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Polity NCERT

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Lesson 2, Topic 4
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Chapter – 4 Key Elements of a Democratic Government

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Role of the People: The people play an important role in the proper
functioning of a democratic government, which includes elections as well
as the working and decision-making responsibility of the government.

Election: In a democracy, people cast their vote to elect their
representatives, who take decisions on behalf of the people. The
government is elected for a period of five years in India.

Social Movements: People express their views in many ways like
dhammas, strikes, rallies and signature campaigns, e.g., Activists of the
Bhartiya Kisan Union staged a demonstration at the Mini Secretariat to
protest against the power shortage during the paddy transplantation season.

Recognition to Minority: The democratic character of the government of
a country would be stronger if the minority people (Dalits, Adivasis, Women) participate in the process of the government. The minority
communities and Adivasis participated in the working of the government
by demanding the inclusion of Santhali language in the Constitution of
India.

Role of the Government: Suppose, if a religious procession and
celebrations lead to conflicts, the government, particularly the police play
an important role in getting the representatives of the concerned
community to meet and try to arrive at a solution.


Equality and Justice: The key idea of a democratic government is its
commitment to equality and justice. The minority communities were
denied of many facilities. Dr Ambedkar realised that such practices must
not continue and justice can be achieved only if people are treated equally.

In South Africa, we can find people of several races — black native
people, whites and Indians.


The country was governed by apartheid laws. Apartheid means separation
on the basis of race.

South African people were divided into white, black, Indian and coloured
races and apartheid laws prevented them from getting mixed with each
other.

Non-white had to face several distinctions. They were not allowed to vote. Neither they availed other basic privileges.

Hence, the African National Congress started a struggle against the
apartheid system under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela fought for several years. Finally, South Africa became a
democratic country in 1994. Now, there is no apartheid there and people of
all races are considered equal.

There are fixed periods for the governments that are elected. In India, once the government is elected, it can stay in power for five years. Thus, people participate in the process of government by using their voting rights.

People also participate by taking an interest in the working of the
government and by criticising it when required.

People express their views against the government’s wrong decisions by
holding dharnas, rallies, strikes, signature campaigns, etc.

People also participate by organising themselves into social movements and seek to challenge the government and its functioning.

The government plays a major role in resolving the conflicts if they occur
among people of different cultures, religions, regions, etc.

Religious processions and celebrations can sometimes lead to conflicts.
Rivers can also become a source of conflict between states.

Equality and justice are key elements of democracy.

The practice of untouchability is now banned by law in order to bring
equality and justice in society.

The government also takes steps to bring girl child on an equal level with a
boy child.

Apartheid: It refers to the system under which separation is practised on the basis of race.

Race: One of the main groups that humans can be divided according to
their physical differences, for example, the colour of their skin.

Representative: The person elected through people’s voting right to take
part in the system of governance.

Participation: People’s involvement in the process of government.

Conflict: Differences between people of various castes, cultures or creed.
The conflict may arise in the name of region, religion, language, etc.

Resolution: Solution of the conflict.

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