Question and answers of the class 9 political science chapter 1 “What is Democracy? Why Democracy?”. Answers to Intext questions and chapter exercises are given here. You can click here to see explanation of cartoons and images of this chapter.
Intext Questions & Answers
Activity (Page 2)
Let us take Lyngdoh Madam seriously and try to write down the exact definition of some of the simple words that we use all the time: pen, rain and love. e.g., is there a way of defining a pen that distinguishes it clearly from a pencil, a brush, a chalk or crayon.
(i) What have you learnt from this attempt?
(ii) What does it teach no about understanding the meaning of democracy?
(i) From this conversation, I have learnt that there is no shortest to our thinking about the matter ourselves. We have to think about its meaning and evolve a definition. Each and every thing has some specific features on the basis of which we can define that thing.
(ii) We need a definition only when we come across a difficulty in the use of a word. We need a clear definition of democracy because there are different kinds of governments which are known as Democracy. Abraham Lincoln said that Democracy is a rule of the people, for the people and by the people. We must not accept the definition, just because everyone accepts it. We do not know if this is the best way of defining democracy, unless we think about it ourselves. After thinking about it we can say that democracy is a form of government in which the rulers are elected by the people. This is a common basic feature of democracy.
Check Your Progress (Page 3)
Ribiang went back home and collected some more famous quotations on democracy. This time she did not mention the names of the people who said or wrote these. She wants you to read these and comment on how good or useful these thoughts are:
- Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor.
- Democracy consists of choosing your dictators after they’ve told you what you think it is you want to hear.
- Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary
- Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
- All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy.
The first and second thoughts are about those forms of government in which the people have the right to elect their ruler without having options. It means they have to elect the candidate only from the ruling party.
In the third thought, it suggests that if man accepts justice, then democracy is possible. But when the man follows injustice, the democracy is necessary there to give justice to others.
In the fourth thought, it suggests that there must be a balance between the form of government and our need. The strongest argument for democracy is about what it does to the citizens. Democracy recognises our needs and enhances our dignity.
In the last thought, there is scope for changing the features and activities of democracy as per our need. There is no guarantee that mistakes cannot be made in democracy. The advantage is that there is a room for correction. Either the rulers have to change their decisions or the rulers can be changed. In this way, the ills of democracy can be cured.
Check Your Progress (Page 9)
Read these five examples of working or denial of democracy. Match each of these with the relevant feature of democracy discussed above.
|(i) King of Bhutan has declared that in future he will be guided by the advice given to him by elected representatives.
|Major decisions by elected leaders
|(ii) Many Tamil workers who migrated from India were not given a right to vote in Sri Lanka.
|One person one vote one value
|(iii) The king imposed a ban on political gatherings, demonstrations and rallies.
|Respect for Rights
|(iv) The Indian Supreme Court held that the dissolution of Bihar assembly was unconstitutional.
|Rule of Law
|(v) Political parties in Bangladesh have agreed that a neutral government should rule the country at the time of elections.
|Free and fair electoral competition
Check Your Progress (Page 12)
Rajesh and Muzaffar read an article. It showed that no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy. Wars take place only when one of the two governments is non-democratic. The article said that this was a great merit of democracy. After reading the essay, Rajesh and Muzaffar had different reactions. Rajesh said that this was not a good argument for democracy. It was just a matter of chance. It is possible that in future democracies may have wars. Muzaffar said that it could not be a matter of chance. Democracies take decisions in such a way that it reduces the chances of war.
Which of the two positions do you agree with and why?
Answer: I somewhat concur with Muzaffar’s perspective. Within a democratic framework, decisions are reached through discussions while considering the well-being of the populace. Consequently, the likelihood of conflicts is diminished in a democracy, although it cannot be outrightly dismissed. Instances of warfare have arisen even between two democracies, such as the ‘Kargil War’ involving India and Pakistan, both of which were democratic nations at the time.
Activity (Page 14)
Find out the total number of eligible voters in your assembly constituency and your parliamentary constituency. Find out how many people can fit into the largest stadium in your area. Is it possible for all the voters in your parliamentary or assembly constituency to sit together and have a meaningful discussion?
Answer: Do it yourself to find out total number of eligible voters in your assembly constituency and your parliamentary constituency. Also, it is for you to find out how many people can fit into the largest stadium in your area.
