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  • Apartheid means separation on the basis of race.
  • The African National Congress-led the struggle against apartheid. Its leader Nelson Mandela fought the apartheid system and in 1994 succeeded in making South Africa a democratic country, in which people of all races were considered equal.

Elements of a democracy

  • In a democracy, people make the decisions.
  • Through voting in elections, people elect leaders to represent themselves.
  • The leaders have to take decisions on behalf of the people, keeping in mind the interests of the people.
  • The government is elected for a fixed period. It is five years in the case of India.
  • Hence, the power of the government gets limited by regular elections.
  • Many times, the government has to change its decisions because it is responsible to the people.

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Other ways of participating

  • People can express their views by organising dharnas, rallies, strikes, signature campaigns etc.
  • Things that are unjust can be brought forward by means of newspapers, magazines and TV.
  • People can organise themselves into social movements that seek to challenge the government and its functioning.

Need to resolve conflict

  • The government is responsible for helping to resolve conflicts.
  • Religious processions and celebrations can sometimes lead to conflicts.
  • Sharing of river water between different states that the river passes through can become a source of conflict between states.

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Equality and justice

  • A democratic government should be committed to equality and justice.
  • The government has to step in by providing special provisions for groups within society that are unequal.

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