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Three Determinants

In the outcome of politics of social divisions there are three important factors

I. The first thing to be remembered is that the outcome depends on how people perceive their identities. If people think in singular terms the benefit is also little. It is much easier if the people see that their identities are multiple and are complementary with the national identity. But if they think in terms of many, the result is also in many. This helps them to stay together. This is how most people in our country see their identity: they think of themselves as Indian as well as belonging to a

state or a language group or a social or religious community.

II. The second aspect is that it depends on how political leaders raise the demands of any community. Demands within the constitutional framework are easier to accommodate and that too not at the cost of another community.

III. The third aspect is that it depends on how the demands of different groups are met by the government. If the demands of minority community are met and the rulers are willing to share power, there is less threat from the social divisions, for the country. But if something is not done and the government labels it under the name of national unity, the end result is often quite the opposite. These kinds of attempts usually spread hatred amongst each other.

Thus social diversities in a country and its assertion need not be seen as a source of danger. Political expression of social divisions can be healthy and is very normal in a democracy. This proves as a bridge of understanding between various disadvantaged and marginal social groups, as it allows to express their grievances and get the government to attend those aspects at the earliest. It so happens that just because one social group wants to express itself, it challenges the other. In this way democracy is strengthened.

Collective action across social divisions rarely occurs. It does occur when a problem affects everyone- such as irrigation, electricity, roads, and it is difficult for the rich to opt out of the system. Availability of key champions in local government makes a difference in undertaking collective action. The importance of collective action, civic engagement, norms of unity and solidarity at the local level becomes even more evident when considering the determinants of local democracy

A positive attitude towards diversity and a willingness to accommodate does not come about easily. People who feel segregated must fight this. This fight takes the democratic path, and the people are able to voice out their demands in a peaceful and constitutional manner and seek a fair position through elections. Some forms of unacceptable level of social inequality and injustice can be taken by social differences. In such cases, violence and defiance of state power occurs. However through history we come to know that the best way to fight for recognition and also to accommodate diversity is democracy.

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