NCERT Textbook - The Story of Democracy Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Sociology Class 12

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - The Story of Democracy Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


The Story of Indian
Democracy
3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 2


The Story of Indian
Democracy
3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
36
   We are all familiar with the idea that democracy is a government of the people,
by the people, and for the people. Democracies fall into two basic categories,
direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the
intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public
decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers
of people – in a community organisation or tribal council, for example, the local
unit of a trade union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss
issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote.
Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for
direct democracy. Today, the most common form of democracy, whether for a
town of 50,000 or nations of 1 billion, is representative democracy, in which
citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer
programmes for the public good. Ours is a representative democracy. Every
citizen has the important right to vote her/his representative. People elect their
representatives to all levels from Panchayats, Municipal Boards, State Assemblies
and Parliament. There has increasingly been a
feeling that democracy ought to involve people
more regularly and should not just mean casting
a vote every five years. Both the concepts of
participatory democracy and decentralised
governance have thus become popular.
Participatory democracy is a system of
democracy in which the members of a group or
community participate collectively in the taking
of major decisions. This chapter will discuss the
panchayati raj system as an example of a major
initiative towards decentralised and grassroot
democracy.
Both the procedures as well as the values
that form Indian democracy have developed over
the long years of India’s anti-colonial struggle.
In the last sixty years, since independence, the
success of Indian democracy has been seen as a
remarkable feat for a country with such great
diversity as well as inequality. This chapter
cannot possibly provide a comprehensive
account of its rich and complex past and
present.
In this chapter we, therefore, try and provide only a synoptic view of
democracy in India. We first look at the Indian Constitution, the bedrock of
Indian democracy. We focus on its key values, briefly look at the making of the
Constitution, drawing upon some snippets of the debates representing different
views. Second we look at the grassroot level of functioning democracy, namely
the Panchayat Raj system. In both expositions you will notice that there are
photograph of someone voting...from
some old ncert book
An old lady voting in election
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 3


The Story of Indian
Democracy
3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
36
   We are all familiar with the idea that democracy is a government of the people,
by the people, and for the people. Democracies fall into two basic categories,
direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the
intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public
decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers
of people – in a community organisation or tribal council, for example, the local
unit of a trade union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss
issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote.
Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for
direct democracy. Today, the most common form of democracy, whether for a
town of 50,000 or nations of 1 billion, is representative democracy, in which
citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer
programmes for the public good. Ours is a representative democracy. Every
citizen has the important right to vote her/his representative. People elect their
representatives to all levels from Panchayats, Municipal Boards, State Assemblies
and Parliament. There has increasingly been a
feeling that democracy ought to involve people
more regularly and should not just mean casting
a vote every five years. Both the concepts of
participatory democracy and decentralised
governance have thus become popular.
Participatory democracy is a system of
democracy in which the members of a group or
community participate collectively in the taking
of major decisions. This chapter will discuss the
panchayati raj system as an example of a major
initiative towards decentralised and grassroot
democracy.
Both the procedures as well as the values
that form Indian democracy have developed over
the long years of India’s anti-colonial struggle.
In the last sixty years, since independence, the
success of Indian democracy has been seen as a
remarkable feat for a country with such great
diversity as well as inequality. This chapter
cannot possibly provide a comprehensive
account of its rich and complex past and
present.
In this chapter we, therefore, try and provide only a synoptic view of
democracy in India. We first look at the Indian Constitution, the bedrock of
Indian democracy. We focus on its key values, briefly look at the making of the
Constitution, drawing upon some snippets of the debates representing different
views. Second we look at the grassroot level of functioning democracy, namely
the Panchayat Raj system. In both expositions you will notice that there are
photograph of someone voting...from
some old ncert book
An old lady voting in election
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Story of Indian Democracy
37
different groups of people representing competing interest and often also different
political parties. This is an essential part of any functioning democracy. The
third part of this chapter seeks to discuss how competing interests function,
what the terms interest groups and political parties mean and what their role is
in a democratic system such as ours.