No, it is not possible. It is impossible for all the voters in my Parliamentary or Assembly Constituency to sit together and have a meaningful discussion. The large number of voters cannot sit together for taking a decision.
Textbook Exercise Solutions
(Pages: 15, 16 & 18)
Here is some information about four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries. Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’, or ‘not sure’ against each of these,
(a) Country A: People who do not accept the country’s official religion do not have a right to vote.
(b) Country B: The same party has been winning elections for the last twenty years.
(c) Country C: Ruling party has lost in the last three elections.
(d) Country D: There is no independent election commission.
(b) Not sure
Here is some information about four countries. Based on this information, how would you classify each of these countries. Write ‘democratic’, ‘undemocratic’, or ‘not sure’ against each of these.
(a) Country P: The Parliament cannot pass a law about the army without the consent of the Chief of Army.
(b) Country Q: The Parliament cannot pass a law reducing the powers of the judiciary.
(c) Country R: The country’s leaders cannot sign any treaty with another country without taking permission from its neighbouring country.
(d) Country S: All the major economic decisions about the country are taken by officials of the Central Bank which the ministers cannot change.
Which of these is not a good argument in favour of democracy? Why?
(a) People feel free and equal in a democracy.
(b) Democracies resolve conflict in a better way than others.
(c) Democratic government is more accountable to the people.
(d) Democracies are more prosperous than others.
(d) Democracies are more prosperous than others is not a good argument in favour of democracy because economic prosperity is not exclusively tied to democratic governance. Examples like UAE and Iran show that economic strength can exist in non-democratic governments. Also, a good monarch can lead to prosperity in some cases.
Each of these statements contains a democratic and an undemocratic element. Write out the two separately for each statement.
(a) A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the Parliament in order to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organization.
(b) The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency where large scale rigging was reported.
(c) Women’s representation in the Parliament has never reached 10 per cent. This led women’s organizations to demand one-third seats for women.
(a) Democratic: Passing laws by Parliament. Undemocratic: Conforming to regulations decided by external organizations.
(b) Democratic: Ordering re-polling by Election Commission. Undemocratic: Large-scale rigging.
(c) Undemocratic: Low women’s representation. Democratic: Women’s organizations demanding increased representation.
Which of these is not a valid reason for arguing that there is a lesser possibility of famine in a democratic country?
(a) Opposition parties can draw attention to hunger and starvation.
(b) Free press can report suffering from famine in different parts of the country.
(c) Government fears its defeat in the next elections.
(d) People are free to believe in and practice any religion.
(d) Practicing a religion is not directly related to preventing famines in a democratic country.
There are 40 villages in a district where the government has made no provision for drinking water. These villagers met and considered many methods of forcing the government to respond to their need. Which of these is not a democratic method?
(a) Filing a case in the courts claiming that water is part of the right to life.
(b) Boycotting the next elections to give a message to all parties.
(c) Organizing public meetings against government’s policies.
(d) Paying money to government officials to get water.
Write a response to the following arguments against democracy:
(a) Army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organization in the country. Therefore, the army should rule the country.
(b) Rule of the majority means the rule of ignorant people. What we need is the rule of the wise, even if they are in small numbers.
(c) If we want religious leaders to guide us in spiritual matters, why not invite them to guide us in politics as well? The country should be ruled by religious leaders.
(a) While the army is crucial for defence, governance should remain separate to prevent military rule.
(b) Majority rule, a democratic principle, ensures representation of diverse views. Wise decisions come from informed debates, not limited groups.
(c) Mixing religion and politics can lead to conflicts in diverse societies, as seen in various examples. Religious leaders often lack administrative experience.
Are the following statements in keeping with democracy as a value? Why?
(a) Father to Daughter: I don’t want to hear your opinion about your marriage. In our family, children marry where the parents tell them to.
(b) Teacher to Student: Don’t disturb my concentration by asking me questions in the classroom.
(c) Employee to the Officer: Our working hours must be reduced according to the law.
(a) Not in line with democracy; denies individual choice.
(b) Not in line with democracy; suppresses freedom of inquiry.
(c) In line with democracy; seeks adherence to laws.
