Definition of Democracy

The term “Democracy” is derived from the Greek word “Demos” and “Kratia”. Here the term demo means people and Kratia means power. Thus literal or etymological meaning of democracy is the political system in which power is in the hand of People or democracy is regarded as that government where the power is vested in the people.

The term ‘Democracy’ is from the Greek language which means rule by people. There are various political system in society which maintain the order in society. According to Aristotle political system can be classified as: Kingship (Monarchy) and Tyranny (Rule by one), Aristocracy and Oligarchy (Rule by few) and Polity and Democracy (Rule by Many). Out of six fold political system, Democracy is a political system in which ruling authority of society is under the people.

Democracy is not a mere form of government. It is a type of a mere form of government as well as an order of society conducted by common people. Democracy as a political system has become politically fashionable today.

MacIver, “Democracy is, not a way of governing whether by majority or otherwise but primarily a way of determining who shall govern and broadly, to what ends.”

Gettell, define Democracy as “that form of government in which the mass of the population possess the right to share in the exercise of sovereign power.”

Abraham Lincoln, “Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Thus, Democracy is a form of government and state in which the power of monitoring, appointing, controlling, and dismissing of government remain in people.Basic principles of Democracy

The basic principles of Democracy can be listed as follows:

  • Democracy guarantees all individuals the right to speak, criticize and disagree with others.
  • It stands on the spirit of tolerance and allows people to diverse views, ideas and ideologies.
  • It believes in the methods of persuasion and peace.
  • It is opposed to the use of coercive methods or to the threat of power.
  • It upholds the dignity of human personality.
  • It guarantees the fundamental rights to its citizens like right to freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly, to contest the election, constitutional remedies etc.
  • It is based on the foundation of Liberty, Equality, and fraternity.
  • Sovereign power rests with the people.
  • It is the rule by majority with full safeguards for the right of minorities.
  • It is the government by the representatives of the people who are elected on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  • It functions strictly according to the provision of the constitution which is written or unwritten, which has been accepted by the people.
  • It provides for a change in government according to constitutional provision.
  • Though it is a rule by majority, it aims at the welfare of all.