3.1 THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
THE CORE VALUES OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY
Like so many other features of modern India we need to begin the story about
modern Indian democracy from the colonial period. You have just read about
the many structural and cultural changes that British colonialism brought
about deliberately. Some of the changes that came about happened in an
unintended fashion. The British did not intend to introduce them.  For instance,
they sought to introduce western education to create a western educated Indian
middle class that would help the colonial rulers to continue their rule. A western
educated section of Indians did emerge. But, instead of aiding British rule, they
used western liberal ideas of democracy, social justice and nationalism to
challenge colonial rule.
This should not, however, suggest that democratic values and democratic
institutions are purely western. Our ancient epics, our diverse folk tales from
one corner of the country to another are full of dialogues, discussions and
contrasting positions. Think of any folk tale, riddles, folk song or any story
from any epic that reveals different viewpoints? We just draw from one example
from the epic Mahabharata.
However, as we saw in chapter 1
and 2 social change in modern India
is not just about Indian or western
ideas. It is a combination as well as
reinterpretation of western and
Indian ideas. We saw that in the case
of the social reformers. We saw the
use of both modern ideas of equality
and traditional ideas of justice.
Democracy is no exception. In
colonial India the undemocratic and
discriminatory administrative
practice of British colonialism
contrasted sharply with the vision of
freedom which western theories of
democracy espoused and which the
western educated Indians read
about. The scale of poverty and
The tradition of questioning
When, in the Mahabharata, Bhrigu tells
Bharadvaja that caste division relates to
dif ferences in physical attributes of different human
beings, reflected in skin colour, Bharadvaja
responds not only by pointing to the considerable
variations in skin colour within every caste (‘if
different colours indicate different castes, then all
castes are mixed castes’), but also by the more
profound questions: “We all seem to be affected
by desire, anger, fear, sorrow, worry, hunger and
37
BOX 3.1
labour; how do we have caste dif ferences then?”
(Sen 2005:10-11)
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 4


The Story of Indian
Democracy
3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
36
   We are all familiar with the idea that democracy is a government of the people,
by the people, and for the people. Democracies fall into two basic categories,
direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the
intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public
decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers
of people – in a community organisation or tribal council, for example, the local
unit of a trade union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss
issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote.
Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for
direct democracy. Today, the most common form of democracy, whether for a
town of 50,000 or nations of 1 billion, is representative democracy, in which
citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer
programmes for the public good. Ours is a representative democracy. Every
citizen has the important right to vote her/his representative. People elect their
representatives to all levels from Panchayats, Municipal Boards, State Assemblies
and Parliament. There has increasingly been a
feeling that democracy ought to involve people
more regularly and should not just mean casting
a vote every five years. Both the concepts of
participatory democracy and decentralised
governance have thus become popular.
Participatory democracy is a system of
democracy in which the members of a group or
community participate collectively in the taking
of major decisions. This chapter will discuss the
panchayati raj system as an example of a major
initiative towards decentralised and grassroot
democracy.
Both the procedures as well as the values
that form Indian democracy have developed over
the long years of India’s anti-colonial struggle.
In the last sixty years, since independence, the
success of Indian democracy has been seen as a
remarkable feat for a country with such great
diversity as well as inequality. This chapter
cannot possibly provide a comprehensive
account of its rich and complex past and
present.
In this chapter we, therefore, try and provide only a synoptic view of
democracy in India. We first look at the Indian Constitution, the bedrock of
Indian democracy. We focus on its key values, briefly look at the making of the
Constitution, drawing upon some snippets of the debates representing different
views. Second we look at the grassroot level of functioning democracy, namely
the Panchayat Raj system. In both expositions you will notice that there are
photograph of someone voting...from
some old ncert book
An old lady voting in election
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Story of Indian Democracy
37
different groups of people representing competing interest and often also different
political parties. This is an essential part of any functioning democracy. The
third part of this chapter seeks to discuss how competing interests function,
what the terms interest groups and political parties mean and what their role is
in a democratic system such as ours.
