India’s growing economic and socio-political importance on the global stage has triggered an increased interest in the country. This Handbook is a reference guide, which surveys the current state of Indian politics and provides a basic understanding of the ways in which the world’s largest democracy functions.
The Handbook is structured around four main topics: political change, political economy, the diversity of regional development, and the changing role of India in the world. Chapters examine how and why democracy in India put down firm roots, but also why the quality of governance offered by India’s democracy continues to be low. The acceleration of economic growth since the mid-1980s is discussed, and the Handbook goes on to look at the political and economic changes in selected states, and how progress across Indian states continues to be uneven. It concludes by touching on the issue of India’s international relations, both in South Asia and the wider world.
The Handbook offers an invigorating initiation into the seemingly daunting and complex terrain of Indian politics. It is an invaluable resource for academics, researchers, policy analysts, graduate and undergraduate students studying Indian politics.
This coedited handbook navigates major themes of Indian history to explain Indian politics, political-economy, regional development, and India’s role in international relations. The analysis in part 1 covers the context of India’s colonization; key Indian leaders and their legacies; the dynamics of India’s political institutions centering on democracy, centralization-decentralization, ideologies of nationalism, secularism, and Hindu fundamentalism; and the "politics of empowerment" within India’s lower caste system. In part 2 contributors address India’s political economy, namely, its shift from a "reluctant" to an "enthusiastic" pro-capitalist state, and assert that this shift (evidenced in a "state-capital alliance" and the growing power of business groups) leaves much to be done in the areas of poverty removal, land redistribution, primary education, and public health. Part 3 addresses the diversity of India’s regional development involving roles of some "neo-patrimonial" governments and "authority structures" in this process. Part 4 analyzes India’s role in the regional and world arena (including international migration and its consequences for India) through the lens of India’s colonial past, nationalist, and world visions—which are also being shaped by ideational and structural factors of strategic interdependence. In pointing to new directions of thinking and research in these contexts, the handbook shows how power distribution in the society is constantly being negotiated and renegotiated.
--R. Das, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
1. Introduction: Politics in India Atul Kohli and Prerna Singh Part 1: Political Change 2. The Historical Inheritance of India’s Democracy Maya Tudor 3. Gandhi’s India, the World’s Gandhi; Gandhi at Home and in the World Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph 4. Nehru and his legacy Jivanta Schoettli 5. India’s Minority Leaders Niraja Gopal Jayal 6. Panchayati Raj Institutions Rani Dayal Mullen 7. The Changing Fortunes of the Bharatiya Janata Party Amrita Basu 8. Regional and Caste parties Suhas Palshikar 9. Caste and Political Parties in India: Do Indians vote their caste – while casting their vote? Christophe Jaffrelot 10. Dalit Politics: Untouchability, Identity and Assertion Hugo Gorringe 11. Class Politics in India: Euphemization, Voting, and Power Ron Herring 12. Reservations Gurpreet Mahajan 13. The State and Civil Society in Communal Violence: Sparks and Fires Ashutosh Varshney and Joshua Gubler 14. Insurgencies in India Paul Staniland 15. People’s Movements in India Jennifer Bussell Part 2: Political Economy 16. India’s economic development Nagaraj Rayaprolu 17. The State and the Capitalist Class in India Vivek Chibber 18. Politics and Redistribution in India John Harriss 19. Corruption in India Stuart Corbridge 20. Public goods provision and social development in India Prerna Singh 21. Labor Regulation, Trade Unions and Unemployment Emmanuel Teitelbaum Part 3: Diversity of Regional Developments 22. Uttar Pradesh: New Patterns of Mobilization in the 1990s and Beyond Sudha Pai 23. Kerala in Comparative Perspective: Movements, Politics and Democracy Patrick Heller 24. Tamil Nadu Adam Ziegfeld 25. West Bengal Manali Desai 26. Bihar Jeffrey Witsoe Part 4: India and the World 27. India and the World: The Vicissitudes of Mutual Adjustment Baldev Raj Nayar 28. India in Asia: Geostrategic and economic considerations Lawrence Saez 29. The Indo-Pakistani Conflict Sumit Ganguly 30. India and Nuclear Weapons Kanti Bajpai 31. India's evolving security strategy Vipin Narang 32. International Migration and its consequences for India Devesh Kapur