine democr ine democr ine democrac ac ac ac acy? y? y? y? y?
Before we proceed further, let us
first take note of an objection by
Merry. She does not like this way
of defining democracy and wants
to ask some basic questions.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
News items like this appear very often in newspapers.
Do they all use the word democracy in the same sense?
In Chapter One we read many stories
from different parts of the world.
Through these stories we discussed
various governments and
organisations. We called some of
these democracies. Others were
described as non-democracies. Can
you recall, for each of these countries,
something about the governments
that were described as democracies?
?Chile, before and after Pinochet’s
rule
? Poland, after the fall of communist
rule
?Ghana, in the early period of
Nkrumah’s government
What do you think is common to
them? Why do we club them all under
the label of democracy? What is it that
Page 3


22 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
O O O O OVER VER VER VER VERVIE VIE VIE VIE VIEW W W W W
The stories and the analysis in the previous chapter gave us a sense of
what democracy is like. There we described some governments as
democratic and some as non-democratic. We saw how governments in
some of those countries changed from one form to the other. Let us now
draw general lessons from those stories and ask the more basic question:
What is democracy? What are its features? This chapter builds on a simple
definition of democracy. Step by step, we work out the meaning of the
terms involved in this definition. The aim here is to understand clearly the
bare minimum features of a democratic form of government. After going
through this chapter we should be able to distinguish a democratic form
of government from a non-democratic government. Towards the end of
this chapter, we step beyond this minimal objective and introduce a broader
idea of democracy.
In the previous chapter, we have seen that democracy is the most
prevalent form of government in the world today and it is expanding to
more countries. But why is it so? What makes it better than other forms of
government? That is the second big question that we take up in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2
What is
Democracy?
Why
Democracy?
23
2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
distinguishes these governments
from Pinochet’s rule in Chile,
communist rule in Poland or the later
period of Nkrumah’s rule in Ghana?
What do these governments have in
common with the military rule in
Myanmar? Why do we say that these
governments are not democratic?
On the basis of this analysis, write
down some common features of:
?Democratic governments
?Non-democratic governments
W W W W Wh h h h hy def y def y def y def y define democr ine democr ine democr ine democr ine democrac ac ac ac acy? y? y? y? y?
Before we proceed further, let us
first take note of an objection by
Merry. She does not like this way
of defining democracy and wants
to ask some basic questions.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
News items like this appear very often in newspapers.
Do they all use the word democracy in the same sense?
In Chapter One we read many stories
from different parts of the world.
Through these stories we discussed
various governments and
organisations. We called some of
these democracies. Others were
described as non-democracies. Can
you recall, for each of these countries,
something about the governments
that were described as democracies?
?Chile, before and after Pinochet’s
rule
? Poland, after the fall of communist
rule
?Ghana, in the early period of
Nkrumah’s government
What do you think is common to
them? Why do we club them all under
the label of democracy? What is it that
24 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
Her teacher Matilda Lyngdoh
responds to her questions, as other
classmates join the discussion:
Merry: Ma’am, I don’t like this idea. First we
spend one whole chapter discussing democ-
