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Satyagraha and Democracy

Satyagraha and Democracy Arun Shourie IT has become the custom nowadays for some to assert that direct action in the form of satyagraha does not have any place in a democracy, I take it that even those who make this assertion allow that satyagraha is legitimate in a dictatorship: Almost by definition a dictator would have choked up all the channels through which the people might have their voice heard and so, unless one asserts that the people have no right at all to . press their views, one must recognise the legitimacy of satyagraha in that situation.

ASSAM-No Walk-Over

declared that unless it is given four seats it will withdraw support to the alliance parties in all other constituencies. It is, however, expected, that this bravado will soon yield to pragmatism and the party might agree to contest only three seats, licking its wounds.


Week to Week Romesh Thapar TICKING AGAIN YES, the country is ticking again. The fear is slowly lifting. Eighteen months of government by order, official and unofficial, legal and illegal, have taken their toll No one is the same. And there can be no going back. But a certain continuity in the democratic process has been restored by Indira Gandhi's decision to face an election. The election may be unfair. It may be rigged. Nevertheless the next eight weeks are bound to be eventful, and will profoundly influence the future of some 600 millions.

Elections under Emergency

Elections under Emergency S V Kogekar WELCOME as the decision to hold elections to the Lok Sabha is, the democratic process which finds its most visible expression in a general election is under considerable constraint on account of the continuance of the emergency. The fundamental rights to civil liberties are still under suspension and the doors of the courts to secure their enforcement remain closed. Press censorship has been relaxed and election meetings can be held without special permission from the guardians of law and order and to that extent the rigour of the emergency has, no doubt, been reduced. But the government is still armed with all the extraordinary powers secured since the declaration of emergency and it is entirely a matter of its discretion, whether and to what extent to use those powers. The recent statement from on high that the current rise in prices is due to increased indiscipline consequent on the relaxation of emergency restrictions

NEW DELHI-Redefining Poverty

tice all those who wish to secure it; and in doing so, as a practical reformer, I have not hesitated to take in those, who I know are actuated by hatred. Even the latter are entitled to justice " He went on to say that, so long as they remained non-violent, they would be fit soldiers of his movement (Young India, February 16, 1921). Thus, the right to bring the rulers to book by direct action is a basic human right, it is not contingent upon virtue; it is certainly not contingent upon obtaining certificates of virtue from the rulers.

NORTH-Changed Situation

NORTH Changed Situation THE 1971 Lok Sabha elections in Punjab were, to all intents and purposes, a one-sided affair, with the Congress winning 10 of the 13 Lok Sabha seats, its close electoral ally, the CPI, capturing two and the Akalis

TAMIL NADU-Election Parole

TAMIL NADU Election Parole THE nation is on election parole and the changes are as visible in Tamil N'adu as elsewhere in the country. Some familiar sights have returned: street walls plastered with catchy slogans and party symbols, public rallies and table-thumping speeches and vehicles speeding up and down with party flags. Processions and demonstrations are still rarities, but gone are the days of clandestine scribbling on the wall in the dead of night and of subdued 'hall meetings' with people packed into small and ding choultries listening to politicians talking with unaccustomed reserve and self-consciousness. One thing has not changed however

The Key Issue

The Key Issue Mohan Ram IN theory, the Congress should have derived some psychological advantage from the timing of the Prime Minister's announcement of elections on January 18 and the surprise element in the announcement. In reality, however, it was the Opposition that gained a psychological edge. This should stand out as the most important difference in the strategic environment at the 1971 elections and now.

WEST BENGAL-The Five-Year Emergency

It is significant that the CPI sees itself in agreement with the Janata Party here and both the manifestos use the same phrase to describe San- jay Gandhi's position.

NAGALAND-Securing for the Sovereign

party's majority, the Prime Minister chose to campaign around the slogan of stability in Uttar Pradesh. But Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat had to go under President's Rule not because the ruling party's majority was in doubt in any of these states. The improved Congress performance in Uttar Pradesh and Orissa does not even guarantee stability, leave alone any more; useful benefits.

Emergence of Regional Forces

MR THE shouting and the sunshine have been restored to the hearts of all those traifickiug in public credulity. But, in fact, the Congress showing at the inini- gemcral elections, covering a fifth of the population, was neither sweeping nor spectacular; it Jailed to win even a bare majority in three of the four legislative assemblies it tried to capture with the help of the CIT or the Con- gress(O). But in Uttar Pradesh it won a victory of sorts. The victory might not be convincing because the majority is wafer-thin and the Congress had 271 members in the out-going Assembly, albeit a third of them defectors. The 1969 tally had been only 211 and the party had split since. Vet the UP verdict is claimed to be conclusive because the Congress has a house majority of its own fur the first time since 1962.

Festivals and Social Relations in a Mysore Village-Mechanics of Two Processions

a Mysore Village Mechanics of Two Processions Suzanne Hanchett According to Marcel Mauss, "The aim and principle of sociology is to observe and understand the whole group in its total behaviour.'' Following this method in his study of ritual prestations, he stated that "We are dealing... with something more than ... institutions divisible into legal/ economic, religious and other parts. We are concerned with 'wholes', with systems in their entirety.. .It is only by considering them as wholes that we have been able to see their essence, their operation and their living aspect, and to catch the fleeting moment when the society and its members take emotional stock of themselves and their situation as regards others." In this paper the author has attempted to identify the South Indian village-level festival as one of those "fleeting moments" of social life to which Mauss referred, moments during which the total social Structure is confronted by its members. In particular, the procession of the deity through the village is such an event.


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