Consider the following facts about a country and decide if you would call it a democracy. Give reasons to support your decision.
(a) All the citizens of the country have the right to vote. Elections are held regularly.
(b) The country took a loan from international agencies. One of the conditions for giving the loan was that the government would reduce its expenses on education and health.
(c) People speak more than seven languages but education is available only in one language, the language spoken by 52 per cent of people of that country.
(d) Several organizations have given a call for peaceful demonstrations and nation-wide strikes in the country to oppose these policies. The government has arrested these leaders.
(e) The government owns the radio and television in the country. All the newspapers have to get permission from the government to publish any news about government’s policies and protests.
(a) Democratic; regular elections and universal suffrage.
(b) Not entirely democratic; compromising welfare due to loan conditions.
(c) Not democratic; language-based educational restriction.
(d) Not democratic; suppression of peaceful protests.
(e) Not democratic; media control and censorship.
In 2004 a report published in USA………….persons and the rich. (See page 17 for the whole question no. 10)
Write an essay on ‘Democracy and Poverty’ using the information given in this report, using examples from India.
Answer: An essay is given below
Democracy and Poverty: A Nexus of Inequality
In 2004, a report published in the USA unveiled a disconcerting reality: the escalating disparities within the nation, particularly in income distribution, were not just socioeconomic issues but had profound implications for democratic participation and governance. The findings of this report, though originating in the United States, resonate across the globe, including India, where similar dynamics between democracy and poverty prevail.
The report highlighted that the disparities in income had a tangible impact on people’s engagement in the democratic process. It revealed that economic disparities were mirrored in voting patterns. The privileged few, primarily from higher income brackets, exhibited a higher voter turnout compared to those struggling with economic hardships. In the USA, for instance, nearly 9 out of 10 individuals from families with income over $75,000 participated in presidential elections, while only 5 out of 10 from families earning less than $15,000 exercised their voting rights. This stark contrast indicates that poverty not only undermines political representation but also creates a divide in shaping governance decisions.
Parallels to this phenomenon can be drawn in India, a diverse nation where economic inequality persists. In India, regions with higher income levels often witness more active political participation, while impoverished communities struggle to find their voices within the democratic framework. A clear instance is the rural-urban divide, where rural areas, grappling with poverty, often experience lower political engagement compared to urban counterparts. The socioeconomic disparities in both countries underscore how poverty hampers an equitable democratic process.
Furthermore, the report highlighted the significant role of wealth in influencing political discourse and policy direction. In the USA, a substantial portion of political party funding, around 95%, is contributed by the affluent. This financial influence empowers the wealthy to articulate their concerns and preferences, while the marginalized often lack the same platform. A similar scenario is witnessed in India, where corporate interests and affluent individuals
contribute significantly to political campaigns, thereby exerting an outsized influence on policy decisions. This results in policies that might cater more to the affluent, neglecting the pressing needs of the marginalized and impoverished sections of society.
Another sobering revelation from the report was the diminished attention given to the concerns of the impoverished in governance. As economically disadvantaged citizens participate less in politics, their voices are often overlooked by policymakers. Issues of paramount importance to them, such as escaping poverty, accessing education, healthcare, and housing, tend to be overshadowed by the interests of business elites and affluent citizens. This phenomenon is not unique to the USA but echoes in India as well. Politicians frequently prioritize the concerns of influential business figures and affluent communities, leaving the poor struggling for representation and policies that address their pressing needs.
In India, the nexus between democracy and poverty is evident in various aspects of governance. The unequal distribution of resources and opportunities perpetuates a cycle of poverty, making it harder for the marginalized to participate effectively in the democratic process. Despite constitutional provisions and welfare programs, many impoverished individuals remain politically disempowered due to limited access to education, information, and resources.
In conclusion, the report’s findings underscore a critical linkage between democracy, inequality, and poverty. These dynamics are not confined to the USA alone; they resonate globally, including in India. To nurture a robust and inclusive democracy, it is imperative to address the underlying economic disparities that hinder equal political participation and governance. Efforts should be directed towards empowering marginalized communities, providing access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, and creating an environment where every citizen’s voice, regardless of their socioeconomic background, holds the power to shape the course of the nation. Only then can the true potential of democracy be realized in combating poverty and fostering an equitable society.