India - York University

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Transcript India - York University

March 16
India: Independence and Partition
Indian National Congress formed, 1885.
British massacre of unarmed protesters at Jallianwala Bagh, 1919.
Nonviolent resistance to British rule, led by Mohandas Gandhi
(assassinated 1948) and Jawaharlal Nehru, eventually brought
about independence in 1947.
Religious conflict led to the subcontinent's partition, and the creation
of two separate states, India and Pakistan.
The process of partition was violent (close to a million dead) and
involved massive migrations of people (more than 10 million
Since partition, India and Pakistan have engaged in repeated
conflict and generally remained in a state of political tension.
India: Independence and Partition
East Pakistan became Bangladesh in
 India and Pakistan both have nuclear
 The disputed territory of Kashmir remains
a flashpoint of conflict.
Independent India
Led by Nehru, India followed a statist economic
strategy, instituting a mixed economy (public and
private ownership) with heavy state involvement
and extensive protectionism against foreign
imports and investment (import-substitution
Nehru encouraged the growth of the nonaligned
movement of developing countries that sought to
maintain their independence from the two Cold
War superpowers.
The World’s Largest Democracy
India has maintained a democratic political
system since 1947.
 Indian society has 14 major languages
and is divided by religion and caste.
 Poverty and income equality remain a
significant challenge for the democratic
Religious Divisions
Vast majority of population is Hindu, over 80%.
Approximately 12% Muslim. Around 2% Sikh.
Conflict between Sikh minority and the national
government led to military invasion of the
Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine, in city of
Amritsar, Punjab, 1984. Indira Gandhi
assassinated. Widespread anti-Sikh violence.
Major outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence in 1992
and 2002.
Mumbai terrorist attacks, 2008.
Maoist Insurgents (Naxalites)
Since 1967 Maoist guerillas have been
waging a war against the Indian
 Currently, they are active across a wide
area of the country and the government
considers them to be a major threat to
national security.
Social Inequality
Caste system: the Indian constitution prohibits
caste discrimination. Yet, Indian society is
divided into various caste groupings.
Scheduled castes (including Dalits or
‘untouchables’) and scheduled tribes continue to
face discrimination particularly in rural areas.
A reservation system (affirmative action) is used
to advance lower caste members in higher
education, public employment and political
Social Inequality
Child labour: India has the world’s largest
population of child labour and has failed to
provide universal primary school education.
Gender discrimination: “Indian society favors
boys over girls, as evidenced by all social
indicators, from lower female literacy and
nutrition rates to lower survival of female versus
male infants” (Kohli and Basu: 2009: 171).
Economic Liberalization
Since 1980, Indian governments have
been liberalizing the economy, increasing
the role of the private sector and
embracing a pro-business, growth (rather
than redistribution) strategy.
 After 1991, this tendency accelerated and
involved opening up the Indian economy
to foreign investment and foreign goods.
Political Economy of India
Economic growth has averaged more than 7%
since 1997 (even growing 6.1 in 2009).
Just over 50% of the work force is in agriculture
but India has become a major exporter of
software services and software workers.
India has the 12th largest economy measured by
nominal GDP (China is third). Measured using
purchasing power parities (PPP), India has the
4th largest economy (China is second).
GDP/capita, however, India is 165th and China is
Source: CIA - The World Fact Book.
Party Politics in India
The Congress Party (Indian National Congress)
 is a centrist, secular party.
 dominated Indian politics over the period 19471989, being out of office only from 1977-80.
 It formed a minority government 1991-1996.
 Since 2004 (re-elected in 2009), the Congress
Party has led a coalition government (United
Progressive Alliance).
Congress Party dominance
The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty
 Jawaharlal Nehru 1947-1964
 Indira Gandhi 1966-1977, 1980-1984
 Rajiv Gandhi 1984-1989
Sonia Gandhi has been the president of the
Congress Party since 1998 and an MP since
[Rahul Gandhi has been an MP since 2004.]
Party Politics in India
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): Indian People’s
 is a conservative, Hindu nationalist party.
 formed the government briefly in 1996 and led a
coalition government (National Democratic
Alliance) from 1998 to 2004.
Party Politics
Since 1989, the political system has become quite fragmented.
The Congress Party lost its dominance.
No single party has been able to win a majority government.
The late 1990s were particularly unstable with elections in 1996, 98
and 99. After the 1996 election, there were 3 PMs in two years.
Since 1999, a new form of relative political stability has been created
through the growth of multi-party coalition governments. Stable
coalitions were formed after the 1999, 2004 and 2009 elections.
Manmohan Singh (who is a Sikh and a member of the upper house
of Parliament), has been the PM since 2004.
There are over 30 parties with representation in the 543 seat
Comparing Democracies
India, South Africa and Mexico are all
considered “electoral democracies” by Freedom
India and Mexico receive a 2 for political rights
and a 3 for civil liberties.
South Africa receives a 2 for political rights and a
2 for civil liberties.
All face difficulty of sustaining democracy (and
encouraging economic development) amid
significant inequality.