Politics of India

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The Politics of India works within the framework of the country's constitution. India is a parliamentary secular democratic republic in which the President of India is the head of state and the Prime Minister of India is the head of government.


  • If your vote becomes a cause of your death or property destruction, if it leads to arson, then that signals the end of democracy.
    • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar,May 10, 2021 [1]
  • Historical powerful forces have attempted to restrict democracy to a set of strictly procedural routines for governance and legislation, but once in motion, democratic procedures have over time tended to remold the very form in which a society represents and imagines itself, its institutions and its history. It is my contention that the history of Indian democracy may be fruitfully interpreted in these terms as a gradual and circumscribed questioning of hierarchies and authority, spreading from the political field to other realms in society. As the political field acquired even more prominence due to the weight of the developmental state in all spheres of society in the 1970s, a new political culture marked by "political entrepreneurship" emerged. This gave rise to a new construction of politics as an "amoral vocation," a construction that reflected a widespread discomfort with the proliferating populist techniques of political mobilization and governance, and a disapproval of the new breed of public figures from modest social backgrounds who used their language, manners, and social background to consolidate mass followings. In the face of this "plebeianization" of the political field, sections of the educated urban middle classes and upper-caste groups began to denounce the political vocation, question the legitimacy of the state and discard the principles of democracy and secularism. For decades democracy and secularism meant protection and extension of social privileges to the educated Hindu middle classes, and condescending paternalism vis-à-vis lower-caste groups and minorities. However, as it became clear that political democracy was slowly giving birth to this new and unfamiliar form of society, the "softness" of the secular state became the target of the Hindu nationalist critique of a "pseudo secularism" that was "pampering minorities." Anti-democratic attitudes are today widespread in the same urban middle class in India that for years was regarded as the bedrock of political democracy in the country, and the backbone of the nation. Hindu nationalism emerged successfully in the political field in the 1980s as a kind of "conservative populism" that mainly attracted more privileged groups who feared encroachment on their dominant positions, but also "plebeian" and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a majoritarian rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength.
  • When I heard Aung San Suu Kyi's address to both houses of Britian's Parliament in Westminster hall last week, what impressed me was the clarity with which she spelt out her vision for her country. But, throughout her speech, something kept bothering me and by the time she finished, I discovered what it was. What bothered me was that I could not think of a single Indian leader who could make such a speech. The Indian political landscape today has become a desert in which only the stunted progeny of stunted political leaders bloom. We need our political parties to throw up real leaders and we need a political discourse in which real political problems are discussed.
  • We, the Indians, as Guru of the Nations: yes, I believe in that. We can be—or once more become— the hope of mankind. But that requires efforts and courage to be ourselves culturally. Unfortunately, we live in an age of political dwarfs, political managers without vision or courage. But their time is running out.
    • Prime Minister Vajpayee interviewed by Erich Follath and Tiziano Terzani: “Guru der Nationen”, Der Spiegel, 1996/19, p. 163. quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p.168
  • The political atmosphere in Bengal has been vitiated. Every death is unfortunate. But no one talks about the 140 plus BJP workers killed in Bengal. Not a day goes when our workers are not attacked. I am a star in Bengali films. But as a BJP worker, I fear for my life. I overcome that fear every day and step out to meet people as I want to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Sonar Bangla... They [artists and intellectuals] will not have to live in fear as they do currently under Mamata Banerjee’s reign.
  • The Hindus are so divided and so foolishly selfish that their majority does not count in actual politics. The atmosphere can clear only after a thunderstorm— after showers of blood.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, quoted in Letter on 14 August 1931 to Padam Bhushan Dr. G. S. Sardesai [3] [4]

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