India is the largest democratic country in the world. Democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is considered the finest form of government in which every individual participates consciously and in which the people remain the sovereign power determining their destiny. So, in democracy the people are the ultimate source of power and its success and failure depend on their wisdom, consciousness and vigilance.
It is not possible for all the people in a big country like India to participate in the government. This is why they are required to exercise their franchise and elect their representatives at regular intervals. These representatives from the parliament legislate and form responsible government.
India became free only in 1947 after many years of colonial rule. In the following years India had her constitution that declared India as a democratic federal republic. The first democratic election on the basis of universal adult franchise was held in 1952. But during that election the people of India did not really have the necessary consciousness to understand democracy. They did not have the education to choose between good and evil. More than eighty percent of these people were victims of age-old poverty, ignorance and superstitions. Many of them did not even understand the difference between the British and the new rulers. So, election for these Indian people was not a democratic process, it was like festival. Even to-day, after so many years, the people in India are not very much different, for many of them are illiterates and poverty too is still there with all its sickening and demoralizing effects. This is why Indian democracy has failed so far to bring about the desired changes and to attain the goal of regeneration.
Around 1.2 billion people live in India, and everyone over the age of 18 has the right to vote. That makes it the world's biggest democracy.
Teenager Tushar takes us on a tour around the city of Delhi. He shows us the upmarket area of town, and he explains how India's economy is booming, before travelling to the slums to see how the city’s poor live.
More than 450 million Indians live on less than £1 a day. But everyone, rich or poor, has the right to vote.