Courtesy Reuters

Rarely has a country experienced so curious and kaleidoscopic a set of political changes as India since 1975. No one is very surprised when a developing nation turns authoritarian. The complexity of modernization itself seems sufficient explanation, if not justification. But a developing country whose authoritarian ruler reveals herself to be genuinely ambivalent about liberal and authoritarian strategies - who chooses to legitimize her position through an honest election and accepts her ensuing defeat with grace - deserves our attention.

When Indira Gandhi's Congress Party government was defeated in March by a loose coalition under the umbrella of the Janata Party,

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