Chapter 3 Democracy and Diversity

By | April 12, 2019

Question 1 Discuss three factors that determine the outcomes of politics of social divisions.

Answer 1 There are three factors which are crucial in deciding the outcomes of politics of social divisions.

(i) People’s perception of their identities: It is very important to see how people perceive their identities. If people see their identities in singular and exclusive terms, it becomes difficult to accommodate. It is much easier if people see that their identities are multiple and are complementary with the national identity. This helps them stay together.

(ii) Representation of a community by political leaders: The outcome of politics of social divisions of different ethnic communities presented their demands in such a way that these could not be accommodated within a single country.

(iii) Government’s reaction to such demands: The outcome of politics of social divisions also depends upon how the government responds to demands of various social groups. In Belgium and Sri Lanka, if the rulers are willing to share power and accommodate the reasonable demands of minority community, social divisions become less threatening for the country. If the reasonable demands of a community are suppressed by the government, then it leads to social divisions, which in turn threaten the integrity of the country.

Question 2 When does a social difference become a social division?

Answer 2 Social division takes place when some social difference overlaps with other differences. In our country Dalits tend to be poor and landless. They often face discrimination and injustice. Situations of this kind produce social divisions, when one kind of social difference becomes more important than the other and people start feeling that they belong to different communities.

Question 3. How do social divisions affect politics? Give two examples.

Answer 3 Social divisions affect politics negatively as well as positively.

Negative Impact

Democracy involves competition among various political parties. Their competition tends to divide any society. If they start competing in terms of some existing social divisions, it can make social divisions into political divisions and lead to conflict, who demanded Northern Ireland to be unified with the Republic of Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country. Protestants were represented by the Unionist who wanted to remain with UK, which is predominantly protestant. Hundreds of civilians and militants were killed in the fight between Unionists and Nationalists and between the security forces of the UK and the Nationalists. It was only in 1998 that the UK government and the Nationalists reached a peace treaty after which the latter suspended their armed struggle. In Yugoslavia the political competition and religious differences led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia into six independent countries. Such examples lead some people to think that politics and social divisions should not be allowed to mix; if social divisions exist in a country they must never be expressed in politics.

Positive Impact

Every expression of social division in politics does not lead to disasters. Social divisions of some or the other kind do exist in every society of the world and are reflected in politics. In democracy it is only natural that political parties would talk about these divisions, make different promises to different communities, look after due representation of various communities and policies to redress the grievances of disadvantaged communities.

Question 4. (a) ……… social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions. (b) ……… social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.

Answer 4 (a) Overlapping (b) Cross-cutting.

Question 5. In dealing with social divisions which one of the following statements is NOT correct about democracy?

(i) Due to political competition in a democracy, social divisions get reflected in politics.

(ii) In a democracy it is possible for communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner.

(iii) Democracy is the best way to accommodate social diversity.

(iv) Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the basis of social divisions.

Answer 5 The fourth statement, i.e. (d) is not correct about democracy.

Question 6. Consider the following three statements.

A. Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.

B. It is possible that a person can have multiple identities.

C. Social divisions exist in only big countries like India.

Which of the statements is/are correct?

(a) A, B and C             (b) A and B

(c) B and C                  (d) Only C

Answer 6 (b) A and B.

Question 7. Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answers by using the code given below.

A. But all political expression of social divisions need not be always dangerous.

B. Social divisions of one kind or the other exist in most countries.

C. Parties try to win political support by appealing to social divisions.

D. Some social differences may result in social divisions.

(a) D, B, C, A                         (b) D, B, A, C

(c) D, A, C, B                          (d) A, B, C, D

Answer 7 (a) D, B, C, A

Question 8. Among the following, which country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?

(a) Belgium                   (b) India

(c) Yugoslavia                (d) Netherlands

Answer 8 (c) Yugoslavia.

Question 9. Read the following passage from a famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. Which social division is he talking about? What are his aspirations and anxieties? Do you see a relationship between this speech and the incident in Mexico Olympics mentioned in this chapter? “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics— will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!’ I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’.”

Answer 9 . In this extract, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is talking about racism in USA. He is referring to the segregation policies adopted by the Whites towards the Coloured people. He hopes for a country where there will be security for all; where racial abuse will not occur; and where everyone will be treated as equal irrespective of the colour of their skin. This speech and the incident at the Mexico Olympics are both part of a movement that wanted to highlight the difficulties faced by the African-American people.

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