Culture and Civilization Matters

January 20, 2010

Political Tension: Independence, Nationalism, Fundamentalism and the Multi-Party Coalition

Filed under: Term 3 Delhi — Tags: , , , , , , , — wadatripp @ 8:31 pm

INTRODUCTION
Today, some 63 years following India’s Independence, India is the world’s largest democracy.

Mahatma Gandhi is credited with leading the Civil-Disobedience campaign that ultimately led to the demise of the British Raj and the ushering in of an Independent India led by Jawaharlal Nehru.

In 1947, many westerners were quick to dismiss India’s ability to maintain stable democratic rule. While there have been a number of challenges in Independent democratic rule over the past 60 years, last year, since India’s voting population is growing by more than 20 million people per year, India celebrated the biggest exercise in democratic franchise in human history

Furthermore, five years ago during the elections India witnessed the extraordinary phenomenon of an election being won by a woman Italian Origin and Roman Catholic Faith, Sonia Gandhi, wo then made way for a Sikh, Manmohan Singh, to be sworn in as Prime Minister by a Muslim President, Abdul Kalam, in a country that is 81 percent Hindu.

However, as tensions between Pakistan and India have ebbed and flowed with more violent amplitude in recent decades the rise of Hindu Nationalism and Islamic Fundamentalism within India creates significant challenges for this pluralistic democratic system.

GANDHI, THE FALL OF THE BRITISH RAJ AND SEPARATION WITH PAKISTAN
As we learned from Tom Standage in London, the East India Company came came to rule large swaths of India for100 years following the Battle of Plassey.

In 1857, following the Indian Rebellion, the British Crown assumed direct administration of India under the British Raj. Noted historian, Michael Wood, in his BBC documentary entitled The Story of India, delves into the history of the British Raj by visiting its Archives.


To view the Michael Wood’s interview about the British Raj click here.

The following excerpt from the BBC documentary “Gandhi the Road to Freedom” chronicles the role that Gandhi played in bringing Independence to the India in 1947 and highlights some of the issues that emerged following the dissolution of British Rule.

Please view the first 6 minutes of this video.

DEMOCRACY: TENUOUS BEGINNINGS TO MULTIPARTY COALITION RULE
In this short video excerpt below , Edward Luce, author of “In Spite of the Gods,chronicles the emergence of the current multiparty coalition system of the worlds largest democracy from its tenuous embryonic roots.

In this excerpt, Luce also explores the impact that this democratically elected government is having on the gradual dissolution of the caste system.


You can view the the Edward Luce’s Talk here.

THE CURRENT STRUCTURE OF INDIA’S PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY
The world’s largest democracy is also one that is quite complex in its governance. In this brief excerpt, Shashi Tharoor helps us navigate the complexities of India’s modern-day coalition government system.


To view the complete interview with Sashi Tahoor click here.

STORMY RAINCLOUDS: THE RISE OF HINDU NATIONALISM AND ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM
In this video excerpt, Edward Luce explores Hindu Nationalism. Luce describes fundamentalism as “tradition made aware and self defensive,” and explores the interplay and impact of fundamentalism and the caste system on the current government system in india

In the next excerpt, Luce further explores the challenges in reforming the multi-party coalition government in India. He also outlines some of the opportunities that digitization of government operations can help with this reform. This presents a clear tie to the work that Nandan Nilekani is doing with India’s Universal ID program.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • What is it about Indian society and culture that allowed one figure, (Mahatma Gandhi), through a campaign of non-violent civil-disobedience, was able to rally a nation to bring down the British Raj?
  • How has India managed to maintain a functioning pluralistic democracy despite its significant religious differences and caste-based hierarchical structure?
  • How will Hindu Nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism test the multi-party coalition system? Can it be sustained?
  • What issues do you foresee emerging with a parliamentary system with a 24 party coalition government needing significant reform to maintain India’s continued stable growth?

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WELCOME TO TERM 3: NEXT STOP…..DELHI

Filed under: Term 3 Delhi — Tags: , , , — wadatripp @ 8:06 pm

CONGRATULATIONS CCL STUDENTS!

Congratulations on completing Term 2 and welcome to Term 3!

NEXT STOP: INDIA!
Like the River Thames and the Dubai Creek in the past two cities we have visited, our CCMBA journey around the globe has ebbed and flowed through Relational Models and Cultural Dimensions to finally reach our third destination: Incredible India

PREPARING FOR THE INDIA EXPERIENCE
This brief video should whet your appetite for the incredible experience we are all about to embark upon at the end of this month:

BLOG OUTLINE
As was the case with London and Dubai, we have developed a set of blog pages with rich-media content that we believe you will find relevant to the topics we will be discussing during our time in Delhi.

Here is the outline:

  • Preparing for India: Some Facts and Figures. Click here to view.
  • Background on India: A Brief Overview of a Long History. Click here to view.
  • Imagining India: Preparing for our CEO session with Nandan Nilekani. Click here to view.
  • Exploring India’s Transitions and Tensions. Click here to view.
  • Societal Tension: Religion, Caste and Indian Identity. Click here to view.
  • Political Tension: Independence, Nationalism, Fundamentalism and the Multi-Party Coalition. Click here to view.
  • Economic Tension: Addressing Poverty – India’s Biggest Opportunity and Most Difficult Challenge. Click here to view.

We encourage you to review the contents of this blog and to post any comments, questions, or issues that come to mind as a result of having done so. Also, if you have good resources to add to the discussion, pleas be sure to include them in the Comment Section.

It is our sincere hope that we begin a robust virtual dialogue via this blog that we can synthesize during our time together at the residency.

See you in Delhi!

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