Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959

Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959

Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959

Politics and Social Change: Orissa in 1959

Excerpt

Several of the Oriya politicians to whom I talked in 1959 said that the present form of government in India did not suit their country's needs. Parliamentary institutions, they argued, had developed in Britain through a long process of trial and error and were adapted to the social organization and cultural standards of the British people. These institutions were transferred and imposed upon a society of a very different kind, where they did not fit.

Furthermore, they said, India had difficulty in maintaining national unity and in controlling demands for regional and linguistic autonomy; she was also faced with a formidable task in raising her standard of living. These tasks, some of them argued, could be better accomplished by a form of government more incisive and less given to delay and compromise than democracy based on free elections. China and Russia were there to prove the point. Parliamentary democracy was a luxury which should take third place behind national unity and economic development.

The merits and failings of parliamentary democracy are problems for others; my questions are less difficult, for they . . .

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