Close
Saved Anthologies

Foreign Affairs Anthology Series

Best International Relations Books of 2013

Subscribe

All anthologies are free when you subscribe

Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy

In This Review

Transforming India: Challenges to the World's Largest Democracy
By Sumantra Bose
Harvard University Press, 2013
352 pp. $35.00
Purchase

Bose lucidly analyzes India’s “decentered democracy,” in which power lies increasingly with the state governments. Their authority grows partly out of the federal constitution, but more substantially, it is the result of the takeover since the 1990s of many state governments by political parties that are rooted in local ethnolinguistic communities and that owe little loyalty to New Delhi. As an example, Bose explores West Bengal, where the long-ruling Left Front coalition built a political machine dependent on landless rural voters, until it was supplanted by a local breakaway faction of the Indian National Congress. He also looks at two communities that are profoundly alienated from the political system: Kashmiri Muslims, who have conducted a long-running rebellion in the face of brutal repression, and tribal groups living in a band of forested districts in the east, where a Maoist (or Naxalite) insurgency has smoldered for decades. The willingness of most Indians to commit to multiple social identities has produced a distinctive form of democratic politics. In revealing both the violence and the vitality of India’s democracy, Bose sees the country’s future prosperity and stability as anything but assured.

Enjoy more high quality articles like this one.

Become a Subscriber

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles posted daily online and almost a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now

More Reviews on Asia and Pacific From This Issue

Browse All Capsule Reviews

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.

Continue