NCERT Textbook - Power Sharing Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Indian Polity for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

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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 state. 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.
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 state. 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.
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
Netherlands, France and Germany. 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 1 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 2 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
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 state. 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.
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
Netherlands, France and Germany. 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 1 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 2 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
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 Tamils’ (13 per
cent). The rest, whose forefathers came
from India as plantation workers during
colonial period, are called ‘Indian
Tamils’. As you can see from the map,
Sri Lankan Tamils are concentrated in
the north and east of the country . Most
of the Sinhala-speaking people are
Buddhist, 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
were 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
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