racies in different parts of the world and then
we want to find out the meaning of democ-
racy. I mean logically shouldn’t we have ap-
proached it the other way round? Shouldn’t the
meaning have come first and then the example?
Lyngdoh Madam: I can see your point. But that
is not how we reason in everyday life. We use
words like pen, rain or love. Do we wait to have
a definition of these words before we use
them? Come to think of it, do we have clear
definition of these words? It is only by using a
word that we understand its meaning.
Merry: But then why do we need definitions at all?
Lyngdoh Madam: We need a definition only when
we come across a difficulty in the use of a word.
We need a definition of rain only when we wish
to distinguish it from, say, drizzle or cloudburst.
The same is true for democracy. We need a clear
definition only because people use it for differ-
ent purposes, because very different kinds of
governments call themselves democracy.
Ribiang: But why do we need to work on a defi-
nition? The other day you quoted Abraham Lin-
coln to us: “Democracy is government of the
people, by the people and for the people”. We in
Meghalaya always ruled ourselves. That is ac-
cepted by everyone. Why do we need to change
that?
Lyngdoh Madam: I am not saying we need to
change it. I too find this definition very beauti-
ful. But we don’t know if this is the best way of
defining unless we think about it ourselves. We
must not accept something just because it is
famous, just because everyone accepts it.
Yolanda: Ma’am, can I suggest something? We
don’t need to look for any definition. I read some-
where that the word democracy comes from a
Greek word ‘Demokratia’. In Greek ‘demos’
means people and ‘kratia’ means rule. So de-
mocracy is rule by the people. This is the cor-
rect meaning. Where is the need to debate?
Lyngdoh Madam: That is also a very helpful way
of thinking about this matter. I would just say
that this does not always work. A word does
not remain tied to its origin. Just think of comput-
ers. Originally they were used for computing, that
is to say calculating, very difficult mathematical
sums. These were very powerful calculators. But
nowadays very few people use computers for
computing sums. They use it for writing, for de-
signing, for listening to music and for watching
films. Words remain the same but their meaning
can change with time. In that case it is not very
useful to look at the origins of a word.
Merry: Ma’am, so basically what you are saying
is that there is no shortcut to our thinking about
the matter ourselves. We have to think about
its meaning and evolve a definition.
Lyngdoh Madam: You got me right. Let us get on
with it now.
ACTIVITY
Let us take Lyngdoh Madam seriously and try to
write down the exact definition of some of the
simple words that we use all the time: pen, rain
and love. For example, is there a way of defining
a pen that distinguishes it clearly from a pencil, a
brush, a chalk or crayon.
? What have you learnt from this attempt?
? What does it teach us about understanding the
meaning of democracy?
A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple definition inition inition inition inition
Let us get back to our discussion
on similarities and differences
among governments that are called
democracies. In the previous chapter
we identified one simple factor
common to all democracies: the
government is chosen by the people.
We could thus start with a simple
definition: democracy is a form of
government in which the rulers
are elected by the people.
This is a useful starting point. This
definition allows us to separate
democracy from forms of government
that are clearly not democratic. The
army rulers of Myanmar are not
elected by the people. Those who
happen to be in control of the army
I have heard a
different version.
Democracy is off off off off off
the people, far far far far far
(from) the people
and (where they)
buy buy buy buy buy the people.
Why don’t we
accept that?
Page 4


