Elements of Democracy
Question 1: How would Maya's life be different in South Africa today?
Answer: Today, South Africa is a free nation. The apartheid law is dead in this country. There is no more discrimination on the basis of skin colour. So, Maya can enjoy equal status in today’s South Africa. She no longer has to suffer the insult of being treated as second class citizen.
Question 2: What are the various ways in which people participate in the process of government?
Answer: People can participate in the process of government through many ways. Some of them are as follows:
- Through popular elections
- By staging mass protests
- By participating in debates on television
- By writing on social media
- By writing letters to editors
Question 3: Why do you think we need the government to find solutions to many disputes or conflicts?
Answer: Conflicts between to social groups can turn into ugly form if people are left on their own. If the government does not intervene, the situation may turn violent. So, the government needs to find solution to such conflicts. This is necessary to prevent violence and to maintain peace.
Question 4: What actions does the government take to ensure that all people are treated equally? Read through the chapter and discuss some of the key ideas of a democratic government. Make a list. For example, all people are equal.
Answer: The government takes following actions to ensure equality:
- The Constitution considers all citizens as equal. There is no difference on the basis of religion, caste, gender or economic status.
- People from backward sections of the society are given reservation in government jobs and educational institutions. This facility has been given to help them improve their social status.
- Any act of discrimination against the untouchables is a punishable offence.
Question 1: What is the benefit of holding elections at regular intervals?
Answer: Holding elections at regular intervals has following benefits:
- People get the opportunity to change the government.
- Elected representatives work for the benefit of people because nobody likes to lose an election.
- If a government shows good performance, it is re-elected by the people.
- Frequent elections prevent autocratic rule in the country.
Question 2: Sharing of river water can become a matter of conflict. How?
Answer: Sharing of river water becomes a bone of contention between two or more states. River Cauvery is a good example. This river originates in Karnataka and ends in Tamil Nadu. Both the states seldom agree on settlements regarding sharing the river water.
Question 3: How did the caste system encourage inequality?
Answer: Because of the age-old caste system, there has been a long history of inequality in India. Many people could not get opportunities to study and to take up certain occupations because of the caste system. Many people from the downtrodden section did even get the basic human rights. They were not even allowed to offer prayers in a temple. They were not allowed to take water from public places.
Question 4: What do you understand by gender-based inequality? What steps have been taken by the government to improve the situation?
Answer: Gender based inequality is another major social evil in our country. A male child is usually preferred over a girl child. In many families, girls are not given proper opportunities. To tackle this problem, girls are given free education in government schools. This is being done to encourage education of the girl child.