The author raises several key questions relevant to Indian politics, including:
•?Why has India succeeded in making a relatively peaceful transition from colonial rule to a resilient, multi-party democracy in contrast to her neighbours?
•?How has the interaction of modern politics and traditional society contributed to the resilience of post-colonial democracy?
•?How did India’s economy – moribund for several decades following independence – make a breakthrough into rapid growth, and, can India sustain it?
•?And finally, why have collective identity and nationhood emerge as the core issue of India in the 21st century?
Introducing the novice to India, this accessible, genuinely comparative account of India’s political evolution also engages the expert in a deep contemplation of the nature of strategic manoeuvring within India’s domestic and international context. In addition to pedagogical features such as text boxes, a set of further readings is provided as a to guide readers who wish to go beyond the remit of this text.
The volume attempts to capture the emerging trajectories of the party system in India in the second decade of the twenty first century with seventeen essays written specially for this volume by scholars who met several times to discuss and formulate questions and critique each other’s drafts. Overall, the volume provides an incisive and comprehensive analysis of the far-reaching changes that India’s political parties and party system are undergoing. It looks into the institutional dimensions, processes and agenda, federal manifestations, transitions (including generational change) and extraneous influences brought in by globalization, Indian Diaspora and the impact of new media technology. Constituting an important contribution to the on-going debate on the Indian party system, this volume will attract the attention of students of Indian politics, political science, democracy, party systems and comparative politics.
The essays in the volume, however, show that despite having stood the test of time, Indian democracy is not a democracy in any substantive sense. The economic policies of successive governments since 1985 have been basically anti-people; rampant casteism, communalism, and the use of money and muscle power have infiltrated the body politic. Mass mobilization has been powered by hate, making it a feature more typical of a nascent neo-fascist state than of a democracy. The `substantialization of democracy’—proper representation and people’s participation in decision making—still remains a distant ideal.