22 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
O O O O OVER VER VER VER VERVIE VIE VIE VIE VIEW W W W W
The stories and the analysis in the previous chapter gave us a sense of
what democracy is like. There we described some governments as
democratic and some as non-democratic. We saw how governments in
some of those countries changed from one form to the other. Let us now
draw general lessons from those stories and ask the more basic question:
What is democracy? What are its features? This chapter builds on a simple
definition of democracy. Step by step, we work out the meaning of the
terms involved in this definition. The aim here is to understand clearly the
bare minimum features of a democratic form of government. After going
through this chapter we should be able to distinguish a democratic form
of government from a non-democratic government. Towards the end of
this chapter, we step beyond this minimal objective and introduce a broader
idea of democracy.
In the previous chapter, we have seen that democracy is the most
prevalent form of government in the world today and it is expanding to
more countries. But why is it so? What makes it better than other forms of
government? That is the second big question that we take up in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2
What is
Democracy?
Why
Democracy?
23
2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
distinguishes these governments
from Pinochet’s rule in Chile,
communist rule in Poland or the later
period of Nkrumah’s rule in Ghana?
What do these governments have in
common with the military rule in
Myanmar? Why do we say that these
governments are not democratic?
On the basis of this analysis, write
down some common features of:
?Democratic governments
?Non-democratic governments
W W W W Wh h h h hy def y def y def y def y define democr ine democr ine democr ine democr ine democrac ac ac ac acy? y? y? y? y?
Before we proceed further, let us
first take note of an objection by
Merry. She does not like this way
of defining democracy and wants
to ask some basic questions.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
News items like this appear very often in newspapers.
Do they all use the word democracy in the same sense?
In Chapter One we read many stories
from different parts of the world.
Through these stories we discussed
various governments and
organisations. We called some of
these democracies. Others were
described as non-democracies. Can
you recall, for each of these countries,
something about the governments
that were described as democracies?
?Chile, before and after Pinochet’s
rule
? Poland, after the fall of communist
rule
?Ghana, in the early period of
Nkrumah’s government
What do you think is common to
them? Why do we club them all under
the label of democracy? What is it that
24 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
Her teacher Matilda Lyngdoh
responds to her questions, as other
classmates join the discussion:
Merry: Ma’am, I don’t like this idea. First we
spend one whole chapter discussing democ-
racies in different parts of the world and then
we want to find out the meaning of democ-
racy. I mean logically shouldn’t we have ap-
proached it the other way round? Shouldn’t the
meaning have come first and then the example?
Lyngdoh Madam: I can see your point. But that
is not how we reason in everyday life. We use
words like pen, rain or love. Do we wait to have
a definition of these words before we use
them? Come to think of it, do we have clear
definition of these words? It is only by using a
word that we understand its meaning.
Merry: But then why do we need definitions at all?
Lyngdoh Madam: We need a definition only when
we come across a difficulty in the use of a word.
We need a definition of rain only when we wish
to distinguish it from, say, drizzle or cloudburst.
The same is true for democracy. We need a clear
definition only because people use it for differ-
ent purposes, because very different kinds of
governments call themselves democracy.
Ribiang: But why do we need to work on a defi-
nition? The other day you quoted Abraham Lin-
coln to us: “Democracy is government of the
people, by the people and for the people”. We in
Meghalaya always ruled ourselves. That is ac-
cepted by everyone. Why do we need to change
that?
Lyngdoh Madam: I am not saying we need to
change it. I too find this definition very beauti-
ful. But we don’t know if this is the best way of
