Social Scientist. v 21, no. 240-41 (May-June 1993) p. 25.

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Cohesion, Conflicts and Contradictions within the Indian State

The collapse of Soviet Russia and the East European Socialist state-systems and many developments within India demand a close investigation about the premises of the modern state systems. It has been maintained that legitimacy and ideological hegemony are essential for the maintenance of the state-systems. The modern states in the capitalist countries have evolved institutional arrangements for governance which are sustained and renewed by democratic mechanisms of legitimacy and ideological hegemony of capitalism. The critics in the western countries are expressing their concern about the weakening of democratic legitimacy because of lack of popular participation of the voters in elections.

Carole Jean Uplancr in 'Electoral Participation: Summing up a Decade* observes:

'Participation in American elections has declined over the last thirty years. Form a twentieth-century peak of 62.8 per cent in 1960, turnout in presidential elections fell to 52.6 per cent in 1980. Although this long-term decline reversed slightly in 1984, it then continued, with just 50.15 per cent of the voting age population voting in 1988. The net effect has been that in the decade of the eighties voting participation appears to have slid to a low plateau, but may not have bottomed out'.1

The defenders of the western capitalist state-systems have suggested that instead of ideological hegemony, the western societies have witnessed social transformations leading to the 'end of ideology' (Daniel Bell). The old social divisions and cleavages in the western societies have been replaced by the convergence of interests which is reflected in the politics of consensus among major political formations of these societies. This development has made state-systems quite cohesive internally and mechanisms of conflict resolution are effective

Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Social Scientist, Vol. 21, Nos. 5-6, May-June, 1993

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