Essay: Democracy as a Universal Value by Amartya Sen

Democracy as a Universal Value by Amartya Sen 

The idea of democracy originated, of course, in ancient Greece, more than two millennia ago. Piecemeal efforts at democratization were attempted elsewhere as well, including in India.1 But it is really in ancient Greece that the idea of democracy took shape and was seriously put into practice (albeit on a limited scale), before it collapsed and was replaced by more authoritarian and asymmetric forms of government. There were no other kinds anywhere else.

Thereafter, democracy as we know it took a long time to emerge. Its gradual–and ultimately triumphant–emergence as a working system of governance was bolstered by many developments, from the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, to the French and the American Revolutions in the eighteenth century, to the widening of the franchise in Europe and North America in the nineteenth century. It was in the twentieth century, however, that the idea of democracy became established as the “normal” form of government to which any nation is entitled–whether in Europe, America, Asia, or Africa.

The idea of democracy as a universal commitment is quite new, and it is quintessentially a product of the twentieth century. The rebels who forced restraint on the king of England through the Magna Carta saw the need as an entirely local one. In contrast, the American fighters for independence and the revolutionaries in France contributed greatly to an understanding of the need for democracy as a general system. Yet the focus of their practical demands remained quite local–confined, in effect, to the two sides of the North Atlantic, and founded on the special economic, social, and political history of the region.

Courtesy: National Endowment for Democracy

Resource : IAS – ESSAY – 10 Yrs – From 2006 to 1997 

ESSAY: A lecture on India: Large & Small by Prof. Amartya Sen

Mock Essay Test 1 : Essay of the WeekIAS ESSAY: INDIA

IAS Essay vs IAS Mains PhilosophyIAS  

ESSAY : A Practical Alternative : New Cosmic System for Human Governance  

Learning From the West – N R Narayana Murthy

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