Question: What led to the ethnic tension in Belgium? Why was it more acute in Brussels?
Answer: The minority French-speaking community was relatively rich and powerful. So the Dutch speaking community, who got the benefit of economic development and education much later showed the resentment between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking communities during the 1950s and the 1960s. The conflict between the two communities was more severe in Brussels because the Dutch speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital.
Question: Mention any four steps which were taken by the Sri Lankan government to achieve majoritarianism.
- In 1956, an Act was passed under which English was replaced as the country’s official language not by the Sinhala and Tamil but by the Sinhala only.
- The governments followed preferential policies that favoured the Sinhala applicants for university positions and government jobs.
- A new constitution stipulated that the state shall protect and foster Buddhism.
- Denial of citizenship to estate Tamils.
Question: What is a Civil War? Explain with context to Sri Lanka.
- It is a violent conflict between the opposing groups within a country, for example the Sinhalese and the Tamils.
- Due to the violent conflict between both these ethnic groups thousands of people of both the communities have been killed. Many families were forced to leave the country as refugees and many more lost their livelihoods.
- The civil war has caused a terrible setback to the social, cultural and economic life of the country.
Question: What is the relationship between democracy and power sharing?
Answer: ‘Democracy’ means giving every citizen the right and power to make the decisions through their elected representatives. Power sharing is dividing power among various social groups to give them equal representation in the governance. Power sharing is the essence of democracy where every individual, irrespective of cultural and language differences feel involved in the political system.
Question: “Power may also be shared among different social groups”. Explain by giving examples.
- Power may also be shared among different social groups such as the religious and linguistic groups. “Community government” in Belgium is a good example of this arrangement.
- In some countries there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are represented in the legislatures and administration. For example in India we follow the principle of “reserved constituencies” in assemblies and the parliament of our country. This type of arrangement is meant to give space in the government and administration to diverse social groups who otherwise would feel alienated from the government.
- This method is used to give minority communities a fair share in power.