NCERT Textbook - Power Sharing Class 10 Notes | EduRev

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Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - Power Sharing Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Communities
and
regions of
Belgium
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
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Communities
and
regions of
Belgium
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
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
Power sharing 3
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.
are called ‘Sri Lankan T amils’ (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 result, the relations
Ethnic Communities
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil
Indian Tamil
Muslim
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Communities
and
regions of
Belgium
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
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
Power sharing 3
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.
are called ‘Sri Lankan T amils’ (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 result, the relations
Ethnic Communities
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil
Indian Tamil
Muslim
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Civil war: A violent
conflict between
opposing groups within
a country that becomes
so intense that it appears
like a war.
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 group. Thus, no
What’s wrong if
the majority
community
rules? If Sinhalas
don’t rule in Sri
Lanka, where
else will they
rule?
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
accepted equal representation in the
Central Government.
Accommodation in Belgium
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.
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Communities
and
regions of
Belgium
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
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
Power sharing 3
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.
are called ‘Sri Lankan T amils’ (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 result, the relations
Ethnic Communities
of Sri Lanka
Sinhalese
Sri Lankan Tamil
Indian Tamil
Muslim
© NCERT
not to be republished
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.
Civil war: A violent
conflict between
opposing groups within
a country that becomes
so intense that it appears
like a war.
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 group. Thus, no
What’s wrong if
the majority
community
rules? If Sinhalas
don’t rule in Sri
Lanka, where
else will they
rule?
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
accepted equal representation in the
Central Government.
Accommodation in Belgium
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.
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
© NCERT
not to be republished
Power sharing 5
So you are
saying that
sharing of power
makes us more
powerful. Sounds
odd! Let me
think.
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?
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.
European Union Parliament in Belgium
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.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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