Democracy is a Greek word. It is a compound of ‘Demos’ which means the people, the ‘Karate, which means rule. Thus democracy means rule or government by the people. The great American President Abraham Lincoln has defined democracy as:
“Government of the people, by the people and for the people”.
It is an ideal definition. In democracy, it is the people that count. The people have a great say in the functioning of the government through elected representative. Elections and right of franchise are the two fundamental principles of Democracy. According to country’s constitution, the people elect their representatives through adult franchise, for four or five years.
Most countries in the world have a democratic form of governments except the communist countries. In fact democracy means different things for different peoples. It’s meaning and composition also change with time. We, nowhere, find ideal or perfect democracy in the world. To be real, democracy must. be democratic in spirit and substance. What democracy is and what it ‘Should be cannot be separated in ideal democracy.
Party system in the essence of democracy. The party that gets the highest number of votes cast by the voters in the general elections, wins and forms the government. Thus ap-. parently democracy is counting of votes. But elections, as experience has shown, are seldom clean and fair. Power is always used to perpetuate power. It is a negation of democracy. Power and Influence are two different things. Power appeals to brute force in man. Influence appeals to reason. The voters must use free-will and reason in electing their representatives. Otherwise, democracy is a sham.
Without proper education there cannot be true democracy. In fact democracy is a function of education. In Pakistan 80% of the ballot force is poor and illiterate. They can not choose correctly, nor can they exert any control on the elected representatives – the ministers who do as they please. Those who call themselves to be the champions of democracy, are the least democratic in words and actions. They simply want power, and power always corrupts.
The drama Taleem-e-Balghan’ shown on the T.V. gives a clear picture of the existing democracy in Pakistan. A group of adult students, all illiterate, asks the teacher what is Jamhuriat’. The teacher is at a loss to explain the idea to the ignorant lot. In order to drive the idea home, he poses a question to them. All right, “Tell, whether Akbar was father of Jahangir or Jahangir father, of Akbar?” Said the poor teacher. Some said Akbar was father, some, Jahangir was the father. The teacher put the answer to vote. Vast majority put up their hands that “Jahangir was father of Akbar” The teacher said, “This is the democracy”. It was the verdict of the majority. The satire applies well to democracy in Pakistan. It is a true picture of the much-praised system.
It is not the quantity (number) that counts, but it is the quality hcth of the voters and their representatives that is important. Quality depends on character, education, honesty of purpose and in action, and above all sense of duty. Those who think, must govern those who work. Wealth and power do not make real democracy. It is only the men of people who can deliver the goods. Democracy is a farce without above requisites.
According to Brains: “Ten million ignorances do not make up one knowledge”. American President Jefferson stated in 1801 ‘Although the will of majority has in all cases to prevail, that will to be right, must be reasonable.’ In the light of the above arguments, it can be safely concluded: democracy is not merely counting of votes but a deeper way of living in society.