Hello Everyone! As promised I am back with another lecture and this time we are going to focus
on the differences between a democratic form of a government and a republican one. For those of you who are new to my channel, Welcome! My name is Shobhana Menon. Thank you so much for dropping by! I really appreciate it.
Please go ahead and SUBSCRIBE to my channel by pressing the subscribe button below. Now lets dive straight into the topic. DEMOCRACY AND REPUBLIC. Unfortunately in India, a lot people have a massive misconception about the fact that
both these words mean one and the same. They do not think that there is any difference
between the 2 concepts. Of course, there are similarities between
the 2 forms of government, but before we delve into these, let us have a look at ‘Democracy’. Now Democracy essentially means – The Rule of the People. And democracy is broadly divided into DIRECT and INDIRECT Democracy. What is DIRECT DEMOCRACY? It essentially means – a group of people coming
together, assembling at one place and making decisions for the country. Now is this practically possible in today’s age? OF COURSE NOT! Can you imagine 1.3 billion people of India
going to Delhi everyday, taking decisions, making laws, implementing executive action?
It is IMPOSSIBLE. So what is the other option? What people can do is elect a person – a REPRESENTATIVE who can make decisions on their behalf.
And such a concept is called an INDIRECT DEMOCRACY And the concept of an ‘Elected Representative’
is one similarity that, both, Democracy and a Republican form of Government have in common. The 2nd similarity is the ‘Principle of Accountability’ i.e. the Elected Representative is
ACCOUNTABLE and ANSWERABLE to the public which has elected him in the first place. Now, please note, a Democracy in its purest sense is the RULE OF THE PEOPLE
or in other words it is called
THE RULE OF MAJORITY. Please note that I am underlining the words
Rule. Of. Majority. Now, let’s have a hypothetical situation. If tomorrow, there is a democratically elected majority government which passes a law which
states that “From today, the eligibility criteria to become
the President of India is that you have to be a 1) MALE
2) you have to be a HINDU 3) you have to be an UPPER CASTE and
4) you have to be from a HINDI SPEAKING background.” And since, hypothetically speaking, since
most of the people in this country with the majority are from a HINDI SPEAKING State and
are Hindus, belong to the upper caste and are dominated by the male population, nobody
would have any objection to the said criteria laid out for the election/eligibility criteria
of the President. Nobody will have any obejction.
BUT what about the minority communities?
What about the people who are NOT HINDUS, who belong to the religious minority?
who do not come from a Hindi Speaking State i.e. they are LINGUISTIC Minorities?
Who are women? Who do not belong to the upper caste?
What about them? Will they never get a chance to once hold
the prestigious office of the Indian President? Forget about that.
Now imagine, the very said eligibility criteria, now applicable to ALL the professions in the
country. Imagine the exact same criteria, now applying
to ownership of property. Imagine this exact criteria now being applied
to our personal choices – whether it comes to what we wear to what we eat.
This is obviously very discriminatory in nature and it exploits and abuses the rights of minorities!
And so, if we come back to reality and ask ourselves this question – CAN THE GOVERNMENT
OF INDIA ACTUALLY DO THIS? CAN THIS HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO BE ACTUALLY
IMPLEMENTED IN THE PRESENT DAY AND AGE? CAN IT? The answer is obviously, a profound NO. The Government of India cannot put such discriminatory criteria for electing a position or any other aspect of life for that matter, of an individual.
The question is why? Why can’t the government establish majority
will on the minorities? Well, the answer is, because the government,
especially the Government of India is subjected to – THE RULE OF LAW.
And that is EXACTLY what a REPUBLIC is. A Republic is a form of government which is
subjected to the RULE OF LAW. In Polity, Rule of Law essentially states that EVERY person, irrespective of race, caste,
creed, gender, religion or status is subjected to equal treatment of law.
Everybody is treated equally before the eyes of law – whether it is paying a small parking
fine or being subjected to a life imprisonment sentence – the punishment will be the same
for everyone as per the offence committed. There is no discrimination that will happen
against any of the following groups. It does NOT matter whether you are from the majority or not. So this is exactly the Republican feature
that we see in a government which we do not see in a democratic government. Now India is actually called a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. By the sound of it, it actually sounds like an oxymoron. Oxymoron is basically 2 words of opposite nature put together. So by these differences – which I can now mention – Democracy is a Rule of Majority while the Republican Form of Government has a Rule of
Law. A democracy does not offer any safeguards
to its minorities while a Republican form of Government actually offers protection to
minorities. A democracy is concerned only with popular
will i.e. what the majorities says, goes. But a Republican Form of Government is concerned
with Right of EVERY INDIVIDUAL. A Democracy has a Source of Power (SoP) coming
from people with unknown motives. We do not know what the interests of these people are.
