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It is ancient India’s Vaishali, which gave the concept of elected rulers or democracy to the world in 6th BCE.

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Lok Sabha Election is the biggest project with largest number of people’s participation on the earth. It was 900 million (90 crores) people whose energies joined together,  when Election Commission conducted six week long polling exercise from 11 April to 19 May in 2019, although voter turnout was 67%. 

Election is the only instrument of vibrant democracy. India’s democratic institutions is largely based on British model. But, it evolved organically as a result of people’s participation in democracy. However, what India doesn’t teach its students is that Vaishali was the first Republic in the world much before democracy in Greece’s Athens, which is said to be birthplace of democracy spanning from 508 until 322 BCE. 

Ruins of Vaishali, currently an archaeological site, Photo Credit: indiavideo.org

Vaishali—which is in ruins, today—is situated in present day Bihar under the same name. Currently an Archaeological site, Vaishali was ruled by Lichchavi clan during 6th century BC. The empire was expanded into the hills of Nepal. The Lichchavi state is where the first republican state of Asia was born. Vaishali was ruled by as many as 7707 kings of the Lichchavi clan. 7707 Kings were elected city representatives, who had come from noble families. There was no place for a hereditary monarchy.

In the ruins of ancient Vaishali, there exists Raja Vishal Ka Garh, which is telling its glorious history even today. Raja Vishal Ka Garh is huge mound or a hill with a seating capacity of 700 people. Circumference of the huge mound is about one kilometer with 2 meters high dividers. The huge assembly is believed to be the parliament, where representatives used to gather to run the Republic of Vaishali. 

Ruins of Vaishali, an archaeological site, photo credit: indiavideo.org

There is Abhishek Pushkarni, a coronation tank, all elected representatives were believed to be sanctified before swearing-in ceremony. Republic of Vaishali began to lose its glory and power after Ajatashatru, king of Magadha, annexed Vaishali in the fifth century BC. 

“Vaishali, The World’s First Republic” authored by Jagdish Prasad Sharma explains in his book how elected representatives were the effective government. The government used to follow constitution to take decision independently after agreement of majority. 

Photo Credit: India video.org

Vaishali not only gave birth to Republic to ancient India, when there used to be a king, who ruled the kingdom, but also it was considered to be ancient India’s second urban evolution by ancient Indian historians. The first urban evolution had taken place in cities of Mohenjo-daro, Harappa along the banks of the Indus river in western India during in the 3rd millennium BCE. 

Even Raja Anantha Padmanabha, king of Kalinga, who was attacked by Emperor Ashoka in 261 BCE, has been mentioned as a feudal republic state now known as Odisha today.

Emperor Bharat, after whom the country was named Bharat, was son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and ancestor of kauravas and pandavas. He had nine sons. But he didn’t find any of his sons worthy for his throne. Hence, he chose Bhumanyu, a local boy, who was brave and strong but could not have been called royal by any stretch of imagination, as his successor. 

India is not only the largest democracy on the planet at present, but it is ancient India’s Vaishali, which gave the concept of electric rulers to the world in 6th BCE. Current and coming generations must be told the rich civilisations of India prior to foreign invasions and the struggle and battle India came out of Islamic Invasion and British subjugation.

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