India

India: The Most Dangerous Decades

SELIG S. HARRISON
Copyright Date: 1960
Pages: 362
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt183q2cm
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    India
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    The book description for "India" is currently unavailable.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7780-5
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. ix-2)
  3. I. THE POLITICS OF NATIONAL SURVIVAL (pp. 3-11)

    “India,” warns one of her leaders, “stands the risk of being split up into a number of totalitarian small nationalities.”¹

    “The future is in the hands of the gods,” writes another, “but as far as I can judge, the centrifugal forces will ultimately prevail, and . . . the nation may be compelled to go through a period of political anarchy and face the risk of fascism, which is Nature’s way out of disorder and misrule.”²

    When, in 1957, anxieties so often expressed in private could be committed to print, India had passed almost unnoticed from a remarkable Decade of...

  4. II. PAST AND FUTURE (pp. 12-54)

    Two social psychologists, one Indian and one American, studied two separate groups of Indians in 1953 and arrived at the same measure of the challenge to Indian nationalism. The Indian study showed that in Marathi-speaking Poona university stu dents and slum housewives volunteered the very same adjectives, as often as not derogatory, when asked to characterize other regional groups. Tamils were, among other things, “dark”; Gujaratis, “fat” and “spineless.”¹ In the Hindi center of Lucknow the American researcher encountered similar regional stereotypes: he discovered, moreover, that the stereotypes applied by university students to other regions of India were more consistent...

  5. Maps (pp. None)
  6. III. THE NEW REGIONAL ELITES (pp. 55-95)

    The upsurge of the regional languages radically distinguishes the India now emerging from the India of the past two thousand years. In the past the diversity of emergent regions did not undermine a pan-Indian cultural unity because the regions never challenged the cultural monopoly of a cosmopolitan Brahman elite. Sanskrit spanned all regions: the Hindu classics written in Sanskrit served as a common fount for regional cultural expression, which was most often a popularized variation on pervasive Sanskritic themes. This dominance of Sanskrit and of a national Brahman elite was as complete as the corresponding cultural and political quiescence of...

  7. IV. THE NEW CASTE LOBBIES (pp. 96-136)

    The equation between Hindu unity and Indian unity is the facile first answer to all doubts about the future of the Union. Hindu unity, it is said, pervades all regional differences; Hindu society is a national society. But if the common identity of all Hindus in a non-Hindu world gives validity to Indian nationalism in its world setting, this vaunted unity is vulnerable, at the same time, to powerful regional stresses on its home ground. The most powerful centrifugal stresses threatening Indian unity are unmistakably resident within the Hindu social order. With its complex interaction of centrifugal and centripetal forces,...

  8. V. INDIAN COMMUNISM: THE GRAND STRATEGY (pp. 137-177)

    History will answer whether India’s uniquely fragmented so cial order—divided first into linguistic regions and then at right angles into regional castes—was made to order for Communist exploitation or made to confound hopelessly the Marxist-Leninist scriptures. For their part the Indian Communists have proceeded on the assumption that social divisions are made to be exploited. Like all parties the Communists in any given region have either claimed the chauvinism of region and caste as their own or have lost out to others who have harnessed this elemental force stronger than party or ideology. But unlike other parties, the...

  9. VI. INDIAN COMMUNISM: WHERE STRATEGY SUCCEEDED (pp. 178-245)

    Conceivably, Indian Communism will in time yield up pan-Indian leadership so dynamic, so cohesive, that the future Indian political alignment will bear only slight resemblance to the past. But if the past is any guide, Indian Communism will not, by itself, provide a pan-Indian alternative to the Congress Party. Indian Communism is a loose federation of regional units that have succeeded, where they have in fact succeeded, only on regional ground. The uneven pattern of Communist strength corresponds to the pattern of Communist identification with regional forces. The pattern of failure, too, corresponds to regions in which rivals have monopolized...

  10. VII. THE STRESSES OF INDIAN POLITICS (pp. 246-318)

    Will India develop as a strong centrally directed political whole, or will she, under the stresses of regionalism, become a congeries of loosely federated states?

    To predict the future of the Union is, in effect, to predict the shape that Indian leaders will give to their political institutions in the coming decades. But it is not clear what kind of political institutions will assure what results. Under the present Indian Constitution, each state elects its own legislature. While Nehru’s Congress Party survived the first general elections with control of all states, the Communists took power in Kerala for two years,...

  11. VIII. THE MOST DANGEROUS DECADES (pp. 319-340)

    Once, recalls Nehru, when a crowd of villagers shouted the inevitableBharat Mata Ki Jai!—Victory to Mother India!—he conducted an unpremeditated experiment in the semantics of nationalism. “Who,” he asked, “is this Mata you salute?”Dharti—the earth—responded the villagers. “Whose earth? Your village earth? Your province? India? The world?”¹ The villagers were, of course, struck dumb, a fact of little consequence in itself but all too symbolic of the larger inability of India as a whole to discover a coherent nationalism. The Indian who shouted anti-British slogans during the movement for Independence and who now shouts...

  12. INDEX (pp. 341-350)

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