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Elections without Party System

Elections without Party System Rajni Kothari POLITICAL debate in the country seems to have got hung on the idea of a 'hung parliament' and the coming era of coalition government at the centre that it thai will necessitate. To me this appears to be a highly oversimplified reading of the situation which does not tell us much about the real shifts, that are likely to inform the political system in the coming years, starting with the 1986 election. It overlooks the specific condition in which the Indian polity finds itself in general and the peculiarly specific situation obtaining before the 1996 election in respect of the political, socio-economic and moral dimensions of the polity which has led to a virtual collapse of both the party system and the political system of which, for close to half a century, it provided the operating dynamic. The 'collapse' that I have in mind here is not just of the Congress as the ruling party at the centre and until not long ago in a majority of the slates but rather of the entire party system that I had more than 30 years ago characterised as the 'Congress system'. The so-called 'hung parliament' is not just a matter of no single party getting a majority but rather of no party or a clear alliance of parties being in a position to govern. A system that hinged so much on a functioning and in many ways unique party system is suddenly being rendered impotent with the collapse of that party system and the considerable national consensus that it had for so long represented (certainly for the first 20 to 25 years after independence but even after that when the Congress continued, whether in government or in opposition, to be the key player and setting the tone for the overall functioning of the system).

Hospitalisation Insurance A Proposal

Hospitalisation Insurance: A Proposal T N Krishnan By preventing erosion of their already low incomes, a health insurance plan is aim indirectly an income protection plan for the poor, This note proposes a hospitalisation insurance plan for persons below the poverty line.

On the Making of the Next Century

On the Making of the Next Century THE 20th century arrived a little late, in 1905, when the Russian army was defeated by Japanese troops in the battlefield of Crimea. As if in apology, the 21st century had come a little earlyi in December 1994, when the Mexican peso had a melt-down. That Currency episode shows the day. A new class has entered the arena a class of rentiers; with a worldwide sweep. It had a dress rehearsal with the pound sterling and lira two years earlier; The signs and footsteps of this unfolding class are unmistakable. The foreign exchange market was the first to globalise in the mid- 1970s as controls were lifted after the Smithsonian Agreement. Advanced telecommunications immensely facilitated arbitrage. The market is awesome in site. The ratio of foreign-exchange transactions to the volume of world trade has jumped turnover is rising fasti at 1.3 trillion dollars

Uttarakhand Agitation and Other Backward Classes

Uttarakhand Agitation and Other Backward Classes Emma Mawdsley IN July 1994, a mass movement began in the eight hill districts of Uttar Pradesh against the imposition of 27 per cent reservation for the other backward classes (OBCs), and for a separate hill state of Uttarakhand.1 I have been doing research on regionalism in the Uttarakhand since 1992, and was engaged in fieldwork in Garhwal and Kumaon from January 1994 to February 1995. This paper is not a substantive exposition of my research findings, but rather seeks to address one aspect of the agitation, namely, the claim from some quarters that these recent troubled events in Uttarakhand are anti-backward in nature, and have been fuelled by sentiments of 'anti-reservationism'. Although this is just one among the many issues and interests raised by the Uttarakhand agitation, it is not an arcane one for two reasons. First, there are significant practical implicationsof being labelled 'anti-rcscrvationist' for the people of the Uttarakhand region. Second, within the wider context of prescriptive analysis in both regionalist discourse and questions of reservation, these contested details are important.

Post-Communist Societies Return of the Reformed Natives

'Post-Communist' Societies: Return of the Reformed Natives Dawa Norbu THE velvet revolutions of 1989 and 1991 evoked more emotional response than critical reflection, and quite understandably so. They represented a multi-faceted victory for the 'free world' winning the cold war without firing a single shot. Hence, several enterprising writers rushed to such sensational conclusions as the death of Communism or 'extinction of Leninism' (as if powerful idea- systems with nearly 80 years of action consequences could die like flies) and 'transition to democracy' (as if these fragmented societies could switch over from one type of regime to another as easily as switching TV programmes).

Chechnya Russian Fiasco

Chechnya: Russian Fiasco Rama Sampath Kumar THE administrative units of the Russian federation are composed of 55 provinces or regions, 2 cities (Moscow and St Petersburg), 21 republics, and 11 autonomous formations.' The division into various administrative units, based on the Soviet nationality policy, influenced regional politics through the Soviet years.3 The centrifugal pressure in Russia is strongest among the 21 republics, and they enjoy fuller rights to self- government than the others.3 These republics can be roughly divided into three main groups: (1) the regions with below-average incomes, where the Russians are a minority. These are ethnic trouble spots and most of them, including Chechnya, are situated in the Caucasus; (2) the second group comprises of resource rich, large republics in the north - Komi, Karelia and Yakutia. They have above- average incomes and the ethnic Russians are the majority. Their restlessness is purely economic; (3) The third group is the republics along the Volga, which are rich in oil and arc home to most of Russia's 18 million Muslims. Tatarstan and Bashkorostan fall in this category, and this group is the real threat to Russia's integrity. The railways and pipelines connecting Siberia to European Russia pass through this region.

Women and Muslim Fundamentalism

How are women effected by the growing religious fundamentalism in the Muslim World? And how do they, in the national and international context resist what is imposed upon them in the name of religion and identity?

Towards an Indian Agenda for the Indian Left

Towards an Indian Agenda for the Indian Left Yogendra Yadav THIS note is addressed to all those who identify with one or another form of the Indian left today: the communist parties, 'naxalites', various 'socialist' groups or oth ers of independent left/socialist inclination It raises a question of common and currently pressing concern: what is to he done? What direction should socialist politics take in today'' India? The note is not so much an answer to this question as a preliminary statement of some general observations relevant to such an answer. Beginning with a very brief assessment and diagnosis of what ails the Indian left today, it goes on to spell out something of a new agenda for the politics of socialism in India. The purpose is to begin a non-polemical and meaningful debate on what may be some fundamental questions relevant to the present political and ideological dilemma of the Indian left.

Psychology and Challenge of Postmodern Condition

Psychology and Challenge of Postmodern Condition Ananta Giri Postmodern challenge to psychology is not confined to the reconceptualisation of the human need and the rethinking of the process of moral development. It is a challenge to the very authority of psychology, particularly to the authority of psychoanalysis. Drawing upon a number of important works of postmodern thought, this paper builds a case for a renewal of psychology through a process of participation in a genuine 'blurring of genres'.

Stagflation, Unemployment and Oligopoly

Stagflation, Unemployment and Oligopoly S R Sen How best to deal with the growing oligopolistic and oligarchic trends with a view to ensuring that their adverse effects on employment and economic growth are minimised remains one of the most important questions facing Indian policy-makers.

Problematising Nationalism

Problematising Nationalism A Raghurama Raju The problem of nationalism in India needs to be approached not from the perspective of derivation/autonomy but from that of incorporation/assimilation. It is also necessary to relocate the debate on nationalism in the politics of the present, juxtaposing nationalism to the so-called non-nationalistic realities, marking their tensions, appropriations and approximations.

The Third Stratum

The Third Stratum Nirmal Mukarji The fundamental question before panchayats everywhere in the country has for long been whether they are there for development functions only or for the wider purpose of self-government. The central objective of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act must, therefore, be seen as self-government, unabridged by the quite unnecessary references to economic development and social justice and the wholly avoidable Eleventh Schedule.


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