Democracy is not only a way of government but it is also a way of life. The modern age is a future of democratic age Democracy has been defined differently by various philosophers of the past and present age. The Greek Philosopher like Plato and Aristotle defined democracy as mobocracy or the rule of the crowds because Demo is from the Greek word Demos which means crowd and crazy is from the Greek word Kratos or Kratia which means power.
The Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle did not admire democracy. They considered that it was a bad type of Government because it creates instability and was a weak type of government. Of course, nowadays democracy is not considered to be a bad type of government but it is regarded as the best possible government.
Democracy has been defined differently by different writers. According to Prof. Seeley, it is a government in which everyone has a share. According to Bryce democracy is that form of government in which the ruling power of the state is largely vested in the members of the community as a whole. The best definition, however, was given by Abraham Lincoln. According to him, it is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Thus in a democracy, the people are supreme and sovereign. The people elect the government at the time of elections according to their free will.
Democracy can be further classified into two types, direct and indirect democracies. In a direct democracy, the people themselves act as a supreme law-making body. They elect their rules and dismiss them. They make the laws and change them. But in an indirect democracy, the people elect their representatives of the people to make the laws on behalf of the people. They also choose the rules to run the administration of the country.
Direct democracy was possible only in the past in the city States when the population was very small. Nowadays generally there is a representative type of democracy or indirect democracy. In India, England and the U.S.A. there is indirect democracy. In a few cantons of Switzerland still, some form of direct democracy can be found.
Future of democracy has not met with success everywhere in the world. It has been a success in some countries of the world like Switzerland, UK, USA, France, Canada etc. In Switzerland democracy in such a great success that Switzerland and democracy are considered as synonymous. In the U.K. also the U.K. as the mother of parliamentary democracy in the world.
But on the other hand, we find that democracy has not been very successful in many other countries. For example, in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America it has failed miserably. In Asia, there are very few countries where the experiment of democracy has met with some success. The names of these countries can be counted on fingertips. Except for a few countries like India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Israel everywhere democracy has been eclipsed.
In reality, there are certain conditions which are very essential for the success of democracy, some of these conditions are educated masses, enlightened public opinion, economic equality, well organised political parties, freedom of the press, patriotic leaders, etc. While these conditions are available in countries of Europe and USA, they are lacking in countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Thus democracy has failed in the countries where these pre-conditions are not present.
In India which is the largest future of democracy in the world, a great experiment is going on. If democracy is a success in our country then its future is quite bright in Asia. On the other hand, if it fails here then it will be totally eclipsed in Asia. Of course, democracy has been quite successful in our country during the last 55 years. The credit for the strong foundations of the future of democracy in India goes to its leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mrs Indira Gandhi etc.