Modernization and Development: Prospects and Problems
Since the end of World War II, societies such as that of India have been engaged in trying to achieve the various interrelated goals associated with modernization and development. Modernization refers to the assertion of secular rather than sacred, rational rather than mythical, universal rather than parochial, and achievement-oriented rather than ascriptive norms. 1 In a modern society, then, the individual, no longer just a member of the parochial world, is inducted into the larger world of state and national society.
India's political elite viewed institution building as a part of the developmental process that would enable the society to govern itself effectively, provide for citizens' participation in the political process to ensure the legitimacy of the system, and create political stability to achieve economic growth and social justice.
To bring about a transformation in the organizational structure of a traditional society based on ascriptive norms and values, then, the Indian elites have chosen a path of moderation rather than one of radicalism, and conciliation rather than confrontation. Unlike the People's Republic of China, India decided to avoid a frontal assault on the values and institutions inherited from its past. But India's record of modernization has been a mixed one at best. Although the granting of voting rights to all citizens has ensured equal political participation, universal suffrage and the electoral process have also revitalized the caste system, thus enabling the traditionally dominant castes to consolidate their hold on both economic and political power, especially in rural India. By capturing political power at