Key Elements of Democratic Government

Q1. What is Apartheid?

Ans: Apartheid means separation of people on the basis of race. It was the main problem in Africa. Nelson Mandela fought against the apartheid system for several years in Africa.
Q2. Why Maya was shocked?
Ans: Maya Naidoo, an eleven-year old South African girl living in the town of Johannesburg, was helping her mother clear up her old boxes. She found a scrapbook full of pictures and newspaper articles. There were many pictures of a young schoolboy of around fifteen years of age.  When she asked her mother who the boy was, she was told that he was called, Hector Pieterson. He had been shot by the police.  Maya was shocked.
Q3. Write a short note on apartheid system in South Africa.
Ans: South Africa was earlier governed by apartheid laws. South African people were divided into white, black, Indian and coloured races. According to the law, these races were not allowed to mingle with each other, to live near each other or even to use common facilities.
Q4. Why did the African police shot Hecter Pieterson?
Ans: Hector and his other school friends were being forced to learn African language, which was for the white people. But they wanted to learn their own language, Zulu.  The South African police beat up the protestors mercilessly and shot at the crowd. One of their bullets killed Hector. This was on 16th june,1976.
Q5. Who was Nelson Mandela? How did he become well-known to the Africans?
Ans: Nelson Mandela was the of African National Congress, who fought the apartheid system for several years.  Finally, they succeeded and in 1994 South Africa became a democratic country in which people of all races were considered equal.
Q6. What are the significance of regular election?
Ans: People make the decisions in a democracy. Through voting in elections people elect leaders to represent them. These representatives take decisions on behalf of the people.
● Importance of regular election:
In democratic governments all members are elected for fixed periods. In India this period is five years. Once elected, governments can stay in power only for that period. If they want to continue to be in power then they have to be re-elected by the people. This is a moment when people can sense their power in a democracy. In this way the power of the government gets limited by regular elections.
Q7. How did common people participate in the process of government?
Ans: Elections are usually held once in five years. Besides voting there are other ways of participating in the process of government.
People participate by taking an interest in the working of the government and by criticising it when required. In August 2005, when a particular government increased the money people had to pay for electricity, people expressed their disapproval very sharply.
—They took out rallies and also organised a signature campaign.
—The government tried to explain and defend its decision but finally listened to the people’s opinion and withdrew the increase.
—The government had to change its decision because it is responsible to the people.
Q8. How did people express their views to take the government actions?
 There are many ways in which people express their views and make governments understand what actions they should take.
—These include dharnas, rallies, strikes, signature campaigns etc.
—Things that are unfair and unjust are also brought forward.
—Newspapers, magazines and TV also play a role in discussing government issues and responsibilities.

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