Indian Democracy: Meanings and Practices

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Rajendra Vora, Suhas Palshikar
SAGE, Jan 12, 2004 - Social Science - 447 pages
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This volume examines how Indian democracy has survived the challenges posed by widespread illiteracy, poverty, secessionism and communalism—problems that have felled the fledgling democratic institutions of so many post-colonial societies. The contributors locate the reason for the resilience of Indian democracy in its history—that it was the product of a gradual evolution and not of a sudden imposition from above.

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.

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List of Tables 79
An Overview
The Crisis of Political Authority
What is Happening Inside Indian Democracy?
Theorizing Indian Democracy
Whose Democracy Are We Talking About? Hegemony
Are We Asking
List of Tables
Decline of Caste Majoritarianism in Indian Politics
An Appraisal
Predicament of the Left
Is This
Social Movements in Crisis?
Struggle Against Dams or Struggle for Water?
About the Editors and Contributors

Learning from
New Dalit Politics

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About the author (2004)

Suhas Palshikar teaches political science at the University of Pune. He is also the co-director of the Lokniti programme (Programme for Comparative Democracy) at CSDS, Delhi. Professor Palshikar has done extensive work in the area of India's party politics and electoral politics. He was also one of the principal investigators and authors of the State of Democracy in South Asia (2008). Currently, he is engaged in the second round of the State of Democracy in South Asia study. His co-edited Indian Democracy: Meanings and Practices (Sage, 2003). His latest publication is the co-edited volume, Party Competition in Indian States (OUP).

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