India and Democracy : Promotion and Electoral Participation of the Low Castes and of the Untouchables

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Globalization and democratic governance|
India and democracy : promotion and electoral participation of the low castes and of the Untouchables.| |
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Semester one – 2012|
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Table of contents
Introduction: India and the system of castes.2
I)The promotion of the low castes and the untouchables within the Indian political system: a "Silent revolution".4
1)The processes of positive discrimination towards the untouchables: a political and social promotion at first limited which does not question the domination of elites.5
2)The difficult expansion of the measures of positive discrimination towards the other low castes.8
3)The advent of the caste inside the Indian political system and the effective promotion of the low castes and the untouchables.10
II)The political and electoral participation of the low castes and the untouchables: general elements and case study.13
1)The vote of the low castes and the untouchables or the necessity to overstep the illiteracy.13
2)The electoral participation of the low castes and the untouchables: a community vote?15
3)Case study: Kumari Mayawati and the political participation of the low castes and the untouchables.17
Conclusion: The future of the low castes and the untouchables in India.19
Bibliography:20

Introduction: India and the system of castes.

Nowadays, India is a country internationally recognized for the quality and the health of its democracy. India is indeed a democracy endowed with a stable parliamentary system for more than half a century and even a democracy with alternating for more than twenty five years. Besides, the justice is there independent, the political parties tend to pluralism and the press is free. India thus verifies for more than sixty years essential criteria of democracy, what makes it a unique case among developing countries. However, if the effective political democratization of India can’t be denied, the social democratization is far from being reached. India knows significant inequalities and an endemic poverty. Thus, we can already observe that India appears as a major counter-example of the developmentalist theories. The developmentalist vision, promoted by Seymour Martin Lipset is indeed one of the older theories of democracy which subordinates the establishment of this political regime to the realization of certain socioeconomic conditions. This theory makes depend the establishment of the democracy on the economy, what can be explained by its context of emergence (1950s and the neocolonialist climate when researchers thought that democracy wasn’t implantable outside of the West). It is based on a general idea: there is a direct relationship between the growth of a diversified and competitive economy and the political change. The countries which would not know an important economic growth could not reach democracy. India contradicts so the developmentalist theories because it is an important democracy (India tends besides to define itself as the ‘’largest democracy of the world’’) in spite of its underdevelopment and its strong level of poverty. This unique aspect of the Indian democracy shows us that the construction of its democratic regime was established in particular conditions, specific to its social and historic path. So we can wonder about the main factors which allowed the emergence and establishment of democracy in India.

Christophe Jaffrelot, specialist of India and researcher to the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research) and to the CERI-Sciences-po, explains that two kinds of factors are to take into account: firstly the colonial factor and then internal factors that is cultural and sociological factors. To begin with, the inheritance of the British colonial system was a decisive factor for the emergence and the establishment of the Indian democracy. From the 19th century, the British aim for reproducing their political system in India by setting up...
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