3.1 THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
THE CORE VALUES OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY
Like so many other features of modern India we need to begin the story about
modern Indian democracy from the colonial period. You have just read about
the many structural and cultural changes that British colonialism brought
about deliberately. Some of the changes that came about happened in an
unintended fashion. The British did not intend to introduce them.  For instance,
they sought to introduce western education to create a western educated Indian
middle class that would help the colonial rulers to continue their rule. A western
educated section of Indians did emerge. But, instead of aiding British rule, they
used western liberal ideas of democracy, social justice and nationalism to
challenge colonial rule.
This should not, however, suggest that democratic values and democratic
institutions are purely western. Our ancient epics, our diverse folk tales from
one corner of the country to another are full of dialogues, discussions and
contrasting positions. Think of any folk tale, riddles, folk song or any story
from any epic that reveals different viewpoints? We just draw from one example
from the epic Mahabharata.
However, as we saw in chapter 1
and 2 social change in modern India
is not just about Indian or western
ideas. It is a combination as well as
reinterpretation of western and
Indian ideas. We saw that in the case
of the social reformers. We saw the
use of both modern ideas of equality
and traditional ideas of justice.
Democracy is no exception. In
colonial India the undemocratic and
discriminatory administrative
practice of British colonialism
contrasted sharply with the vision of
freedom which western theories of
democracy espoused and which the
western educated Indians read
about. The scale of poverty and
The tradition of questioning
When, in the Mahabharata, Bhrigu tells
Bharadvaja that caste division relates to
dif ferences in physical attributes of different human
beings, reflected in skin colour, Bharadvaja
responds not only by pointing to the considerable
variations in skin colour within every caste (‘if
different colours indicate different castes, then all
castes are mixed castes’), but also by the more
profound questions: “We all seem to be affected
by desire, anger, fear, sorrow, worry, hunger and
37
BOX 3.1
labour; how do we have caste dif ferences then?”
(Sen 2005:10-11)
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
38
intensity of social discrimination within India also led to deeper questioning of
the meaning of democracy. Is democracy just about political freedom? Or is it
also about economic freedom and social justice? Is it also about equal rights to
all irrespective of caste, creed, race and gender? And if that is so how can such
equality be realised in an unequal society?
Society has been aiming to lay a new foundation as was summarised by
the French revolution in three words, fraternity, liberty and equality . The
French Revolution was welcomed because of this slogan. It failed to produce
equality. We welcomed the Russian revolution because it aims to produce
equality. But it cannot be too much emphasised that in producing equality,
society cannot afford to sacrifice fraternity or liberty . Equality will be of no
value without fraternity or liberty. It seems that the three can coexist only if
one follows the way of the Buddha…
(Ambedkar 1992)
EXERCISE FOR BOX 3.2
Many of these issues were thought of much before India became free. Even
as India fought for its independence from British colonialism a vision of what
Indian democracy ought to look like emerged. As far back as in 1928, Motilal
Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India. In
1931, the resolution at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress
dwelt on how independent India’s constitution should look like. The Karachi
Resolution reflects a vision of democracy that meant not just formal holding of
elections but a substantive reworking of the Indian social structure in order to
have a genuine democratic society.
The Karachi Resolution clearly spells out the vision of democracy that the
nationalist movement in India had. It articulates the values that were further
given full expression in the Indian Constitution.  You will notice how the Preamble
of the Indian Constitution seeks to ensure not just political justice but also
social and economic justice. You will likewise notice that equality is not just
about equal political rights but also of status and opportunity.
