Democracy has been defined as the government of the people, for the people, by the people. In such a Government people are themselves the rulers of the ruled. Government is formed through elections. All the adult citizens cast votes and elect their representatives. Thus it is a people's government. It is run through their elected representatives. Dictatorship is that form of Government in which there is centralization of power. All power rests in the hands of one single individual. The people have no say in the matters of Government. In India, England and American, etc; there is democracy. In China, Egypt, etc, there is dictatorship.
The main advantages of democracy are three. First in this form of Government people enjoy a great deal of liberty. They get every freedom for self-expression. They can criticize the Government through the press and the platform. The Government can be dismissed at the will of the people. In such a Government, people are all powerful. It is they who make and dismiss it. In England, Sir Winston Churchill won the second World War and became the war-time hero. But after the war he and his government were dismissed.
Secondly, in democracy all the citizens are treated as equals. No distinctions is made on the basic of caste, creed or sex. All the citizens get equal opportunity. Even a sweeper can become a President. Thirdly, democracy is best suited for a country in peace times. Sound foundations of a nation are laid through it. Everything great is achieved through the co-operation of the people. Co-cooperation of the people is its basic principle.
There are some disadvantages also of democracy. It is very slow moving form of Government. For everything, first of all some legislation has to be passed. It takes a pretty long time before the Government comes to any decision. Moreover, it also lacks in secrecy. Its machinery is very complicated. It runs through a long chain of officers and their staffs. Thus, every order has to pass through so many hands before it can be executed. So it is said that it can never be successful in war times. Further, its success or failure depends on the voter. If the voters are educated and enlightened, then only will they vote to elect capable men. If they are ignorant they will vote for undesirable persons. Thus, democracy depends upon the voters.
Dictatorship has its own advantages. In war-time, no other Government is so efficient as dictatorship. The dictator is the master of his own will. His orders are the final orders. No one can dare refuse to carry them out. when a nation is down trodden a dictator certainly helps it is rising high. Through heavy penalties and punishments, he frees the country of all corruption. Thus we find that all around dictators are coming into power. In Pakistan, Egypt, Burma, etc there were dictators.
But dictatorship cannot last long. It is very difficult to get a good successor to a dictator. Einstein, the famous scientist, one said, "dictators of genius are succeeded by scoundrels." Germany became a terror to the world in the days of Hitler. Turkey was revolutionized and modernized by Mustafa Kamal Pasha. But after them, their countries again fell in darkness. Further, as the danger of going on a wrong path. There is no check on his powers. People cannot critics him or change the Government through constitutional means. They cannot express their views freely or pass their life in the way they think best. They have no rights. They must obey the dictator blindly. Man is thus reduced to the level of a dumb animal. These are some of the greatest defects of the dictatorship.
Keeping all the above advantages and disadvantages of democracy and dictatorship in mind, we can say that democracy leads to the development of the individual as well as of society. It is in this form of Government that the individual liberties are rights are highly respected. People are not made to follow the Government like sheep and goats. That is why the present dictators take pleasure in calling their dictatorship people's democracies. In recent times there has been turmoil all over Eastern Europe with thousands and thousands of people demanding democratic reforms, and fair and free elections on the basic of a multiparty system. Dictatorships in many of these countries have been replaced by democracies. All progressive countries want to follow the path of democracy. It is the highest form of civilized Government.