defining unless we think about it ourselves. We
must not accept something just because it is
famous, just because everyone accepts it.
Yolanda: Ma’am, can I suggest something? We
don’t need to look for any definition. I read some-
where that the word democracy comes from a
Greek word ‘Demokratia’. In Greek ‘demos’
means people and ‘kratia’ means rule. So de-
mocracy is rule by the people. This is the cor-
rect meaning. Where is the need to debate?
Lyngdoh Madam: That is also a very helpful way
of thinking about this matter. I would just say
that this does not always work. A word does
not remain tied to its origin. Just think of comput-
ers. Originally they were used for computing, that
is to say calculating, very difficult mathematical
sums. These were very powerful calculators. But
nowadays very few people use computers for
computing sums. They use it for writing, for de-
signing, for listening to music and for watching
films. Words remain the same but their meaning
can change with time. In that case it is not very
useful to look at the origins of a word.
Merry: Ma’am, so basically what you are saying
is that there is no shortcut to our thinking about
the matter ourselves. We have to think about
its meaning and evolve a definition.
Lyngdoh Madam: You got me right. Let us get on
with it now.
ACTIVITY
Let us take Lyngdoh Madam seriously and try to
write down the exact definition of some of the
simple words that we use all the time: pen, rain
and love. For example, is there a way of defining
a pen that distinguishes it clearly from a pencil, a
brush, a chalk or crayon.
? What have you learnt from this attempt?
? What does it teach us about understanding the
meaning of democracy?
A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple definition inition inition inition inition
Let us get back to our discussion
on similarities and differences
among governments that are called
democracies. In the previous chapter
we identified one simple factor
common to all democracies: the
government is chosen by the people.
We could thus start with a simple
definition: democracy is a form of
government in which the rulers
are elected by the people.
This is a useful starting point. This
definition allows us to separate
democracy from forms of government
that are clearly not democratic. The
army rulers of Myanmar are not
elected by the people. Those who
happen to be in control of the army
I have heard a
different version.
Democracy is off off off off off
the people, far far far far far
(from) the people
and (where they)
buy buy buy buy buy the people.
Why don’t we
accept that?
25
CHECK
YOUR
PROGRESS
become the rulers of the country.
People have no say in this decision.
Dictators like Pinochet are not elected
by the people. This also applies to
monarchies. The kings 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.
This simple definition is not
adequate. It reminds us that
democracy is people’s rule. But if we
use this definition in an unthinking
manner, we would end up calling
almost every government that holds an
election a democracy. That would be
very misleading. As we shall find out
in Chapter Four, every government in
contemporary world wants to be
called a democracy, even if it is not
so. That is why we need to carefully
distinguish between a government
that is a democracy and one that
pretends to be one. We can do so by
understanding each word in this
definition carefully and spelling out
the features of a democratic
government.
Ribiang went back home and collected some more famous quotations on democracy. This time she did
not mention the names of the people who said or wrote these. She wants you to read these and comment
on how good or useful these thoughts are:
? Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.
? Democracy consists of choosing your dictators after they’ve told you what you think it is you want
to hear.
? Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes
democracy necessary
? Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
? All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
This cartoon was
drawn when elections
were held in Iraq with
the presence of US
and other foreign
powers. What do you
think this cartoon is
saying? Why is
‘democracy’ written
the way it is?
r r r r re e e e ea a a a ad d d d d
t t t t the he he he he
c c c c ca a a a ar r r r rt t t t toon oon oon oon oon
©Stephane Peray, Thailand, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Page 5


