Rise of the Plebeians?: The Changing Face of the Indian Legislative Assemblies

Front Cover
Christophe Jaffrelot, Sanjay Kumar
Taylor & Francis Limited, Mar 31, 2021 - 400 pages

For decades, India has been a conservative democracy governed by the upper caste notables coming from the urban bourgeoisie, the landowning aristocracy and the intelligentsia. The democratisation of the 'world's largest democracy' started with the rise of peasants' parties and the politicisation of the lower castes who voted their own representatives to power as soon as they emancipated themselves from the elite's domination. In Indian state politics, caste plays a major role and this book successfully studies how this caste-based social diversity gets translated into politics.

This is the first comprehensive study of the sociological profile of Indian political personnel at the state level. It examines the individual trajectory of 16 states, from the 1950s to 2000s, according to one dominant parameter--the evolution of the caste background of their elected representatives known as Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs. The study also takes into account other variables like occupation, gender, age and education.

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About the author (2021)

Christophe Jaffrelot is Director, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI); and Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He is the director of the quarterly journal Critique Internationale. His most recent publications are The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, 1925 to 1990s (1996); India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India (2003); and Dr. Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (2005). He has also co-edited (with T.B. Hansen), The BJP and the Compulsions of Politics in India (1998).

Sanjay Kumar is Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. His area of interest is electoral politics and speciality is survey research techniques. He was the National Coordinator for the three national surveys (National Election Study 1998, 1999 and 2004) conducted by the CSDS. He was also the country coordinator (India) for the 'State of Democracy in South Asia' (SDSA) study carried out in five South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal). He is the core team member of the Asian Barometer Survey led by Prof. Takashi Inoguchi of Cho University, Japan. He has authored various research reports, and contributed to various edited volumes, research journals and national newspapers.

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