Part 10

Different Forms of Government

by PR Sarkar Icon

Autonomous means ruling the self.

Autocratic means ruling as per one’s whims.

Bureaucracy means ruling as per the whims of government officials.

Oligarchy means ruling by a small party.

A kingdom is a state having a king as the ruler. An emperor is a king ruling over other countries along with his own.

Feudalism is a system where power and properties are in the hands of landlords, earls and barons. Feudalism may exist both in a republic and a kingdom. A feudal chief or local chieftain is a king under a big king.

Democracy is where a government is elected by [[the]] people through restricted or general franchise. A democratic country having a democratic head is a republic.

A democratic country having a non-democratic head is not a republic. It is either a kingdom (monarchy), or an oligarchy, or a restricted republic.

India is both a democracy and a republic; the USA is also a democracy and a republic; but Great Britain is a democracy and a kingdom.

Australia is a democracy but not a republic, as it recognizes the British Crown at the helm of affairs. [[A comment on the former Soviet Union omitted here.]]

A republic is where the head of state is elected by [[the]] people directly or indirectly.

4 January 1987, Calcutta

The word Khańd́in means a collection of numerous parts and segments, that is, the Balkans.

The Balkans refer to an extended territory consisting of Greece, Rumania, Albania etc.

Another meaning of the term is a federal state, that, is a state consisting of a number of unitary states, for example, the Federal State of India.

According to the Indian constitution, the Federal State of India is a collection of a number of unitary states or provinces under the unified rule of the federal government.

“Unitary” and “unitarian” are not synonymous.

A written constitution clearly defines the jurisdiction and rights of the federal state and the unitary states in areas like industry, energy production, irrigation, transport and communication.

These things are partly given to the federal government and partly to the state government.

Excise tax also rests partly with the federal government (on sugar, tobacco, jute, tea and coal) and partly with the unitary provincial governments (ganga, hashish, wine, etc.)

In India, none of the four major cash crops and products (jute, tobacco, tea and coal) are in the control of the unitary states.

There used to be certain powers which were vested with the unitary states.

But later, by amendment to the constitution, those powers were vested with the federal government.

For example, the jute industry was initially controlled by the state government was later transferred to the federal government.

Similarly, education was initially a state subject. The central government used to dictate only a few policies and priorities and allocate funds.

But now education is within the jurisdiction of both the state and federal governments.

Foreign trade and other foreign affairs, defense, currency, etc., which were essentially under the control of the central government, are still retained by the central government.

Police administration was certainly under state jurisdiction after India’s independence, but now it is controlled by the central government.

There are many federal governments in the world today, like the USA and the USSR. In eastern federal states, the unitary states are also invested with foreign power.

They are even entitled to send their representatives to the United Nations. Though the unitary states of the USSR have been given a lot of power in theory, and even granted the right of local self-government and in certain cases the right of secession, in practice they have hardly any power at all.

The unitary states of Great Britain – Wales, Scotland, Ulster (Northern Ireland) – have very limited power.

Except in a few areas of jurisdiction, the position of the Indian provincial states is almost like that of the municipalities. The central government, by advancing the superficial plea that the states are not able to administer the country, can dismiss any state government or ministry on the advice of the governor, as the representative of the president, even though the state party enjoys a majority in the legislative assembly.

The series of amendments to the constitution have not enhanced the powers and privileges of the state governments.

  • Rather, their power has been progressively curtailed.

Of the federal states in the world, some are parliamentary and some are presidential in form.

Where there is a presidential form of government, the executive power is vested with the parliament or the prime minister.

Where there is a presidential form of government, the executive power rests with the president.

The president of the USA wields tremendous power, whereas the Indian president has hardly any power in practice.

He or she has to sign all papers and documents under the instructions of the prime minister.

In the election of the president of India, the electorate has no direct right or jurisdiction. But in certain countries, particularly where there is the presidential form of government, the president is elected on the basis of the direct votes of the electorate, which resembles a plebiscite.

What should be the administrative form of government and how should the powers of the federal and state governments be distributed?

Great Britain is the best parliamentary form of government.

The USA is the best presidential form of government, far ahead of the USSR.

The French constitution has conferred a lot of power on the president. But its provisions has made the system of government weak to some extent, as seen during the tenure of Petain of France.

Another meaning of the term Khańd́in is something having many branches and classifications.

The Ananda Marga ideology is based on spirituality. Part of its ideology, which is known as Neohumanism, maintains equilibrium and equipoise in the psychic stratum. Besides this, although human existence is primarily psychic and spiritual, even for its existence there are economico-political necessities of food, clothes, shelter, medicine, education, etc.

Totalitarianism is a form of government in which there is one-party rule which controls everything. Totalitarian means “in totality”. The people have no say. During Stalin’s reign, his word was the law in Russia. Fascism is a form of government which is backed by brutal force or the warrior class. Fascism prevailed in Italia during Mussolini’s rule although the country had a hereditary king as its head. The real power was in the hands of Mussolini. Nazism is a form of government which is backed up by brutal force or the warrior class. The difference between Fascism and Nazism is that when Hitler came to power in Germany, there was also an elected advisory council. What is the difference between a kingdom and a monarchy? A kingdom is the territory over which a king rules. Monarchy is a system of government. So “kingdom” is a material noun and “monarchy” is an abstract noun. In the kingdom of so and so, monarchy was the form of government that prevailed.

4 July 1987, Calcutta


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