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Broader Meanings of Democracy

Democracy in most countries today can be called representative democracies.

That is …

  • All the people do not rule.
  • A majority is allowed to take decisions on behalf of all the people.
  • Even the majority does not rule directly.
  • The majority of people rule through their elected representatives.

Only representative democracies are viable in today’s world. Because modern democracies involve a large number of people and it is physically impossible for all of them to sit together and take a collective decision.

Now let us look at the other aspects of Democracy.

  • A democratic decision involves consultation with and consent of all those who are affected by that decision.
  • Those who are not powerful have the same say in taking the decision as those who are powerful.

The Democracy Monument, Bangkok

The Democracy Monument is a public monument in the centre of Bangkok, capital of Thailand. The monument was commissioned in 1939 by the military ruler of Thailand.


A representation of the Thai Constitution of 1932 sits on top of two golden offering bowls above a round turret.

One of the four wing-like structures which guard the Constitution, representing the four branches of the Thai armed forces.

One of the naga fountains at the base of two of the wing structures.

Sculptural panel titled "Soldiers Fighting for Democracy".

Sculptural panel titled "Personification of the People".

Sculptural panel titled "Personification of Balance and Good Life".

Democracy as a ‘word’.

  • Democracy can apply to a government or a family or any other organisation. 
  • Democracy is also a principle that can be applied to any sphere of life.
  • Sometimes we use the word democracy not to describe any existing government but to set up an ideal standard that all democracies must aim to become.
  • When the true meaning of the word ‘democracy’ is understood, one begins to value democracy.
  • Understanding the ideals behind the word ‘democracy’ enables one to judge an existing democracy and identify its weaknesses.
  • Understanding the principles behind the word ‘democracy’  helps one to distinguish between a minimal democracy and a good democracy.


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