22 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
O O O O OVER VER VER VER VERVIE VIE VIE VIE VIEW W W W W
The stories and the analysis in the previous chapter gave us a sense of
what democracy is like. There we described some governments as
democratic and some as non-democratic. We saw how governments in
some of those countries changed from one form to the other. Let us now
draw general lessons from those stories and ask the more basic question:
What is democracy? What are its features? This chapter builds on a simple
definition of democracy. Step by step, we work out the meaning of the
terms involved in this definition. The aim here is to understand clearly the
bare minimum features of a democratic form of government. After going
through this chapter we should be able to distinguish a democratic form
of government from a non-democratic government. Towards the end of
this chapter, we step beyond this minimal objective and introduce a broader
idea of democracy.
In the previous chapter, we have seen that democracy is the most
prevalent form of government in the world today and it is expanding to
more countries. But why is it so? What makes it better than other forms of
government? That is the second big question that we take up in this chapter.
CHAPTER 2
What is
Democracy?
Why
Democracy?
23
2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
distinguishes these governments
from Pinochet’s rule in Chile,
communist rule in Poland or the later
period of Nkrumah’s rule in Ghana?
What do these governments have in
common with the military rule in
Myanmar? Why do we say that these
governments are not democratic?
On the basis of this analysis, write
down some common features of:
?Democratic governments
?Non-democratic governments
W W W W Wh h h h hy def y def y def y def y define democr ine democr ine democr ine democr ine democrac ac ac ac acy? y? y? y? y?
Before we proceed further, let us
first take note of an objection by
Merry. She does not like this way
of defining democracy and wants
to ask some basic questions.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
News items like this appear very often in newspapers.
Do they all use the word democracy in the same sense?
In Chapter One we read many stories
from different parts of the world.
Through these stories we discussed
various governments and
organisations. We called some of
these democracies. Others were
described as non-democracies. Can
you recall, for each of these countries,
something about the governments
that were described as democracies?
?Chile, before and after Pinochet’s
rule
? Poland, after the fall of communist
rule
?Ghana, in the early period of
Nkrumah’s government
What do you think is common to
them? Why do we club them all under
the label of democracy? What is it that
24 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
Her teacher Matilda Lyngdoh
responds to her questions, as other
classmates join the discussion:
Merry: Ma’am, I don’t like this idea. First we
spend one whole chapter discussing democ-
racies in different parts of the world and then
we want to find out the meaning of democ-
racy. I mean logically shouldn’t we have ap-
proached it the other way round? Shouldn’t the
meaning have come first and then the example?
Lyngdoh Madam: I can see your point. But that
is not how we reason in everyday life. We use
words like pen, rain or love. Do we wait to have
a definition of these words before we use
them? Come to think of it, do we have clear
definition of these words? It is only by using a
word that we understand its meaning.
Merry: But then why do we need definitions at all?
Lyngdoh Madam: We need a definition only when
we come across a difficulty in the use of a word.
We need a definition of rain only when we wish
to distinguish it from, say, drizzle or cloudburst.
The same is true for democracy. We need a clear
definition only because people use it for differ-
ent purposes, because very different kinds of
governments call themselves democracy.
Ribiang: But why do we need to work on a defi-
nition? The other day you quoted Abraham Lin-
coln to us: “Democracy is government of the
people, by the people and for the people”. We in
Meghalaya always ruled ourselves. That is ac-
cepted by everyone. Why do we need to change
that?
Lyngdoh Madam: I am not saying we need to
change it. I too find this definition very beauti-
ful. But we don’t know if this is the best way of
defining unless we think about it ourselves. We
must not accept something just because it is
famous, just because everyone accepts it.
Yolanda: Ma’am, can I suggest something? We
don’t need to look for any definition. I read some-
where that the word democracy comes from a
Greek word ‘Demokratia’. In Greek ‘demos’
means people and ‘kratia’ means rule. So de-
mocracy is rule by the people. This is the cor-
rect meaning. Where is the need to debate?
Lyngdoh Madam: That is also a very helpful way
of thinking about this matter. I would just say
that this does not always work. A word does
not remain tied to its origin. Just think of comput-
ers. Originally they were used for computing, that
is to say calculating, very difficult mathematical
sums. These were very powerful calculators. But
nowadays very few people use computers for
computing sums. They use it for writing, for de-
signing, for listening to music and for watching
films. Words remain the same but their meaning
can change with time. In that case it is not very
useful to look at the origins of a word.
Merry: Ma’am, so basically what you are saying
is that there is no shortcut to our thinking about
the matter ourselves. We have to think about
its meaning and evolve a definition.
Lyngdoh Madam: You got me right. Let us get on
with it now.
ACTIVITY
Let us take Lyngdoh Madam seriously and try to
write down the exact definition of some of the
simple words that we use all the time: pen, rain
and love. For example, is there a way of defining
a pen that distinguishes it clearly from a pencil, a
brush, a chalk or crayon.
? What have you learnt from this attempt?
? What does it teach us about understanding the
meaning of democracy?
