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Lecture 10

GS302 Lecture 10: GS302 Lesson 10 Politics and Democracy

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Global Studies
John Abraham

GS302 Lesson 10: Politics and Democracy India Indian National Congress  Gandhi’s political party  Pioneered with the Muslim League, the independence movement from British colonial government  Remains even today an extremely influential political party  1947-1977  Not really challenged for power (at least at the center, federally) Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)  Early leader  India’s first Prime Minister  From 1947-1964 (death) he really is the most formative influence on the party and on the country as a whole  Profile that we all recognize quickly – similar to Gandhi o Son of a wealthy family from northern India o Sent to England as a schoolboy to study at an elite boarding school there o Does a natural science degree at University of Cambridge – studies to be a barrister o Returns to India o After trying to practise law, he’s uninterested in the profession o Since his family’s extremely wealthy, he doesn’t need to make a living for himself o Dedicates himself to social causes  Becomes associated closely with Gandhi, as one of Gandhi’s chief protégées o While there’s a great deal of respect between the two men, they couldn’t be more dissimilar as to their worldviews Gandhi Nehru  Sees the future of his country as being  Global studies view one that has thrown off the shackles of  Government, state has to be the driver for colonial government and capitalism, and a country to develop, to create modern moves forward as a kind of village- infrastructure, modern institutions, vibrant centered utopia economy  Extremely influenced by romantic thinkers,  Very enamoured by science and critical of industrial revolution technology  Emphasized in his own personal lifestyle  Domestic affairs: emphasis for him is the and broader economic outlook modernization of the country, of the  A country composed of “village-republics” economy o Villages that are independent from  Creation of institutions in order to do this one another, self-reliant  He creates infrastructure plans (dams, o Produce all of the things that they highways) need to produce  Creates some of the most prestigious o Trade with each other as needed research centers and universities o No real role for a modern (institutions of higher learning) that are still developed state around today and have a great deal of influence  Modernizer  Vision of India is that of a modern state  Economic philosophy and foreign policy were quite distinctive (next couple of weeks)  With his death, there’s a bit of a vacuum that’s left behind, filled quickly by his daughter, Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi (1966)  Much like her father, is a very iconic and strong and forceful leader in the country  Head of Congress  Her father’s closest advisor – the Ivanka Trump of her time  Takes over Congress and PM 1966  Very formative PM  Most middle-class Indians of the time had a great deal of regard for her o Not a widely shared view  Within 3 years of her picking up the reins of the leadership of the party, there are divisions within Congress o Divisions were there anyway – broad amalgam of all kinds of people coming together initially in the movement for independence o 20 years after independence was achieved, some differences really start to show o One of these differences is that within Congress at the same time that you have socialists, you also have rich landowning families, wealthy industrialists, etc. o Not people who really have a common view o Wealthier families and industrialists take issue with Indira’s leadership  Congress breaks into two separate factions (first time in the country’s history)  New coalitions of political parties begin to form governments at the state level  These political parties are interesting because: o Congress is a national party – exists at the federal level in New Delhi, and also as a state political party at the state level o These new parties that start to increase profiles and coalition governments are “regional parties”: have a kind of political ideology and presence in one state, and not at all outside of that state Shiv Sena DMK Akali Dal  Maharashtra (Mumbai, Bombay)  Tamil  Punjab  Stays with Indira Nadu  Knowing that her base among the established elites is not very strong appeals to the socialist end of the spectrum for her own support  Important and significant for the political and economic future of the country  From 1960s onwards until 1990 this is a country that pursues a very explicitly socialist political and economic trajectory  For political reasons  They wanted more distinct identity for themselves, their language, their cultural history  This is the part of the country where the Maratha Empire had its base  The Shiv Sena identity is very much tied into that history  Start agitating around the fact that in Mumbai (cosmopolitan city) you have people from all over the country congregating, communities from everywhere speaking non-local language, engage in non-local cultural practises, and this annoys them greatly  They become quite significant political force  Start willing elections by 1990s  There is no Shiv Sena outside of Maharashtra land  Almost every state has its own regional political party  Once you have to form a government, all these regional parties that have won these elections have to get together and form a coalition – messy democratic process 1975  Only time in the 70 years of the Indian republic that democracy is suspended  Indira is becoming increasingly frustrated by the fact that her authority is being challenged (within her party and by these new regional parties)  1975 court finds that she’s engaged in electoral malpractice – ask her to step down, and she’s suspended for 6 years from political office  She doesn’t comply with the wishes of the court, and instead declares a state