Democracy is “government of, by and for the people.”
International Day of Democracy or the International Democracy Day is celebrated on September 15, every year. The day was marked by the United Nations in 2007 as a step toward achieving its universal goal of peace and development. Since then, International Day of Democracy has been in observance. Democracy is very closely related to the world conceived in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The day is observed by all members of the United Nations.
What is Democracy?
Democracy is derived from two Greek words- demos and kratos. Demos refers to the people or citizens residing within a demarcated region and kratos means power or rule. Thus, when we put the two words together, it means that “citizens rule”. Thus, the fundamental concept behind Democracy is the sharing of power among all the people unlike the concentration of power in the hands of the few as in Monarchy and/or Fascism.
The framework of Democracy is based on the four key concepts of Legitimacy, Justice, Freedom and Power.
In the modern-world, democracy is exercised through the election of leaders of the state by the people of the said state. The leaders wield power on behalf of the people and are accountable to them.
Universal Adult Franchise
Democracy is exercised through the Universal Adult Franchise. The idea of Universal Adult Franchise outlines that every individual in a democracy above the age of 18 has the right to vote. This Right to Vote is granted irrespective of any individual’s caste, class, colour, religion or sex.
International Day of Democracy Importance
The central idea behind observing this day is to develop and consolidate the principles of democracy. The day allows us to reflect upon the status of democracy in the world. It allows peoples, groups, organizations and governments to keep up with the challenges faced by democracy and to strengthen the institution as new issues arise.
This is done with the help of organization activities such as conferences, seminars and discussions that are held at community, university and government levels.
International Day of Democracy 2020 Theme
The theme for International Day of Democracy 2020, was “COVID-19: A Spotlight on Democracy“.
Democracy in India
While India gained its independence on August 15, 1947, it became a sovereign democratic Republic on January 26, 1950 after the Indian Constitution was formally adopted. The first elections were held in India in 1951-1952.
The status of being a ‘Republic’ implies that the head of state, in India’s case, the President, is also elected by the people.
Democracy and COVID-19
Countries all around the world have been employing all possible measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in their nations. However, at a time like this, it is important the governments remain transparent with their citizens concerning the measures taken, COVID statistics and distribution of vaccines and health care measures.
Similarly, with lockdown-triggered unemployment and increased child labour should be kept in check. Governments and organizations must ensure that there is no compromise on Human Rights, education and rule of law.
What to do on International Day of Democracy?
- Learn more about the right to vote.
- Learn about the Fundamental Rights of the Citizens of India.
- Learn about the Right to Information and how the Government maintains transparency with the citizens.
- Read and understand the Constitution of India, particularly the Preamble.
- Nip the roots of xenophobia and Fascism in the bud.
- Educate your friends and family about exercising their vote. It is not a casual choice to vote or not, it is the duty of every citizen.
- Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As political scenarios and international relations rapidly change, political practices within the state are also affected. However, in the face of changes in the external surroundings, peoples’ rights and freedoms within the state should not be affected.
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