Politics in India: Structure, Process and Policy (Paperback) book cover

Politics in India

Structure, Process and Policy

By Subrata K. Mitra

© 2011 – Routledge

266 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415585897
pub: 2010-10-27
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pub: 2010-11-01
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Providing a comprehensive analysis of the broad spectrum of India’s politics, this undergraduate textbook explains the key features of politics in India in a comparative and accessible narrative, illustrated with relevant maps, life stories, statistics and opinion data. Familiar concepts of comparative politics are used to highlight the policy process, with a focus on anti-poverty measures, liberalisation of the economy, nuclearisation and relations with the United States and Asian neighbours such as Pakistan and China.

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.


This is a superb, accessible, genuinely comparative account of India's political evolution. Subrata Mitra has managed to write a book that both introduces the novice to India and also engages the expert in a deep contemplation of the nature of strategic maneuvering within India's domestic and international political context. This is a book that every comparative politics scholar and student should read. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to read the manuscript.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, New York University and Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

This is an impressive manuscript, which will speak effectively to a variety of audiences. It draws on Professor Mitra’s own varied and distinguished research, as well as a close acquaintance with the scholarship on Indian politics, to create an original, even personal statement, yet one deeply grounded in the best scholarship of all kinds. It offers a compelling overview of a complex and fascinating political system, combining both breadth and depth.

G. Bingham Powell, Rochester University

Subrata Mitra is a well-known figure in the study of Indian politics and throughout his distinguished career he has explored new avenues of research. I strongly endorse the publication of this book and I can’t wait to recommend my students to use it.

Lawrence Saez, SOAS

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Modern Politics and Traditional Society in the Making of Indian Democracy 2. Pre-modern Pasts of Modern Politics: The Legacies of British Colonial Rule 3. From Homo Hierarchicus to Plural Society: The State and the Citizen in India 4. Strength with Democracy: Separation of Powers and the Imperative of Leadership 5. The Federal Structure: Balancing Unity and Diversity 6. The Articulation and Aggregation of Interests: India’s Two-Track Strategy 7. Economic Development and Social Justice 8. Engaging the World: Foreign Policy and Nation-Building in India 9. Conclusion: Some General Lessons of the Indian Case 10. Further Reading

About the Author

Subrata K. Mitra is Professor of Political Science at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany, and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. His publications include The Puzzle of India’s Governance (2005), (co-author) A Political and Economic Dictionary of South Asia (2006), Modern Politics of South Asia (5 volumes, 2008), Power, Protest and Participation (1992), all published by Routledge, and he is the series editor of the Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies series. He is currently engaged in a comparative study of democracy, marginality and empowerment.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies