On 26th January, the Indian government celebrated republic day with full zeal. The day was marked to celebrate constitutional and democratic achievements. India showed its military might by displaying different kinds of weapons to the general public and to the whole world through electronic and print media. It is widely believed that India is the largest democracy, following regular periodic elections and its democratic institutions are considered best among the world.

Democracy is not a new phenomenon. Though in some different forms it did exist in the past. Generally, it is believed that democracy originated from Greek city-states. There is no agreed-upon definition of democracy. Different scholars have defined democracy differently. In dictionary, democracy is defined as “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”. Scholars also described democracy according to their own understanding. Like the former US president Abraham Lincoln said about Democracy as “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

In 20th century, democracy touched its new heights. At the start of the century, WWI destroyed the existing political landscape in Europe and other parts of the world. The former US president Woodrow Wilson maintained a stance that his country has entered World War I to make this world safe for democracy. The world had witnessed another brutal war in 1939 but after the end of the World War II, the situation changed dramatically. With decolonization, many newly emerged states have adopted a democratic form of government. Communism was the only threat that democracy was facing at that time.

But after the disintegration of the USSR, democracy has reached its highest point. When Francis Fukuyama wrote his famous essay 'The End of History?‘ According to Fukuyama, liberal democracies had triumphed over the different forms of government and now we will not see any robust ideological struggle against this liberal democratic system. Many other scholars gave different theories to describe how the democratic form of government is better than others. Democratic peace theory is one of them. According to this theory, democracies seldom go to war with each other and if we wish to make this world peaceful, it will be a good idea to have a democratic form of government in the whole world.

Western countries have invested heavily to spread this democratic norm in the third world. Even some of them were invaded and their form of government was changed. i.e. the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 and installed a democratic form of government. It is also called 'Bush Doctrine' because this was the policy adopted by former US president George W Bush. Although it was not a very fine experience.  But it gave us a fine example of how democracy beholds some places and was extended to other parts from its origin.

Now, we have the largest number of democratic states than they were present in any era throughout the history. This democratic proliferation is supported by a free-market economy. Even the dictatorships like present in North Korea also called itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and committed communist states like China has transformed its economy according to the rules of the capitalist world. International regimes are also helping states to build strong democratic institutions.

So, if everything is going the way it is needed to be then where does the problem exist!? Why the human civilization does not reach point where the basic needs of every person are fulfilled. There is a wide range of violation of basic human rights. Do these things happen only in states where authoritarian form of government is present or they are present in modern liberal democracies?

To answer all these questions we will now consider the case of the biggest democracy of the world. India, a multi-ethnic country with a strong political system and more than one billion population is considered as the largest democracy in the world. But what is happening in India is quite a different story.

Economically, Indian is now amongst the strongest states in the world. It has a huge economy of about $2.80 trillion. But the income inequality is at new heights now. 73 % of the total wealth is controlled by the top 1% population. India still has the highest number of poor people in the world. While democracies always claimed that they are more interested in civil and political rights than economic, social and cultural ones. This is the biggest debate between two competing concepts. Now we will give a brief look at civil and political rights. India occupied the disputed Kashmir region long ago, reports always emerged about the human rights violation in the small valley. It has implemented a draconian armed force special power act there. But on August 05, 2019, India revoked the special semi-autonomous status of the Kashmir region without the consent of the local government or local population.

Since then millions of people are caged in the small valley by Indian security forces. Even the Indian Army is running concentration camps there. Though detail of these camps is not disclosed so far former Indian army chief and current chief of defense staff accepted the existence of these camps. Kashmiris are still living under the threat of genocide without any end in sight of this problem. Thousands are protesting (which turned sometimes violent) against the adoption of new citizenship law by the Indian government. By adopting this law India has embraced an anti-Muslim stance. It is also a country where human rights activists are facing big problems. They are detained by government authorities and harassed through different means. Women are facing daily life violence in the shape of sexually assault, harassment at the workplace and through other means. Different social and ethnic groups are marginalized and abused by superior class without any help from the government. The story is very long that it will take ages for me to pour it out.

This is the story of the biggest democracy of the world who claimed to have a firm belief in democratic norms. But each year this biggest democracy celebrates its republic day with showing lethal arms to the world because it is also the world’s largest arms importer.

And if all these problems exist then I think democratic states are following the advice of former French military ruler Napoleon Bonaparte to rule the country. Where he said, “The true policy of the government is to make use of aristocracy, but under the forms and in the spirit of democracy.”

And if this is democracy than do u think there is a need to completely redefine it or maybe abolish it entirely in future? This is still a debatable question.