Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follows:

Do Democracies lead to peaceful and harmonious life among citizens? It will be a fair expectation that democracy should produce a harmonious social life. We have seen in the earlier chapters how democracies accommodate various social divisions. We saw in the first chapter how Belgium has successfully negotiated differences among ethnic populations. Democracies usually develop a procedure to conduct their competition. This reduces the possibility of these tensions becoming explosive or violent.

No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. But we can certainly learn to respect these differences and we can also evolve mechanisms to negotiate the differences. Democracy is best suited to produce this outcome. Non-democratic regimes often turn a blind eye to or suppress internal social differences. Ability to handle social differences, divisions and conflicts is thus a definite plus point of democratic regimes. But the example of Sri Lanka reminds us that a democracy must fulfil two conditions in order to achieve this outcome:

➊ It is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply rule by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority so that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinions are not permanent.

➋ It is also necessary that rule by majority does not become rule by majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc. Rule by majority means that in case of every decision or in case of every election, different persons and groups may and can form a majority. Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has a chance of being in majority at some point of time. If someone is barred from being in majority on the basis of birth, then the democratic rule ceases to be accommodative for that person or group.

 

Question (i)

Can any society fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups? If not, then what should be done?

 

Answer:

From the paragraph

No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. But we can certainly learn to respect these differences and we can also evolve mechanisms to negotiate the differences. Democracy is best suited to produce this outcome. Non-democratic regimes often turn a  blind eye to or suppress internal social differences.  The ability to handle social differences, divisions, and conflicts is thus a definite plus point of democratic regimes.

No society can fully and permanently resolve conflicts among different groups. But we can certainly learn to respect these differences and we can also evolve mechanisms to negotiate the differences.

Question (ii)

From example of Sri Lanka, how would you judge that rule by majority opinion is not simple?

 

Answer:

From the paragraph

But the example of Sri Lanka reminds us that democracy must fulfill two conditions in order to achieve this outcome:   It is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply ruled by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority so that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinions are not permanent.   It is also necessary that rule by the majority does not become rule by the majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc. Rule by majority means that in the case of every decision or in the case of every election, different persons and groups may and can form a majority.

  • In Sri Lanka, it is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply ruled by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority so that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinions are not permanent.

 

Question (iii)

What does rule by majority means?

 

Answer:

From the paragraph

It is necessary to understand that democracy is not simply ruled by majority opinion. The majority always needs to work with the minority so that governments function to represent the general view. Majority and minority opinions are not permanent.   It is also necessary that rule by the majority does not become rule by the majority community in terms of religion or race or linguistic group, etc. Rule by majority means that in the case of every decision or in the case of every election, different persons and groups may and can form a majority. Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has a  chance of being in majority at some point in time.  If someone is barred from being in majority on the basis of birth, then the democratic rule ceases to be accommodative for that person or group. 

 

Rule by majority means that in the case of every decision or in the case of every election, different persons and groups may and can form a majority. Democracy remains democracy only as long as every citizen has a  chance of being in majority at some point in time.   If someone is barred from being in majority on the basis of birth, then the democratic rule ceases to be accommodative for that person or group.

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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.