of emergency  Leaders of these other political parties are arrested, press freedoms are suspended for 2 years  Interesting situation where a PM is going around arresting people who are the associates of her father, who helped her country, who are her own personal friends and associates  2 years later she declares an election and she loses quite badly – electorate is punishing her for suspending the country’s democracy 1977  Coalition of parties (Janata Party 1977-80) rule the country until they lose an election  Minority government  Lose in 1980 to Indira Gandhi Assassination 1984  Indira assassinated by her own bodyguards  Experience of the emergency is not something that taught or gave her a sense of decorum around what she can and can’t do as PM of a democratic country  She’s assassinated because in the 1980s she actually orders an attack on the Sikh Golden Temple of Amritsar in Punjab o She orders to meet the threat of domestic terrorism o She supports an extremist faction in Punjab, which becomes independent and gives her and Congress trouble o She decided to be strong-armed about this o People within the faction take refuge within Sikh holy shrine o Indira orders the military to attack the shrine and arrest or kill these people o This is an act of religious sacrilege  Assassinated as an act of revenge for this act Congress back in power  Out of sympathy for the fact that she was assassinated, Congress comes back to power and forms 2 successive governments  Significant for the economy of the country (next lesson)  1990 under a Congress government, the country decides to abandon its socialist economic model  Opens up the economy to investment and institutes free market policies (next lesson) Mandal and Mandir  Significant political themes  Really centered around political developments in the 1980s Mandal Mandir  Caste Foundational event: Babri Majid, Ayodhya  Politically, caste is extremely significant  During the independence movement, as Gandhi is mobilizing to  Destruction of a create support in opposition to the British colonial government, he mosque Ayodhya has to also raise support among people within the country who are  Name of the considered lower castes historic kingdom of the Ramayana  Scheduled Caste (SC); Other Backwards Castes (OBC) o Legal language around which these groups are identified (Prince Ram) in the country today  People in the o Constitution talks about them like this movement believe that this city is the literal one in which B. R. Ambedkar (1891-56) the deity Ram was  Leader of the lower castes during the independence movement  Mobilizes to create representation for them born  He is a remarkable figure, much like Gandhi and Nehru  Ayodhya mosque  Has a foreign education (went to Columbia University in NYC, gets was built by a general of the PhD there, moves to London gets another PhD, studies law and Mughal emperor returns to India as a professor and barrister) Babhar in the  Someone with this kind of low caste background  Despite returning to the country with qualifications, he has to 1560s as they are endure all kinds of humiliations for the fact that he has this entering India (he comes through the particular cultural background town, builds the  Becomes a leader and mobilizes for these castes during the Babri Masjid independence movement mosque)  Greatly pains Gandhi  Makes a proposal very similar to Jinnah’s  Claim that this general had come o People from these castes should actually have separate across a holy site electorates as well (like Jinnah thought for Muslims and to the Hindu Sikhs) tradition, and he  Pune Pact: meeting with Gandhi braised it to the o Ambedkar agreed to drop the demand for separate ground and in an act of victory, electorates o In exchange for certain rights and guarantees that his erected a mosque community can have in a newly independent country over it  1950 when country is creating its constitution, Ambedkar is  1992 mosque is a entrusted with the composition of the constitution – he frames the rallying point for campaigns of constitution of the Republic of India Hindu nationalist  Constitution Article 14: discussion around the country doing everything that it can to further and to improve the prospects of movement people from the SC (lowest-tier in the caste hierarchy)  Campaigns to  Ambedkar was from an SC community raise funds for the political party  This becomes part of India’s constitution  Cause for which Mandal Commission they’re going from  The SCs had provisions in the constitution town to town  But the OBCs were a grey area – didn’t have provisions in the raising funds to constitution, were left out rebuilt this temple  By 1990s they  It’s defined who they are, but doesn’t go further than that have enough  Idea is that when the time is right, they’ll revisit the status and funds to get this prospects for OBCs  Significant: 1979 under the Janata party government (Congress), started, very anxious to get this isn’t an issue that comes up, but the coalition government moving, to make a institutes a commission to start studying the condition of these political push for OBCs power  One practise from the framing of the constitution was that SC had  1992 a group of guaranteed reservations in various institutions in the country – set amount of seats at public universities, government jobs, etc. people from various Hindu guaranteed for SC people nationalist o Very strong, positive program of affirmative action that associations begins in the 1950s (youth groups) o Addresses the SCs, but not the OBCs Dec. 6 break from  Within 5 years, Mandal commission comes up with the barriers that recommendations that OBCs should have similar reservations in police have place in order to better their prospects as well erected to protect  Eventually position that 40-60% of university positions and places the site, and within for students and public sector jobs are reserved for people from a few hours they the SCs
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