Democracy – A Minority Perspective

Democracy is the most liberal form of tyranny. In democracy, majority should respect the differences of the minority and accept their existence. Both of them must unify under the umbrella of democracy for the successful working of any political machinery.

Democracy- A Minority Perspective
Democracy - A Minority Perspective

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch” gives the very basic idea of democracy in the context of the minority. The lamb can never prevail in front of the wolves. The characterization of wolves and lambs under the shadow of the majority and minority in a democracy still hold relevance in today’s world. Simply putting, both can exist in the same territory but one is in constant tyranny and fear of the other one.

The status of a minority in a country is extremely important for its democracy. In order to know whether a democracy is on the track of progression, one needs to know the status of the minority in that particular country. Thus, issues related to a minority is extremely crucial in any discussion of democracy.  The very idea of the democracy speaks for freedom and equality, that restricts the fear of existence. So, any democracy which curbs the existence of minorities and increases their fear towards the majoritarian idea does not hold on the grounds of the basic normative idea of fundamentals of democracy.

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Representation of minority can only be done on the basis of demography. There is a majoritarian misconception about minorities, that boils down to an argument that characterizes minorities only on the basis of religious perspective. A dilemma of religion is always attached to the minority. Whereas the minority can be characterized on the basis of religion, ethnicity, linguistic, cultural and many other criteria.

In order to practice the fundamentals of democracy, one needs to understand that the plurality of different culture, religion, language is not a threat, it is an advantage. It’s an opportunity to respect their differences and accept their existence. And this can’t be one-sided. Both, the majority and minority should come to a single point and the should compromise.

Human history has seen a lot of transitions in the government forms such as monarchy, feudalism, dictatorship. Out of all these, democracy is “The End of History and the Last Man” in the words of Francis Fukuyama. Which means that the liberal form of democracy may be the endpoint for the final form of government. Will Durant once quoted that, “The political machine triumphs because it is united minority acting against a divided majority”. Which means that the democracy, which is a part of the political machinery is successful because of the unification of the majority and minority under the umbrella of democracy.

One can argue that democracy is the most liberal form of tyranny. The majority simply can’t hoot on their numbers to side-line the values and believes of their minority. Democracy should never be practiced or function as the dictatorship of the majority. The age-old tussle between majority and minority had lots of crest and troughs in it. Ultimately in most of the cases, majoritarian ideas have been supplemented in rest of the society. And almost every majoritarian idea believes that democracy means a rule for the majority, by the majority and to the majority. It’s important that the democracy must serve the citizens, not to rule them.

Article Written by Aquib Israr