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Week 3: “Indira is India, India is Indira” Lecture 6 Prof Prerna Singh.

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Presentation on theme: "Week 3: “Indira is India, India is Indira” Lecture 6 Prof Prerna Singh."— Presentation transcript:

1 Week 3: “Indira is India, India is Indira” Lecture 6 Prof Prerna Singh

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3  Foreign: ◦ War with Pakistan (1965)

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5  Foreign: ◦ War with Pakistan (1965)  Domestic: ◦ Question of National Language

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7  Foreign: ◦ War with Pakistan (1965)  Domestic: ◦ Question of National Language ◦ Problem of Food Shortages

8 Lal Bahadur Shastri, Prime Minister of India,

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10  Vote getter  Could be controlled Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, ,

11  Forged direct link with masses  Populist “socialist” initiatives  Split the Congress Party ◦ Congress (Indira)

12  Establishment of powerful connection with the masses  Drive towards personalization and centralization of power

13  Highly Controversial Figure  Savior of the Masses or  Tyrannical Villain  Amma or  ‘Nazi Priestess’

14 Common Scholarly Assessment:  Deinstitutionalizing India ◦ Weakening Congress party, bureaucracy and other institutions ◦ Undermining Indian democracy Revisionist Assessment:  Situated Mrs Gandhi’s problems in the context of the number and magnitude of the problems

15  Was Mrs Gandhi more a cause or consequence of the personalization and deinstitutionalization of the Indian polity?

16 Ashis Nandy: Psychoanalysis of Indira, as a politician and Indian society

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19  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith  Rise of Post-Independence generation  Cracks in the Nehruvian edifice are beginning to show  Humiliating defeat in Sino-Indian War  Low economic growth  Agricultural Problem  High poverty  Abysmal social services  Vast numbers of illiterate, rural, disgruntled poor  Land grab programs  Rise of Revolutionary Class Movements

20  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith ◦ Idea that India needed Realpolitik  Against Gandhi, Nehru  “Pure Politics”  Gandhi as an aberration  Tough politics for Tough Times  Middle classes and intelligentsia cheered her on as a “real leader”

21  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith ◦ Idea that India needed Realpolitik ◦ Middle class fear of Chaos and Disorder  Economic problems  Lack of growth  Corruption  Social Unrest  Protests, Strikes, Riots, bandhs

22  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith ◦ Idea that India needed Realpolitik ◦ Middle class fear of Chaos and Disorder ◦ Idea of a plural, democratic society was losing its appeal

23  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith ◦ Idea that India needed Realpolitik ◦ Middle class fear of Chaos and Disorder ◦ Idea of a plural, democratic society was losing its appeal  Economic interests over civil liberties

24  Product of Four Intellectual Currents: ◦ Crisis of National Faith ◦ Idea that India needed Realpolitik ◦ Middle class fear of Chaos and Disorder ◦ Idea of a plural, democratic society was losing its appeal

25  Samuel Huntington (1968):  Importance of political institutions, esp political parties  Social mobilization in the absence of strong political parties leads to political instability

26  Personalization and deinstitutionalization of Congress and other institutions  Personalization and Deinstitutionalization had begun before Mrs Gandhi  Inherited weak, faction-ridden Congress +  Economic distress  Socio-political Mobilization = Crisis of Governability

27  …product of the situation BUT  greatly aggravated situation

28 Established direct link with voters BUT Undermined the party Made electoral promises BUT Party not strong enough to fulfill these promises

29  Populist “socialist” initiatives:  Nationalization of banks  Abolition of privy purses  BUT left untouched:  Poverty  Provision of essential social services  Land redistribution

30  Party  Abandoned even nominal intra-party democracy  Made state party structures subservient to central high command  Appointed key functionaries  Promoted “yes men”  State Institutions:  Civil Service  Judiciary  Parliament  Constitution

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