Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

Triumph of the majority

The newly assertive small town and rural India does not nod to institutional politics in the same way that the urban elite does. The idea of a muscular leader, a leader who takes quick and firm decisions and is not necessarily inclusive, plays well in this constituency. (Source: PTI) The newly assertive small town and rural India does not nod to institutional politics in the same way that the urban elite does. The idea of a muscular leader, a leader who takes quick and firm decisions and is not necessarily inclusive, plays well in this constituency. (Source: PTI)
Written by Pradeep Chhibber , Susan Ostermann | Posted: June 17, 2014 12:17 am | Updated: June 17, 2014 8:43 am

democracy purveyed by India’s liberal, Westernised elite. Though the elite would rather not acknowledge the bulk of the Indian population, a population, which is socially conservative and continues to dwell in small towns and rural areas where political power is exercised freely and often without constraint, a liberal democratic process has now forced them to do so.

This is a triumph of electoral democracy and not a failure, in that it has finally brought the majority to power, however rural and socially conservative they may be. For the first time in Indian history, a local politician, Narendra Modi, has successfully led a national campaign. However much the Indian urban intellectuals would like to disassociate the two, a liberal process and its conservative ends, India’s recent election serves  as yet another reminder that democracy does not necessarily privilege liberal ideas and can just as capably provide political openings for conservative ones.

The writers are at the Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkley, US

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