Government and Politics in South Asia

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

19
Political Culture and Heritage

THE POLITICAL SYSTEMS OF THE THIRD WORLD are marked by violent upheaval, revolution, and military intervention in politics. There are only a few nations among the developing countries that have been able to maintain a system of stable and representative government. From 1948 until the 1980s, Sri Lanka was one of these countries. Even with civil war threatening the unity of the country since 1983, Sri Lanka has maintained its democratic institutions. How was Sri Lanka able to maintain this record of political stability and representative democracy? It is one of the poorest nations in the world, with a per capita gross national product of $700 per year. 1 In addition, a wide gap exists between the rich and the poor. And yet representative government and stability persisted. An examination of Sri Lanka reveals many factors that have led to the political stability the country has experienced as well as other factors that one would expect to lead to instability and violence. Despite the violence that Sri Lanka is currently experiencing, it has been able to maintain its democratic institutions. The following chapters explore why Sri Lanka has been successful thus far in establishing a stable political system; they also describe the threats to that stability. Specifically, they examine the cultural and historical heritage of Sri Lanka, the nature of its political institutions, the style of leadership exhibited by its leaders, and the ethnic problems and divisions in the society that threaten to destabilize it. The present chapter describes some of the basic features of the country, its historical heritage, and the social structure of its society.


Geography

The island now known as Sri Lanka has long been known for its natural beauty and lush vegetation. Located at the foot of the South Asian sub

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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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