NCERT Class 9 Civics Chapter 1 - What is Democracy? Why Democracy?

Chapter 1 - What is Democracy? Why Democracy?

Question 1: 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.
Answer:

a) Undemocratic
b) Not sure
c) Democratic
d) Undemocratic

Question 2: 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.
Answer:

a) Undemocratic
b) Democratic
c) Undemocratic
d) Undemocratic

Question 3: 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.
Answer:
Statement d), Democracies are more prosperous than others, is not a good argument in favour of democracy as there are many countries like India, Sri Lanka etc. which opted for democracy are not as prosperous as countries like China or Saudi Arabia which have communist and monarch rule respectively. The prosperity of any country depends upon the correct policies of government. It also depends on the availability of natural resources not with the form of government. Democracy can’t guarantee prosperity.

Question 4: 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 Organisation (WTO).
b) The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency where large-scale rigging was reported.
c) Women’s representation in the parliament has barely reached 10 per cent. This led women’s organisations to demand one-third seats for women.
Answer:

a)
• A minister said that some laws have to be passed by the parliament - Democratic
• to conform to the regulations decided by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) - Undemocratic
b)
• The Election Commission ordered re-polling in a constituency - Democratic
• Large-scale rigging was reported - Undemocratic
c)
• This led women’s organisations to demand one-third seats for women - Democratic
• Women’s representation in the parliament has barely reached 10 per cent - Undemocratic

Question 5: 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.
Answer:
Option d), people are free to believe in and practice any religion, is not a valid reason for arguing that there is a lesser possibility of famine in a democratic country as religion has nothing to do with prevention of famine.

Question 6: 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 right to life.
b) Boycotting the next elections to give a message to all parties.
c) Organising public meetings against government’s policies.
d) Paying money to government officials to get water.
Answer:
Option d) Paying money to government officials to get water.

Question 7: Write a response to the following arguments against democracy:
a) Army is the most disciplined and corruption-free organisation in the country. Therefore 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.
Answer:
A democracy is a government elected by the people, from among the people themselves. The army is integral in protecting the country, but it is not elected by the people, hence, it can't form a democratic government. The second statement is not true as all people are intelligent to some extent. The third statement is dangerous because bringing religion into politics can cause serious conflicts.

Question 8: 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.
Answer:

a) This statement of father is undemocratic as every adult has the right to choose their life partner. The father does not have the right to impose his choice on daughter.
b) This statement is also not under democratic setup. The student has the right to ask questions. This is undemocratic if his/her right is denied.
c) The third statement is democratic as it calls for a rule of law which is beneficial for the employees.

Question 9: 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 right to vote. Elections are held regularly.
b) The country took loan from international agencies. One of the conditions for giving 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 percent people of that country.
d) Several organisations have given a call for peaceful demonstrations and nation wide strikes in the country to oppose these policies. 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.
Answer:

a) This type of country is democratic as only democratic countries allow election at regular time period.
b) A democratic country has to look for the welfare of its people. The condition of reducing expenses on health and education is against the welfare of people. Therefore this is undemocratic.
c) In democracy, education should be available in all languages. But if the education is available in only one language then it would deprive the right to education to those people who don’t understand or know that language which is opted by the country. Therefore this country is undemocratic.
d) In a democratic country people have the right to express their opinion in a peaceful manner. It is undemocratic to arrest the leaders who are protesting.
e) It is undemocratic nature as in democracy the freedom to press and media is must. If the government owns the radio and television then it would violate the freedom to press and media.

Question 10: What is democracy? What are the features of democracy?
Answer:
Democracy is a form of government in which the rulers are elected by the people. Features of democracy:
• In a democracy, the final decision-making power must rest with those elected by the people.
• A democracy must be based on free and fair elections where those currently in power must have a fair chance of losing.
• In a democracy, each adult citizen must have one vote and each vote should have one value.
• A democratic government rules within the limits set by the constitutional law and citizens’ rights.
• In a democracy, the elections must be held at regular intervals.

Question 11: Write the differences between democratic and non-democratic government.
Answer:
• Democratic government
→ Government formed by the representatives.
→ Representatives are elected through free and fair elections.
→ Major decisions taken by the elected leaders.
→ Citizens have a right to oppose policy and actions made by government.
→ Citizens have voting rights - one person, one vote, one value.
→ Example: India

• Non-democratic government
→ It is a rule by force by a person or a group of persons.
→ Representatives are not elected by the people.
→ Major decisions not taken by the elected leaders.
→ No criticism of government or leader/ruler tolerated.
→ No voting rights given to citizens.
→ Example: North Korea

Question 12: How does democracy enhance the dignity of the citizens?
Answer:
Democracy enhances the dignity of the citizens because
• Democracy is based on the principle of political equality, on recognising that the poorest and the least educated has the same status as the rich and the educated.
• People are not the subjects of the ruler, they are the rulers themselves.
• Even when they make mistakes, they are responsible for their conduct.

Question 13: Describe the arguments against democracy.
Answer:
The arguments against democracy:
• Leaders keep changing in a democracy. This leads to instability.
• Democracy is all about political competition and power play. There is no scope for morality.
• So many people have to be consulted in democracy that it leads to delays.
• Elected leaders do not know the best interest of the people. It leads to bad decisions.
• Democracy is based on corruption for it is based on electoral competition.
• Ordinary people don’t know what is good for them; they shouldn’t decide anything.

Question 14: Explain the merits of democratic government.
Answer:
The merits of democratic government are:
• A democratic government is better government because it is more accountable form of government.
• Democracy improves the quality of decision making.
• Democracy provides a method to deal with differences and conflicts.
• Democracy enhances the dignity of the citizens.
• Democracy is better than other forms of government because it allows us to correct our own mistakes.

Question 15: What is the role of a citizen in a democracy?
Answer:

• No democracy can function with the absence of socially responsible and informed citizens.
• Citizens maintain social harmony by mutually respecting and tolerating differences and views of all others who disagree with them.
• Citizens can express their grievances through various channels provided by the democratic system.
• Citizens also play a decisive role in the establishment of welfare government by participating in voting.
• When citizens exercise their rights they provide direction to the whole democratic process.

Question 16: “Pakistan under Pervez Musharraf should not be called a democracy”. Explain.
Answer:
Pakistan under Pervez Musharraf should not be called a democracy because
• People might have elected their representatives to the national and provincial assemblies but those elected representatives were not really the rulers. They cannot take the final decision.
• He issued a ‘Legal Framework Order’ that amended the Constitution of Pakistan. According to this order, the President can dismiss the National and Provincial assemblies.
• The work of the civilian cabinet was supervised by a National Security Council which was dominated by military officers.

Question 17: Why can’t the following countries be called as truly democratic in nature?
a) China
b) Mexico
Answer:
a) China cannot be called as truly democratic in nature because:
• In China, the elections don’t offer the people any serious choice.
• They have to choose the ruling party and the candidates approved by it.

b) Mexico cannot be called as truly democratic in nature because:
• People in Mexico seemed to really have a choice but in practice they had no choice.
• There was no way the ruling party could be defeated, even if the people were against it. The elections were not held in fair manner.

Question 18: “Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe cannot be called as democracy”. Explain.
Answer:
Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe cannot be called as democracy because
• President Mugabe was popular but also used unfair practices in elections.
• Over the years, his government changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the president and make him less accountable.
• Opposition party workers were harassed and their meeting was disrupted.
• Television and radio were controlled by the government and gave only the ruling party’s version.
• The government ignored some court judgements that went against it and pressurized judges.

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