We do know what sort of a state do they wish to establish. Whereas in a Republican form of Government, the Source of Power comes from a document
called THE CONSTITUTION. Now, Constitution, like I’ve mentioned in
my previous lectures, is basically the law of the land. It’s underlying principal is the PRINCIPLE OF CONSTITUTIONALISM which clearly tells the
Government what is can do and what it cannot do. The essence of the Principle of Constitutionalism is to protect the Rights of the Individual
and protect him from abuse by the Government. Right? Another basic feature that we see is that ALL the POWERS of the Government in a Democracy
is vested in ONE BODY. Whereas, the powers are actually SHARED in
a Republican form of Government across 2 spectrums. Power is shared horizontally and power is
shared vertically. HORIZONTALLY, power is shared between the
Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Legislature is the body that MAKES LAWS.
The Executive is the body that EXECUTES or IMPLEMENTS the said laws. The Judiciary is the body that validates those laws as per the Constitution. The vertical Power sharing is divided between Centre, State, District and in our case the
Panchayats as well. So coming back to the topic, India is called
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. After seeing these differences, one may assume,
that it is an oxymoron. How can India be a Democracy as well as a
Republic? Well, interestingly, these 2 forms of exercises
happen at 2 different points of time. India is exercising its DEMOCRATIC POWER when
it is participating in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. It is exercising its EXCLUSIVE CHOICE of selecting a representative to make decisions on their behalf. IN THAT SENSE, India is a democracy.
BUT once the Government is elected, once the Government
is formed, the Republican Feature KICKS IN and it tells the Elected Representative – How
much time do you have to be in power – which is essentially 5 years AND
it also tells the elected representatives – How do you have to govern these people.
IN THIS WAY – India is a Democratic Republic. So this sounds very IDEAL.
BUT is a Republican Form of Government FOOL – Proof? Now in India, you have come across many instances where atrocities have been committed against
minorities. So is India TRULY a Republic?
Is a Republican Government ultimately Fool – proof? Unfortunately the answer is NO. WHY?
What are the flaws in the Republican Form of Government? The 1st Flaw is that the Elected Representatives belong to political parties. Eventually during the course of time, these elected representatives do not hold themselves accountable to the public, but they actually hold themselves accountable to the political parties through whose ticket they have entered the system. Right? And so, what we see is that the Rule of Law is eventually replaced by the RULE OF POLITICAL PARTIES. That too, the political party which has a
MAJORITY. SO WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS, more or less, THE
REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT SLOWLY TURNING INTO A DEMOCRATIC ONE. Because the majority political party carries the majority will – the idea of which is expressed
in a DEMOCRACY. So unfortunately, more or less, at the end
of the day, the governance is done by the majority poitical party and not by the Government
which should stand true to the ideals of the Constitution. Right? The 2nd Flaw of a Republican Form of Government
is that it is VAGUE. If you actually analyse the nature of the
Republican Form of Government, you cannot truly restrict it to just one type of government.
Now let me give you an example. In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister
is elected democratically and the Rule of Law is very strongly followed in the particular
country. BUT CAN WE CALL IT A REPUBLIC? Even though
Rule of Law is functioning in U.K.? We cannot call it a Republic because the HEAD
OF STATE IS NOT ELECTED. The Head of State of U.K. is the Queen.
So that makes the country a MONARCHY. But please note, that the United Kingdom HAS
NOT called its Queen an ABSOLUTE MONARCH. It is calling the Queen a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCH
– thereby IMPLICITLY stating that there is an element of Republicanism in their System. 2nd Example of the Vagueness: The country, China, calls itself the PEOPLE’s REPUBLIC
OF CHINA. BUT IS TRULY A REPUBLIC?
NO Because, the Head of State, the President
of China is not Elected. You may be very well aware of the fact that
China has a single party system. And recently, the President of China announced
himself to be the PRESIDENT FOR LIFE. The essential feature of REPUBLICANISM is
that there are LIMITS to holding of such offices. Even though, it calls itself a Republic, but
it is not essentially one. If anything, it is an Autocracy or a Dictatorship.
So THIS is the 2nd FLAW. BUT please note, that your understanding of
the differences between a Democratic Form of Government and a Republican One should
not be confused with anything else. These differences remain. You must get greater
clarity on these topics. If you have liked this video, please go ahead
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And if you have, please let me know in the Comments Section what you think about the
video. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DROPPING BY.
I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. GOOD DAY! 🙂