Inclusion of Minorities: A Gandhian Alternative

By Mishra, Vishawnath | Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Inclusion of Minorities: A Gandhian Alternative


Mishra, Vishawnath, Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences


Democracy refers to a government based on political equality. It is formed on the belief that all people are equally capable of, and have a stake in making collective decisions that shape their lives. In a democracy, no one opinion or interest is of more value than the other, hence the principle of equal protection of law or equality before law is inherent to democracy. Democracy is based on the idea of the equal moral worth of all individuals and against the exclusion of anyone from the political process. Rights and liberties are exclusively for every one.

Jhon Wise, while putting effort to discover which form of government can with the best shown of reason, wrote that democracy is much safer form of government since each man is a better guardian of his own liberties than other would be for him. Democracy, accordingly, he finds consonant with God's purpose and dictator of right reason. (1)

Various revolutions across the world, the Revolution of 1688, Bill of Rights 1689, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789, were fought with the hope, how to establish liberties which were essential to human dignity and moral worth.

Democracy is also called an 'open society' where there is a space for all voices, however unpopular or conventional they may be, to be heard. This required a range of political freedoms like freedom of expression, association and movement among others, which are protected by the state. People must have access to information and be able to protest and freely criticise the government and others in order to make informed uncoerced choices and intervene in the decision making process. Thus, the practice of democracy is unthinkable without rights (Hallowell, 1950).

These political ideas, pertaining to democracy, seem very vigorous on conceptual ground. But when these concepts came in real practice, they could not meet with social aspirations. Very soon critics started questioning towards structural set-ups of democracy. Then to make the democratic structure more liberal as well as representative some electoral reforms were introduced. From being initially restricted to the property-owning white man in Europe and America.

Eventually educated men, working-class white man, black men, and women were recognised as full citizens with the right to vote and contest elections (Arblaster, 1997).

Meanwhile, in the colonies of Asia and Africa, democratic struggles took on a specifically anti-colonial character and the people of colonies like India claimed the right of self-government. Here intellectuals along with ordinary men assumed that self-government with democratic norm will sought out solution of all problems. But very soon after getting sovereign status in international arena they realised that it is not the state, which will provide every thing. Though state introduced various policies and programmes on the name of social justice and affirmative action to fulfil aspirations of its people, but they were completely failed. In such a situation people started living their conviction on state and they started forming their own associations. Consequently various organisations emerged to widen power of the state. Multi-cultural society, civil society, corporate society, global society etc., are few models of these days. They all are working to get the same objective of democracy, that is, moral worth and human dignity. But the aim is yet to be achieved.

In special context to India since independence most of the political parties were interested in exclusive politics on western pattern and regional parties were known for their inclusive approach. But now a day's paradigm has shifted; even regional parties have started uttering exclusive statements.

Some internationally renowned figures have also contributed in this context from global perspective as exclusion and inclusion has become an international discourse. Amartya Sen suggests while writing about Global democracy that Democracy is not just about ballots and votes but also about public deliberations and reasoning. …

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