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Democracy and its future
Democracy is commonly defined as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. The term is wide and many , in fact , be applied to any scheme of government in which the people are allowed to take part, in some from or other, not as a matter of grace but as a matter of right. Whatever may be the method of ensuring popular participation, some kinds of mandatory arrangement by which people can take part in the highest legislative and policy- framing bodies constitutes the essence of democracy. Generally speaking, two broad-based essentials are necessary for the working of democracy. Firstly
, a constitution, preferably written, must exist to regulate the legislative and executive functions of the government. Secondly, election to the law- making body or bodies must be held at well- defined intervals on the basis of a broad- based electoral system.
Other conditions, essential but not indispensable, are well organized party system. Freedom of expression and a fair degree of literacy among the messes. Born out of the ruins of autocracy, with the message of equality and liberty, democracy watch hailed all over the world as the guardian of popular rights and interests and enjoyed a prosperous career till the beginning of the second quarter of the 20th century when it faced its first challenge from fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany going by the name of national socialism, both of which were, in essence, refined types of dictatorship. Their apparent advantages over democracy and their initial achievements in the economic sphere shake Ned popular faith in popular government.
The fate and future of democracy kept hanging in the balance until at last the Second World War indeed in the defeat of the axis powers, thus stamping out from the face of the earth the last vestiges of dictatorship. But the horizon of democracy is still cloudy as a new rival has appeared after the Second World War. It is
Marxian socialism, headed by soviet Russia, one of the mightiest powers of the world
to- day. Truly speaking, democracy has not yet failed utterly but may in future share the fate of its predecessors, if it is not recast to suit the needs of time.
Since the birth of organized society, man has been changing government after government in quest of the security of his first right-the right to life. This holds the key to the ultimate success or failure of democracy as well. If democracy cannot solve satisfactorily his pressing problems of bread and better, it is only natural that he will substitute it by any other system promising the same, to-day or two days later. In that event, no good will results from holding before him the high ideals of democracy, its spiritual height, its moral basis or its recognition of human values.
The most urgent need of the hour is to incorporate in democracy that which constitute the principal charm of Marxian socialism, that is to say, economic security on a socialistic pattern. What is needed is a planned economy in which private property shall be limited to that extent which is necessary to ensure employment and other essentials of life to the average citizen. This done, that is, the economic handicap of democracy being removed, nothing on earth can vie with it successfully, now or afterwards.
In fine, mankind has and inherent love for the democratic way of life. But if democracy fails to secure him the right to life, he will be reluctantly driven to the fold of any other system that he may consider dependable to that end. Hence, the future of democracy is contingent on the reorganization of its economic program me.