Government and Politics in South Asia

By Craig Baxter; Yogendra K. Malik et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

SHOULD SOUTH ASIA BE A SUBJECT FOR STUDY? Can we effectively survey an area remote from our Western experiences, one with a new vocabulary of politics and society coupled with unfamiliar names (many of them seemingly unpronounceable)? Is it appropriate for those of us from such prosperous nations as the United States and Canada, which are at the center of world affairs, to study nations that are poverty-stricken and, it often appears, distant from the mainstream of international activity?

Each of these questions must be answered in the affirmative, for several reasons. The size of the region's population is perhaps the most important consideration. A second consideration is the rising importance of the region's contribution to the productive capacity of the world. South Asia's location alone makes it strategically important. Further, the region provides examples of different forms of political development, ranging from the open and democratic--but not entirely perfect--systems of India and Sri Lanka to the frequently authoritarian governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh and to the changing traditional polities of Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. The wide range of these examples of political development in a compact area permits comparison among the seven countries as well as between South Asian nations and other developing nations and regions.

In population, the region contained over 1.2 billion people in mid- 1995. According to projections by the United Nations Development Program, the population of the three largest countries ( India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) will double in the first half of the twenty-first century. By then, more than one-fifth of the world's people will live in South Asia. On this basis alone the region cannot be disregarded; indeed, it must be looked upon as one of the key areas of the world. 1

In 1990 India ranked thirteenth in the world in annual gross domestic product (GDP). When the relatively much smaller economies of the other six countries were taken into account as well, the collective GDP of South Asia was more than one-third of a trillion dollars. Excluding the communist nations, for which comparable data are not available in World Bank reports, India ranked third--behind China and the United States--in

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Government and Politics in South Asia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Illustrations ix
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1 - The Governance of South Asia Under the British 5
  • Suggested Readings 18
  • Part One - INDIA 19
  • 2 - Political Culture and Heritage 21
  • Suggested Readings 52
  • 3 - Political Institutions and Governmental Processes 55
  • Suggested Readings 90
  • 4 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 92
  • Suggested Readings 120
  • 5 - Groups and Multiple Demands on the System 122
  • Suggested Readings 139
  • 6 - Conflict Mediation 140
  • Suggested Readings 150
  • 7 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 151
  • Suggested Readings 159
  • Part Two - PAKISTAN 161
  • 8 - Political Culture and Heritage 163
  • Suggested Readings 174
  • 9 - Government Structure 175
  • Suggested Readings 183
  • 10 - Political Parties and Political Leaders 184
  • Suggested Readings 200
  • 11 - Conflict and Mediation 202
  • Suggested Readings 212
  • 12 - Policy Issues 213
  • Suggested Readings 223
  • 13: Modernization and Development 224
  • Part Three - BANGLADESH 231
  • 14 - Political Culture and Heritage 233
  • Suggested Readings 246
  • 15 - Government Institutions 247
  • Suggested Readings 257
  • 16 - Elections, Parties, and Interest Groups 259
  • Suggested Readings 279
  • 17 - Conflicts and Resolution 281
  • Suggested Readings 291
  • 18 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 292
  • Suggested Readings 299
  • Part Four - SRI LANKA 301
  • 19: Political Culture and Heritage 303
  • 20: Government Structure 316
  • 21: Political Parties and Interest Groups 331
  • 22: Conflict Mediation 346
  • 23: The Search for Prosperity 352
  • 24 - Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems 358
  • Suggested Readings 362
  • Part Five - SOUTH ASIA 365
  • 25 - Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives 367
  • Suggested Readings 381
  • 26 - South Asia as a Region and in the World System 382
  • Suggested Readings 402
  • 27 - Conclusion: Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia 404
  • Suggested Readings 411
  • Statistical Appendix 413
  • Index 415
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