BOX 3.2
Read the text above and discuss how diverse intellectual ideas from the west and from India
were being used to interrogate and construct new models of democracy. Can you think of
other reformers and nationalists who were trying to do the same?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 5


The Story of Indian
Democracy
3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
36
   We are all familiar with the idea that democracy is a government of the people,
by the people, and for the people. Democracies fall into two basic categories,
direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the
intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public
decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers
of people – in a community organisation or tribal council, for example, the local
unit of a trade union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss
issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote.
Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for
direct democracy. Today, the most common form of democracy, whether for a
town of 50,000 or nations of 1 billion, is representative democracy, in which
citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws, and administer
programmes for the public good. Ours is a representative democracy. Every
citizen has the important right to vote her/his representative. People elect their
representatives to all levels from Panchayats, Municipal Boards, State Assemblies
and Parliament. There has increasingly been a
feeling that democracy ought to involve people
more regularly and should not just mean casting
a vote every five years. Both the concepts of
participatory democracy and decentralised
governance have thus become popular.
Participatory democracy is a system of
democracy in which the members of a group or
community participate collectively in the taking
of major decisions. This chapter will discuss the
panchayati raj system as an example of a major
initiative towards decentralised and grassroot
democracy.
Both the procedures as well as the values
that form Indian democracy have developed over
the long years of India’s anti-colonial struggle.
In the last sixty years, since independence, the
success of Indian democracy has been seen as a
remarkable feat for a country with such great
diversity as well as inequality. This chapter
cannot possibly provide a comprehensive
account of its rich and complex past and
present.
In this chapter we, therefore, try and provide only a synoptic view of
democracy in India. We first look at the Indian Constitution, the bedrock of
Indian democracy. We focus on its key values, briefly look at the making of the
Constitution, drawing upon some snippets of the debates representing different
views. Second we look at the grassroot level of functioning democracy, namely
the Panchayat Raj system. In both expositions you will notice that there are
photograph of someone voting...from
some old ncert book
An old lady voting in election
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Story of Indian Democracy
37
different groups of people representing competing interest and often also different
political parties. This is an essential part of any functioning democracy. The
third part of this chapter seeks to discuss how competing interests function,
what the terms interest groups and political parties mean and what their role is
in a democratic system such as ours.
3.1 THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
THE CORE VALUES OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY
Like so many other features of modern India we need to begin the story about
modern Indian democracy from the colonial period. You have just read about
the many structural and cultural changes that British colonialism brought
about deliberately. Some of the changes that came about happened in an
unintended fashion. The British did not intend to introduce them.  For instance,
they sought to introduce western education to create a western educated Indian
middle class that would help the colonial rulers to continue their rule. A western
educated section of Indians did emerge. But, instead of aiding British rule, they
used western liberal ideas of democracy, social justice and nationalism to
challenge colonial rule.
This should not, however, suggest that democratic values and democratic
institutions are purely western. Our ancient epics, our diverse folk tales from
one corner of the country to another are full of dialogues, discussions and
contrasting positions. Think of any folk tale, riddles, folk song or any story
from any epic that reveals different viewpoints? We just draw from one example
from the epic Mahabharata.
However, as we saw in chapter 1
and 2 social change in modern India
is not just about Indian or western
ideas. It is a combination as well as
reinterpretation of western and
Indian ideas. We saw that in the case
of the social reformers. We saw the
use of both modern ideas of equality
and traditional ideas of justice.
Democracy is no exception. In
colonial India the undemocratic and
discriminatory administrative
practice of British colonialism
contrasted sharply with the vision of
freedom which western theories of
democracy espoused and which the
western educated Indians read
about. The scale of poverty and
The tradition of questioning
When, in the Mahabharata, Bhrigu tells
Bharadvaja that caste division relates to
dif ferences in physical attributes of different human
beings, reflected in skin colour, Bharadvaja
responds not only by pointing to the considerable
variations in skin colour within every caste (‘if
different colours indicate different castes, then all
castes are mixed castes’), but also by the more
profound questions: “We all seem to be affected
by desire, anger, fear, sorrow, worry, hunger and
37
BOX 3.1
labour; how do we have caste dif ferences then?”
