Republic…Democracy…Mobocracy what are we?

Somewhere at school we have all learnt to rattle off, “India is sovereign republic democratic country.”  I wonder of many of us actually bothered to find out what it was all about.

Our responsibilities which we never talk about, our rights which we demand not knowing exactly what we our rights are… mostly told to us by the media which is agenda driven. I don’t like to say Zakka is congress, Arnab is right  since I do not know other anchors I’ll stop at this. What I am saying is each channel will only talk about what their management wants to say and what the management says is about the people sponsoring their show.

Before I even talk about citizen responsibilities I realized I did not really understand the difference between a republic and a democracy. My knowledge is kind of limited to that Republicans and Democrats cleave Uncle Sam.

My mind’s eye saw it, like the house of lords  and the president was chosen by Rajyasabha which again had people were nominated by political parties but not elected… this information was hanging as a backdrop but I never really bothered too much with it.

To be brutally honest, the republic day parade and the aura over it dominated the actual existent of being a republic country.

This republic day I just taught it was high time I looked beyond the republic day parade and the string of so called “patriotic movies.”  I actually read the preamble just in case you do not recall here it.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this 26th day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

There is that strange statement, sovereign which I understand, socialist secular which I kind of understand and finally democratic republic.

Democracy is the government by the where the supreme power is vested in the people and is exercised theme, or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. “For the people, by the people, of the people” though it does seem off the people quite often. Somewhere freedom and democracy have become synonymous.

Republic is defined as a government in which power is explicitly vested in the people who in turn exercise their power through elected representatives.  As of today these terms have become interchangeable though historically they emerge from different context.

If I were to create a chart.

Criteria Democracy republic
Meaning People’s system People choose representatives to represent them.
Ruled By majority By the law
Origin Greek Latin
Minority rights Can be overridden by majority Cannot be
Sovereignty With all the people taken together. i.e. Population The people or the individual.
Revenue Can be illegitimate taxes, fees, fines and licenses Legitimate taxes and fees.
Mobocracy Could prevail Does not prevail.
Socially The class system becomes quite powerful The alienated are looked after.

The Key difference between democracy and republic would, democracy is a political system made by the people, for the people, of the people. While the republic is the representative democracy and the chief of the state is known as president. Democracy the rule of the majority prevails, while in the case of the republic the rule of the law prevails. While democracy is derived from “ demos’ that is people it emerges as the rule of the people, while republic emerges from the Latin words res publica or of the people which is the law. In a democracy the rights of the minority can be overridden by the majority, conversely the republic system protects the rights of minorities or an individual. The power of a democracy rests with the people, while the power of a republic rests with law, which has been created to safe guard the interest of the people…the individual.  The democratic system gets finance through illegitimate taxes, fines, fees and licenses unlike republic where legitimate taxes and fees are in place.

As a democratic republic I thought we were cross between the two systems but I am told we were meant to be a system that embodies both the principles. Which is why the judiciary, the parliament and the constitution play important roles?

I am still trying to figure we are functioning the way we were meant to. Or are we just mobocracy.

2 Replies to “Republic…Democracy…Mobocracy what are we?”

  1. You have raised important questions and as we speak of a Republic, the constitutional values come to mind where we need to protect our citizens from harm, ensuring rule of law prevails. Unfortunately, the past events has not only saddened us but led to questions rules where anti-social elements are given a free reign. I like the way you offer a distinction between a Republic and a democracy. Very well articulated.

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