Spodek, Howard. “PLURALIST POLITICS IN BRITISH
Note – This article reviews the following books of
BAKER, CHRISTOPHER JOHN. The
A. The Local Roots of Indian Politics:
JUDITH M. Gandhi and Civil Disobedience: The Mahatma in Indian Politics, 1928-34.
JUDITH M. Gandhi's Rise to Power: Indian Politics, 1915-1922.
JOHN; JOHNSON, GORDON; and SEAL, ANIL, editors. Locality, Province, and
Nation: Essays on Indian Politics, 187o to 1940.
JOHNSON, GORDON. Provincial
Politics and Indian Nationalism:
FRANCIS. Separatism among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces'
SEAL, ANIL. The Emergence of
Indian Nationalism: Competition and Collaboration in the Later Nineteenth
B. R. The Indian National Congress and the Raj, 1929-1942: The Penultimate
D. A. The Emergence of Provincial Politics: The
This is an interesting systemic critique. Spodek states –
introduction to this volume, "Imperialism and Nationalism in
‘….The mainstream of the Cambridge group has seen Indian nationalist organization as inspired by the British: The matrix was British; the leadership was English-speaking and English-trained; the issues were largely set by the British; the political institutions were founded by them; and even the foundation of the Congress itself was inspired by the British….
‘On the positive side
of the ledger are the important breakthroughs in asking new questions: on the
origins of pluralist politics in modern India; on the developing pattern of
linkages among local, provincial, and national political organizations as the driving
force sustaining this pluralism; and on political subcontractors beginning to
assume functions formerly held by local patrons. Collectively, the
‘I PROPOSE AN ALTERNATIVE SYNTHESIS built largely on the foregoing
materials but using a different perspective. An
attempt to comprehend the Cambridge scholars in tandem
with scholarship in Indian history elsewhere and with social science theory provides a richly suggestive mix of ideas: A modern
political system—pluralist, federalist,
machine-dominated--began to germinate in some areas
of India at least as early as the 1870s. The system not only included parties based on political ideology but also comprehended issues
that had previously been expressed almost solely in
private lives and segmented
communities—issues of religion and caste as well as those of governance and
class. A new political system had to encompass a population whose fundamental
perspectives on man and God spanned the whole spectrum from beliefs in the inequality of all individuals and
groups (and gods) to radical new beliefs in equality. All of these
differences compounded the geographic diversity