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Does Political Science matter for Democracy?

Md. Moynul Haque - December 3rd, 2012

Samuel P. Huntington’s proposition on democracy and political science knot depicts the relation between political science and democracy that is inextricably connected to attain a healthy democratic state. The development of the study of political science hastens the democratic norms and attitudes instituted in any viable democratic country. Democracy is a system of government where political participation is needed. Likewise, political science has developed with the expansion of political participation through the political education.
In democracy, politics entails the political participation which involves the knowledge of political science. Therefore, it is impossible to have political scientists in the absence of political participation. In a society in which there is no participation, no competition for power, political scientist would have anything to do. It logically follows that the connection between democracies has been close and continuing one.  And this leads Huntington to his central proposition: “Where democracy is strong, political science is strong; where democracy is weak, political science is weak. Authoritarian societies may produce and in some cases have produced Nobel Prize winning physicists, biologists, novelists and statesmen; they do not produce great political scientists. The emergence of democracy encourages the development of political science and the development of political science can and has in small ways contributed to the emergence and stabilization of democracy”.
In a nascent democratic country like Bangladesh, we need insightful political thinkers as well as leaders and statesman for the way out of the crisis. Political Science provides intellectual teachings on major arts of government be it democratic or other system of government. In political science, the treaties of Machiavelli (“The Prince”- a theory to the art of government), Hobbes (Leviathan) and Locke’s (two treaties on civil government) are studied with profound interest to learn the notion of secularism, world government and the tactics and strategies to run the government. It is the fact that indiscriminate to all system of government, political science is being studied in the form of theoretical and practical as well. With the advent of modern political science down to the present time, many forms of government including democracy, authoritarian and communist has emerged. Different rigimes experimented political science concepts differently. In autocracy, power is confined in one hand where in democracy it is dispersed to the people. Political science has paved the way to realize the concept power as the ‘people’s power’. And democracy is the government of people’s government as Abraham Lincoln rightly said ‘democracy is a government of the people; by the people and for the people’.
The reinstitution of democracy in Bangladesh in 1990 bears the testimony the biggest flow of the subject in practice.  The people’s power again handed to the government chosen by the people. It ushered the political participation to the maximum in state affairs and thus the political science concepts came to the fore in practicing democracy in the country. Over the world political science instigated the interest of study for the politicians as well. It is political science that covers the whole area of study including politics, economics, religion, society, culture alike. For which political science gained importance for democracy is its content of the study to the theory and practice of government.
In political science, the concept of democracy is supplementary be described as ‘mobocracy’ where the lion’s share claimed by the mob (people). In a system where people have free access of thinking, participation in public affairs so to say in political life, it must imply the civic engagement in all aspects. Only political science grasp over those concepts exercised by the common people in practice. So it is examined that, political science hastens the idea of democratic values among people rather than the authoritarian does.   In autocracy, the dictatorship prevailed and cut short the practice of civil rights and thereby hindered the wave of democratic flow. There response to the political science for democratic teaching remained unpracticed.
The light of hope only exists in democracy where people get true sprit from the study of political science. For an example, the concept of election, rule of law, governance, human rights etc. that is the boon of political science study made the nation state more functional mainly operational.  As to build an established democracy in the world, quest for political theory is needed. Bangladesh has the probability to wave the flag of matured democracy because of the avaibility of political science courses in almost every public university and university colleges. For every citizen, the quick response to the study of political science will enriches the democratic mind of men, thus will flourish a democratic culture and will place Bangladesh abreast strong democratic nations all over the world.
The Author is Lecturer, Department of Political Science
Jagannath University, Dhaka
E-mail: [email protected]