The term “democracy” first emerged in the societies of ancient Greece where it is meant to be a form of decision-making where the community is allowed to participate, which later on served as the system used for governance (Woolf & Rawcliffe, 2005). Bryce (2009) noted that the term is used to describe the power that is legally bestowed by the people to the government.
Likewise, the term “people” moved farther away from the privileged few and focused more on the entire community. As a result, the consideration for the rights and the voice of the citizens became a central theme in democratic governments.
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Aside from the political aspects of democracy, the free market structure is also an element that has become inseparable from that of democracy (as cited in Snauwaert, 1993). In the free market system, the government has less control over the affairs of the market and individuals are given the chance to choose among several options (Snauwaert, 1993).
In the present day, democracy has become a very popular system of government as the West and other advocates continue to hail it as a suitable form of governing the society. Based on the arguments of Francis Fukuyama, a resolution is reached regarding the best way to organize the political and economic aspects of the society and suggested democracy as the answer.
In addition, Fukuyama contends that “democracy, in the political realm, and markets, in the economic realm, had triumphed over all challengers and were in the process of becoming the universal forms of political and economic organization” (Bova, 2003, p. 243).
In history, nations did not immediately employ democracy. Some have taken other paths, such as India and China that experienced the colonial rule and Communist rule, respectively. Both countries have experienced undergoing a process of democratization, which is said to “[begin] when the principle of citizenship is acknowledged by a regime in certain ways by allowing the opposition to become involved in politics” (Des Forges, Luo, & Wu, 1993, p. 231).
In addition, the democratization process proceeds from the distribution of power and responsibilities throughout the community (Des Forges, Luo, & Wu, 1993).
From the previous systems of government, India proved that it can undergo the process of democratization and sustain it until 50 years after. On the other hand, China remains a communist state amidst its futile attempts to apply several democratic principles from the West (Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], 2010; He & Feng, 2008).
The two countries, China and India, are both Asian countries that are striving hard to apply and implement the concepts of democracy as it is observed from the Western ideals.
The interesting experiences of the two nations with regard to the process of democratization serve as the focus of the present paper, which would also highlight the differences and similarities between the experiences of the two nations. In so doing, emphasis is placed on the
Democratization Process in India
India is a member of the Southern Asian region and has a total area of 3,165,596 sq km (Oldenburg, 2008). The 7 union territories and 28 states are ruled by a President, who is the head of state, and a Prime Minster, who serves as the head of government (Oldenburg, 2008).
The present form of government is Federal Republic and is governed by the Constitution that was amended last 2002 (Oldenburg, 2008). India also has an existing legislature, which is composed of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) (Oldenburg, 2008). The Judicial branch of the Indian government is headed by the Supreme Court (Oldenburg, 2008).
For a lengthy period of time until 1947, India was subjected to British colonial rule (Mishar, 2000). The country gained independence through the Indian Independence Act, which received the Royal Assent on 1947 (Mishra, 2000).
The Indian Independence Act served as an important factor in the process of democratization in the country because it gave way for a Provisional government that would later on take the form of a democracy. At the day when the said Act took into effect, Jawaharlal Nehru said that it is a time when “India discovers herself again,” (as cited in Hukam, 2005, pp. 309-10).
In relation to this, it is important to identify the events surrounding before and after the promulgation of the Indian Independence Act in 1947 and the progress towards democracy that was made up to the present time. More specifically, emphasis is placed on the economic and political changes in the country and the actors and elements that allowed for successful democratization.
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