A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple def A simple definition inition inition inition inition
Let us get back to our discussion
on similarities and differences
among governments that are called
democracies. In the previous chapter
we identified one simple factor
common to all democracies: the
government is chosen by the people.
We could thus start with a simple
definition: democracy is a form of
government in which the rulers
are elected by the people.
This is a useful starting point. This
definition allows us to separate
democracy from forms of government
that are clearly not democratic. The
army rulers of Myanmar are not
elected by the people. Those who
happen to be in control of the army
I have heard a
different version.
Democracy is off off off off off
the people, far far far far far
(from) the people
and (where they)
buy buy buy buy buy the people.
Why don’t we
accept that?
25
CHECK
YOUR
PROGRESS
become the rulers of the country.
People have no say in this decision.
Dictators like Pinochet are not elected
by the people. This also applies to
monarchies. The kings 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.
This simple definition is not
adequate. It reminds us that
democracy is people’s rule. But if we
use this definition in an unthinking
manner, we would end up calling
almost every government that holds an
election a democracy. That would be
very misleading. As we shall find out
in Chapter Four, every government in
contemporary world wants to be
called a democracy, even if it is not
so. That is why we need to carefully
distinguish between a government
that is a democracy and one that
pretends to be one. We can do so by
understanding each word in this
definition carefully and spelling out
the features of a democratic
government.
Ribiang went back home and collected some more famous quotations on democracy. This time she did
not mention the names of the people who said or wrote these. She wants you to read these and comment
on how good or useful these thoughts are:
? Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.
? Democracy consists of choosing your dictators after they’ve told you what you think it is you want
to hear.
? Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes
democracy necessary
? Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
? All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.
W W W W WHA HA HA HA HAT T T T T     IS IS IS IS IS D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? W ? W ? W ? W ? WHY HY HY HY HY D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y? ? ? ? ?
This cartoon was
drawn when elections
were held in Iraq with
the presence of US
and other foreign
powers. What do you
think this cartoon is
saying? Why is
‘democracy’ written
the way it is?
r r r r re e e e ea a a a ad d d d d
t t t t the he he he he
c c c c ca a a a ar r r r rt t t t toon oon oon oon oon
©Stephane Peray, Thailand, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
26 D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRA A A A ATI TI TI TI TIC C C C C P P P P PO O O O OLITI LITI LITI LITI LITICS CS CS CS CS
2.2 F 2.2 F 2.2 F 2.2 F 2.2 FEA EA EA EA EATURES TURES TURES TURES TURES     O O O O OF F F F F     D D D D DEMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCR EMOCRAC AC AC AC ACY Y Y Y Y
want in a democracy? Or must a
democratic government function
with some limits? Is it necessary
for a democracy to respect some
rights of the citizens?
Let us consider each of these
questions with the help of some
examples.
M M M M Major de ajor de ajor de ajor de ajor decisions b cisions b cisions b cisions b cisions by ele y ele y ele y ele y elec c c c ct t t t te e e e ed d d d d
leaders leaders leaders leaders leaders
In Pakistan, General Pervez
Musharraf led a military coup in
October 1999. He overthrew a
democratically elected government
and declared himself the ‘Chief
Executive’ of the country. Later he
changed his designation to President
and in 2002 held a referendum in
the country that granted him a five-
year extension. Pakistani media,
human rights organisations and
democracy activists said that the
referendum was based on
We have started with a simple
definition that democracy is a form
of government in which the rulers
are elected by the people. This
raises many questions:
?Who are the rulers in this
definition? Which officials must be
elected for any government to be
called a democracy? Which
decisions may be taken by non-
elected officials in a democracy?
? What kind of election constitutes
a democratic election? What
conditions must be fulfilled for an
election to be considered
democratic?
? Who are the people who can elect
the rulers or get elected as rulers?
Should this include every citizen on
an equal basis? Can a democracy
deny some citizens this right?
?Finally, what kind of a form of
government is democracy? Can
elected rulers do whatever they
Syria is a small west
Asian country. The
ruling Ba’ath Party
and some of its small
allies are the only
parties allowed in that
country. Do you think
this cartoon could
apply to China or
Mexico? What does
the crown of leaves
on democracy
signify?
r r r r re e e e ea a a a ad d d d d
t t t t the he he he he
c c c c ca a a a ar r r r rt t t t toon oon oon oon oon
©Emad Hajjaj, Jordan, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
Read More
Offer running on EduRev: Apply code STAYHOME200 to get INR 200 off on our premium plan EduRev Infinity!

Complete Syllabus of Class 9

Dynamic Test

Content Category

Related Searches

NCERT Textbook - What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Class 9 Notes | EduRev

,

MCQs

,

mock tests for examination

,

pdf

,

Exam

,

past year papers

,

Sample Paper

,

Viva Questions

,

practice quizzes

,

Extra Questions

,

Important questions

,

Free

,

study material

,

Semester Notes

,

video lectures

,

NCERT Textbook - What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Class 9 Notes | EduRev

,

Summary

,

shortcuts and tricks

,

Previous Year Questions with Solutions

,

ppt

,

NCERT Textbook - What is Democracy? Why Democracy? Class 9 Notes | EduRev

,

Objective type Questions

;