The authors of this book, which was first published in 1987, all teach courses on the politics of South Asia and on the political development of the Third World. We had been concerned that there was no textbook that contained information on each of the major countries of South Asia. Such a book, we believed, would be valuable for use in both courses specifically about the region and those broader in scope. To fill this gap, we joined forces to write a book that should be useful to our students and to students of others in the field of political development.
The book is a collective effort. In the initial draft, however, the sections were assigned to individual writers. Malik was responsible for India and the three smaller countries; Kennedy for Pakistan; and Oberst for Sri Lanka. Baxter was responsible for Bangladesh, the historical introduction, the international and regional relations chapter, and the introduction and conclusion and also served as coordinator. The chapters were circulated among all the writers, each of whom made contributions to each section. The result is therefore the combined work of all four of us.
We now present the fourth edition of the book. There have been many changes in South Asia and in the world environment in the eleven years since the first edition appeared. Democratic systems are struggling to develop in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal; the dominance of the Nehru- Gandhi Congress party in India seems to have ended; the bloody struggle in Sri Lanka continues; and the Soviet Union has disappeared. We have worked to include these changes and others in this updated and reformatted edition and are ever mindful that the time between the completion of a manuscript and the appearance of a book will bring even further change.
We wish to thank especially those at Westview Press. In the past we worked closely with Susan McEachern, who is no longer with Westview. It was her encouragement that brought the second and third editions.