What is a Democratic State?


Democratic state is that in which the power to rule is vested in all members of the state or in the hands of the people. People participate in this form of governance, and they form this government. This is a form of governance which is run for the welfare of the people by direct participation of the people. In the democratic state, people enjoy the right to express opinion and to criticize the government. In this form of state, government is changed through elections held in a constitutional way. In a democratic state there are more than one political party.


This form of governance ensures interests for all and recognizes citizens, rights and rule of law. Bangladesh, India, the United States, UK etc are democratic states.


Work: Make a chart on characteristics of democracy.

Qualities of the Democratic State System

There are many good sides of democracy. Some qualities of democracy are described below.


1. Safeguard of Individual Liberty: In democratic states, people can express their opinions independently. They can criticize the government. People participate in running the government. As a result, individual liberty expands. Citizens' rights are protected in a democratic state.


2. Responsible Governance: In this governance, people's representatives are accountable to the people. They try to work for the welfare of the people so that they could be elected in the next election. As a result, responsible governance is established.


3. Increase of Government Efficiency: In democracy, government's stability depends on the trust of the people. As a result, government attempts to perform its duties with honesty to gain trust of the people. This results in the increase of government efficiency.


4. Symbol of equality and equal rights: All are equal in democracy. In this form of governance, all enjoy equal rights and opportunities regardless of ethnic, religious and racial identities. All participate in the activities of the state equally.


5. Increase of citizen's status: People's elected representatives run the democratic state. As the people can participate in governance, they can realise their own importance. This is how patriotism is created in them. Personality and status grow and enhance.


6. Established on logic and consent: Democratic system based on consent of the people. There is no scope for the use of force in democracy. In the end, people's will and logic get priority.


7. Gain of Political Education: In this form of state, citizens avail themselves of the opportunity to think of complicated political matters. People's political consciousness increases by taking part in elections and by hearing the statements of political parties.


8. Less probability of Revolution: Democracy is a system of flexible governance. If people wish, they could change the government through systematic procedure. There is no need of revolution.


Demerits of Democratic System

In spite of its many positive qualities, there are some demerits in democracy. These are discussed below:


1. Priority of number over qualities or competence: Loss and win in democracy are determined by election, so the number enjoys more importance than qualities. In other words, it counts heads, but undermines merit.

2. Party Governance: Democratic governance is party governance. The party that wins the majority in elections forms the government. Elected party runs the government considering their own interests. As a result, people's resentment piles up.


3. Expensive and Wastage of Money: Government is formed by elections. To conduct elections, a huge amount of money is required. During elections, candidates spend a lot of money. Every political party spends a huge amount of money on leaflets, posters and public meetings to secure public support in the election. Consequently, wastage of time and resources occurs.


4. Frequent Changes of Policy: In democracy, government changes periodically. Elected party in democracy forms the government for a fixed period of time and every political party adopts their programs based on their policies. On some occasions, government's term ends before the implementation of its programs. With the change of government, its policies change too. It obstructs developments in the state.


Steps for successful democracy and democratic behaviour

In the present world, democracy is the best and most acceptable system of governance. But there are many obstacles on the way to its successful exercise or implementation. To remove these obstacles and make democracy successful, many factors are required to be fulfilled. The success of democracy requires educated and conscious population, economic equality and social system established on justice, efficient administration and appropriate leadership. In addition to these, there are other factors that can make democracy successful. These are: tolerance, rule of law, free and independent media, more than one political parties and political tolerance. The most important element that is also required is: citizens have to be democratic in their mentalities. They have to behave democratically in personal, social and political spheres. For this reason, achieving the following qualities is necessary:


• Citizens have to be tolerant to others' opinions. All have to be allowed to express their opinions. Others opinions must be respected and the mentality is to be shown to accept majority opinion as opinion for all. One's own or party opinion cannot be imposed upon others by force.


• Self and partisan interests must be avoided. This is applicable to all citizens and political parties. Opposition should not work for opposition only. All have to work for the welfare of the country.

Besides securing own rights, respect should to be shown to the rights of others. Consciousness is needed so that securing one's own rights does not violate rights of others.


• Cooperation, tolerance and mutual understanding are to be maintained by different communities and groups.


• Respect is to be shown to individuality. Along with this, qualities of a good citizen have to be achieved. Citizens have to be intelligent, self-restrained and conscientious.


• Election is the medium of democracy. Citizens must cooperate so that free and neutral elections can be held. Citizens have to cast their votes with consciousness so that incompetent persons cannot be elected. This is how democracy becomes stronger.


• Rule of law is the heart of democracy. For this reason all have to obey laws. All are equal in the eyes of law. So all have to be treated equally. In other words, to provide equal rights and opportunities is essential. Every citizen has to be careful to learn and practice these democratic norms to make the democracy successful.


Work: Prepare a list of behaviour required to establish democracy

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