Chapter 3: Democracy and Diversity
Exercise (Page 37)
Question 1: Discuss three factors that determine the outcomes of politics of social divisions.
Three factors which determine the outcomes of politics of social divisions:
- The people’s perception of their identities: When this is singular, the accommodation of other identities becomes difficult.
- Representation of a community by political leaders: While representing a community, if politicians raise demands that are constitutional, then it is easier to accommodate those demands.
- The government’s reaction: 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?
When different social differences overlap, one particular social difference gains in prominence. This leads to the creation of social division and tension. For example, in Northern Ireland, the social differences of class and religion overlap each other. The catholics are usually the ones who are poor, while the protestants are the ones who are well off. The religious differences are accentuated by this overlap. As a result, there are conflicts between the two religious groups.
In other words, a social difference becomes a social division when it coincides with other social differences, which in turn serve to heighten the said difference.
Question 3: How do social divisions affect politics? Give two examples.
A combination of social divisions and politics can be really dangerous. A democracy involves competition among various political parties. As their competition tends to divide society, if they start competing in terms of some existing social divisions, then it can convert those social divisions into political divisions, which can lead to conflict, violence and even disintegration of the country. An example of this is the disintegration of Yugoslavia into six independent countries.
However, the combination of social divisions and politics is not always negative. The political expression of social divisions allows marginalised and disadvantaged social groups to express their grievances and ask the government to rectify them. The system of reservation of seats in Indian legislatures for the socially disadvantaged has allowed such social groups to have an adequate representation in the decision-making process.
Question 4: ________________ social differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions. ________________ social differences do not usually lead to conflicts.
Question 5: In dealing with social divisions which one of the following statements is NOT correct about democracy?
(a) Due to political competition in a democracy, social divisions get reflected in politics.
(b) In a democracy it is possible for communities to voice their grievances in a peaceful manner.
(c) Democracy is the best way to accommodate social diversity.
(d) Democracy always leads to disintegration of society on the basis of social divisions.
Question 6: Consider the following three statements.
Α. Social divisions take place when social differences overlap.
Β. 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
Question 7: Arrange the following statements in a logical sequence and select the right answers by using the code given below.
Α. 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
Question 8: Among the following, which country suffered disintegration due to political fights on the basis of religious and ethnic identities?
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 − 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 − back 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’.”
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 aspires 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 plight of the African-American people.