(Sen 2005:10-11)
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Social Change and Development in India
38
intensity of social discrimination within India also led to deeper questioning of
the meaning of democracy. Is democracy just about political freedom? Or is it
also about economic freedom and social justice? Is it also about equal rights to
all irrespective of caste, creed, race and gender? And if that is so how can such
equality be realised in an unequal society?
Society has been aiming to lay a new foundation as was summarised by
the French revolution in three words, fraternity, liberty and equality . The
French Revolution was welcomed because of this slogan. It failed to produce
equality. We welcomed the Russian revolution because it aims to produce
equality. But it cannot be too much emphasised that in producing equality,
society cannot afford to sacrifice fraternity or liberty . Equality will be of no
value without fraternity or liberty. It seems that the three can coexist only if
one follows the way of the Buddha…
(Ambedkar 1992)
EXERCISE FOR BOX 3.2
Many of these issues were thought of much before India became free. Even
as India fought for its independence from British colonialism a vision of what
Indian democracy ought to look like emerged. As far back as in 1928, Motilal
Nehru and eight other Congress leaders drafted a constitution for India. In
1931, the resolution at the Karachi session of the Indian National Congress
dwelt on how independent India’s constitution should look like. The Karachi
Resolution reflects a vision of democracy that meant not just formal holding of
elections but a substantive reworking of the Indian social structure in order to
have a genuine democratic society.
The Karachi Resolution clearly spells out the vision of democracy that the
nationalist movement in India had. It articulates the values that were further
given full expression in the Indian Constitution.  You will notice how the Preamble
of the Indian Constitution seeks to ensure not just political justice but also
social and economic justice. You will likewise notice that equality is not just
about equal political rights but also of status and opportunity.
BOX 3.2
Read the text above and discuss how diverse intellectual ideas from the west and from India
were being used to interrogate and construct new models of democracy. Can you think of
other reformers and nationalists who were trying to do the same?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Story of Indian Democracy
39
Appendix No. 6
What Swaraj will Include
Karachi Congress Resolution, 1931
Swaraj as conceived by the Congress should include real economic freedom of the masses.
The Congress declares that no constitution will be acceptable to it unless it provides or
enables the Swaraj Government to provide for:
  1. Freedom of expression, association and meeting.
  2. Freedom of religion.
  3. Protection of all cultures and languages.
  4. All citizens shall be equal before the law.
  5. No disability in employment or trade or profession on account of religion, caste or sex.
  6. Equal rights and duties for all in regard to public wells, schools, etc.
  7. All to have right to bear arms in accordance with regulations.
  8. No person to be deprived of property or liberty except in accordance with law.
  9. Religious neutrality of State.
10. Adult Suffrage.
11. Free compulsory primary education.
12. No titles to be conferred.
13. Capital punishment to be abolished.
14. Freedom of movement for every citizen of India and right to settle and  acquire property
in any part thereof, and equal protection of law.
15. Proper standard of life for industrial workers and suitable machinery for settlement of
disputes between employers and workers and protection against old age, sickness, etc.
16. All labour to be free from conditions of serfdom.
17. Special protection of women workers.
18. Children not to be employed in mines and factories.
19. Rights of peasants and workers to form unions.
20. Reform of system of land revenue and tenure and rent, exempting rent and revenue
for uneconomical holdings and reduction of dues payable for smaller holdings.
21. Inheritance tax on graduated scale.
22. Reduction of military expenditure by at least half.
23. No servant of State ordinarily to be paid above Rs 500 per month.
24. Abolition of Salt tax.
25. Protection of indigenous cloth against competition of foreign cloth.
26. Total prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs.
27. Currency and exchange in national interest.
28. Nationalisation of key industries and services, railways, etc.
29. Relief of agricultural indebtedness and control of usury.
30. Military training for citizens.
Karachi resolution condensed to be printed on membership forms.
BOX 3.3
2015-16(21/01/2015)
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