Social Scientist. v 8, no. 86 (Sept 1979) p. 62.


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On Indian Politics

W H MORRIS JONES, POLITICS MAINLY INDIAN, Orient Longman, Madras, 1978, pp 392, Rs 60.

IN this collection of articles relating to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the author, Morris Jones, who has been "looking at politics with special reference to India for thirty years3', deals with issues relating to the nature of the party system in India, the functioning and performance of democracy in India, and its dynamism. There are also some stray thoughts on Gandhi as a political philosopher and an assessment of Jayaprakash Narayan's ideas in a chapter entitled "The Unhappy Philosopher—JP in Wonderland".

The articles included in the volume were published in the 1960s and 1970s. Yet they are important in many respects; they represent an approach to Indian politics which has many adherents in India and in the West. Morris Jones was one of the first to distinguish one party states of the African variety from the dominant party system existing in India. The Indian party, he vigorously argued, did not pose a treat to democracy because the Congress exercised dominance without suppressing dissent.

These views were shared by many political scientists, including Rajni Kothari. It was in the early sixties that Rajni Kothari and Morris Jones moved independently towards the concept of the "Congress system" to explain the nature of party relations in India. In 1966, Morris Jones wrote that India had achieved political stability "with the establishment of a free and freely moving political system". In the election results of 1967 he found more evidence to confirm both India's democratic credentials and the strength of its political system. Unlike many "unsympathetic observers" he saw no evidence of an imminent collapse of the



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