Social Scientist. v 7, no. 75 (Oct 1978) p. 80.


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RAJNI KOTHARI, DEMOCRATIC POLITY AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN INDIA, Allied Publishers, Bombay, 1977.

RAJNI KOTHARFS Democratic Polity and Social Change in India is different in many respects from his earlier work on Indian politics. He does not, for example, subscribe to the concensual model he had outlined in Politics in India. Rather, he considers the crisis in the Indian political system and, more significantly, entertains the possibility of social transformation. The roots of the crisis, according to him, lie in the realm of politics. He therefore highlights the key role of the Indian political system which in a ^developing society provides the dominant ethos to the way different segments are ordered and interrelated" (p6).

In the second chapter Kothari does well to analyse certain trends in Indian politics which led to the assertion of 'state politics^ as opposed to ^national polities' in the post-Nehru era and also to the centralization of power introduced by Mrs Gandhi. This prevented the diffusion of power to the lower levels of polity, partly because power was personalized and not institutionalized and partly because no attempt was made to modify the Westminister model to suit Indian conditions (p 31). He also emphasises the evils of centralization in the economic sphere, which has far-reaching implications for distributive justice. The process of democratization and dispersal of economic justice was stymied by the emergence of powerful interests. This was ^largely an outcome of the model of development (adopted in the late fifties) which emphasised urban-based industrialization... through heavy doses of capital-based technology...", leading to the dominance of the administrative system (which) ^undermined the Congress party and the electoral processes and functioning of democracy at lower levels of the polity" (p 32).

The general thrust of Kothari^s argument is that the present economic crisis is the result of the inadequacy of the present political



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