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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Approaches to Indian State

-There are two prominent approaches-Liberal/Marxist.

-In addition,the Gandhian approaches are also prominent

-Liberal approaches-

-Focuses on institutions and processes to understand state and political power in India.
-State is central instrument of social progress and politics principal agent of transformation
Institutionalization of politics and system model is applied.

Gunnar Myrdal criticized inability of state to meet system requirements and dubbed institutional model of Indian state as “soft state”-signifies limit of public power ,the state’s inability to enforce public policies to eradicate poverty or to enforce laws.
-it focuses on functional aspects of state,but failed to answer significant changes since 1960s,
-so two approaches developed-state centric/society centric.
Society centric-focuses on social change,to study zamindari abolition,garibi hatao,mandalisation,
By 1980s renewed state centric approach developed,foreground more autonomy to srtate,state is not an agent of classes rather it functions independent of classes

-Political economy approach

Liyod and Susanne Rudolph analyses state in terms of conflict b/w

demand polity –in which societal demands expressed as electoral pressure dominate over society
And a command polity where state hegemony dominate over society
The argument rests over state’s role as “third actor” along with capital and labour

-Marxist approaches-

Class formation,class configuration and class action are central elements in understanding state.
-two points are important-bourgeois dominance of state is not reflected in the bourgeois dominance of society/capitalist control is exercised through a class coalition,a coalition strategy is condition of dominance.
By 1970s after shifting emergency ,relative autonomy of state particularly inability of bourgeois in instituting its hegemony over civil society
Its core argument is Indian democracy is bourgeois because its led by Gandhi led Congress which put hegemony over subaltern with out frontally confronting them.

-Ganhian approaches to Indian state

-Gandhi’s views on Indian state was a reflection of the cultural and historical ethos of Indian civilization
-Gandhi rejected all powerful state
-a government which governed the least
-Gandhian position was in line with much of post-Mauryan Hindu thought
Artha sastra accords higher power to state
-Post mourya thought especially those of Asoka transformed the mouryan state machinery
-the position evolved is that in conflicts between dharma and artha were to be resolved in favour of dharma.
-caste system developed in b/w mourya actually eroded Indian dynasties and were susceptible to foreign invasions
-The replacement of Hindu rule first by Muslim and then by British rule probably reinforced this conceptual distancing from the state. What is then remarkable is that while Mahatma Gandhi opposed the British raj he also inherited this suspicion of the power of the state which had become ingrained by now in the Hindu mind.
-The appreciation of the power of the state did not come as a reaction to the West but was in fact the result of the action of the West itself
-In this context it is crucial to distinguish between the positions of Marx and Lenin. Marx visualized the withering away of the state , a scenario Gandhi would have applauded. But Lenin by introducing the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat assigned a key role to state power. In this Nehru was a follower of Lenin. Thus it was Nehru who was recognized the significance of the power of the state and not just of the state but a strong central state. In fact one of the reasons he gave for accepting partition is that the constitutional arrangements for an undivided India would have left India with a weak central government.
-Gandhi’s political and moral thought is based upon a simple metaphysics. For him the universe is regulated by a supreme intelligence or the principle which he called TRUTH or GOD. It is embodied in all living beings and above all in Man, in the form of as self conscious soul or spirit. The spirit constitutes man’s essence. Since all men have a share in the divine essence, they are ultimately one. They are not merely equal but also identical. Since they have a spark of divinity in them, man is inherently good and the discovery and cultivation of this goodness is man’s purpose in this earthly life – a realization of true self through self discipline and ahimsa. In other words there is not only the perfectibility of the human self, but also an inherent urge in man to achieve it. The social and political life of man ought to be guided by the knowledge and the light of that goodness or virtue. In search of this goodness and truth, the knowledge and acceptance of evils — whether social, economic or political – and correcting and curing them were the challenges to the creative best of man. It is this context that his view on Indian social structure, religion, untouchability, property, industrialization, politics or state can be understood.
Criticism of the Modern State Like many other Indian leaders, Gandhi had great difficulty in accepting the modern and liberal capitalist state. He took great pains to point out the imperfections and dangers of modern state and sought to cut it to size by propounding a social theory where the state largely loses its deceptive luster and turns into a necessity. He did not consider the state more than a mechanical arrangement superimposed on the nation. It was impersonal, ruling by rules, functioning more or less like a machine with no human beings apparently in charge of it or accepting responsibility for its action. He viewed the power of the state not as an end in itself but as one of...


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