Essay Sample: Tracing the Roots of Democracy in India
India is one of the most populous countries in the world, with an estimated population of 400,000,000 people; besides, the population has grown exponentially over the years. The British colonized India, one of the decolonized countries with the best democracy in the world among the commonwealth countries. India is notably known for its conspicuous way of struggling for independence through non-violent methods, as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi advocated it. India gained independence on 15th August 1945 with Jawaharlal Nehru as India’s first prime minister. Jawaharlal praised Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation who held the torch boldly and illuminated the dark that surrounded India. Gandhi was notoriously known due to his Swadesh slogan, which advocated for the Indians to boycott the British premises and the working places (Vora& Palshikar, 2004).
Britain, being the colonizer of India, was to give it freedom soon after the end of World War II. However, this was impossible, and independence was prolonged for two more years. This period is known as the decolonization period, as the protectorates were colonized again after the end of World War II. The decolonization period was marked by economic and political upheavals as the British were utilizing the available resources to the maximum to boost their economy, which was on the decline due to the outcomes of the war.
India’s decolonization did not affect its democratic progress since democracy started growing immediately after the inception of independence. The democratic growth in India was notably increasing to the extent that international communities acknowledged it. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “India is a beacon of democracy in the world”. Democracy can be attributed to various factors, which include the historical foundation of democracy, cultural diversity, political institutions, and democratic consolidations, among others (White, 1999).
The history of India has been characterized by democratic leaders who include Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaraal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi, among others. They have worked tirelessly, laying strong foundations of democracy in India. They posit that democracy in politics cannot exist if social democracy is not enhanced. In line with this, they worked tirelessly to enhance the provision of social democracy; they enhanced political democracy in the long run. Social democracy entails a form of governance that advocates for liberty, fraternity, and unity, essential features of political democracy. The provision of social democracy has helped unify the huge population since it calls for the respect of basic human rights. For instance, Nehru Was a staunch believer in democracy; regular elections, franchise among adults, and a parliamentary form of government occasioned his era. In addition, the free and fair election was carried out soon after gaining independence, even though there was no other political party at the national level. This shows that Nehru was ready to provide democracy from the start (Guha, 2008).
After proclaiming independence, India formed a political institution which was a succession from the British. For instance, a well-structured civil service appeared, a great milestone towards the propulsion of democracy in the country. More so, a well-formed political party, i.e., the Indian National Congress -(Congress), made the basis of exercising democracy at the initial stage of India’s history as an independent country. The civil service, an inheritance from the colonial government, was the heart of the state and played a great role in enhancing political and governance stability (Potter,1986). On the other hand, the Congress spearheaded successful national movements which enjoyed considerable popularity. Nehru took advantage of the inherited party and accommodated the rival elites in his political umbrella. Moreover, at this time, the Indian population was not highly mobilized, and political conflicts appeared in the form of claims versus counterclaims among the rival elites. This was evident in the regional elites who demanded greater shares of resources and power (Wint &Schuster, 2011).
Democratic deepening and social demands have been on the rise since the inception of independence in India. Over the past five decades, Indian democracy has not only taken root but also has spread wide and deep. The development of democracy has included independent voting, the formation of associations that press for the demands of the individual people, and dissent expression, among others (Mishra, 2000). The weakened social inequalities are attributed to the developed democracy, which continues to unite the Indians year after year, propelling democracy to higher heights. Also, the media in India has been strongly enhanced, and this plays a major role in enhancing democracy as well as human rights. The media informs the public of any social, political, and economic happenings that may tend to violate the rights of Indians and also makes sure that the rule of law is maintained and enhanced (Guha, 2007).
Considering the above, it is quite evident that India is one of the countries that have the best democracy in the world, and this can be attributed to personal as well societal efforts.
1. Vora, R. & S. Palshikar. (2004). Indian Democracy. California: Sage Publications.
2. White, N. (1999). Decolonization: The British Experience Since 1945(Seminar Studies in History). New York: Longman Publishers.
3. Wint, G. & G. Schuster. (2011). India And Democracy. New York: Abu Press.
4. Guha, R. (2008). The History of The world’s Largest Democracy. Network: Harper Perennial Publishers.
5. Mishra, S. (2000). Democracy in India. Delhi: Sanbun Publishers.