There is a lack of over-time data on how Indians think about intercommunity relations, relations between citizens and the government, and the nature of the political community. To fill this gap, the Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) and Azim Premji University have begun a three-year study of India’s political culture, titled Society and Politics Between Elections. The first report in the series, to be released in Delhi this evening, focuses on Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha and Karnataka — four large states picked from the west, north, east and south of the country.
The findings present a mixed bag of expected and unexpected patterns, and throw up a set of questions that call for a deeper investigation and supplementation with data from elsewhere in the country to create a fuller, more meaningful picture. They also underscore the need to evolve new frameworks for analysing India’s politics, the political behaviour of its citizens, and the nature of electoral choices that they may or may not make.
The study throws light on India’s caste-community driven social universe, and its somewhat broadbased political universe. Personal relationships, community interactions and political engagement are all framed in the vocabulary of caste and religion. This caste-community driven social universe often gives rise to social stereotypes and prejudices.
NOTE ON THE SURVEY
Another 3 rounds will be carried out over the next 3 years across 28 Indian states. The first round survey in Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha and Karnataka was conducted between November 21 and December 1, 2016 through face-to-face interviews with 7,770 respondents in 21 Assembly constituencies.