Government and Politics in South Asia

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

2
Political Culture and Heritage

INDIA'S DIFFICULTIES IN NATION BUILDING, economic development, and political stability have been strongly influenced by a host of complex factors. Of these the most prominent are its geographic setting and its sociocultural history. India is the largest state on the South Asian subcontinent. One-third the size of the United States--about 1,266,595 square miles--it is a country of great distances: From the Himalayan mountains in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south the distance is 2,000 miles, and it is some 1,700 miles from the western border with Pakistan to the eastern border with Burma. These distances and elevational changes mean that India has a wide variety of climates and landscapes, from snow-covered mountains and lush green forests to dry brown plains and sandy deserts.

Geographically, India is divided into three main regions, each having its own culture, traditions, and history. The various subregions add to the country's variety of lifestyles and traditions. The first region consists of the vast plains of north India, irrigated by the Ganges River and its tributaries. Originating in the Himalayas, the sacred Ganges runs more than 1,500 miles through several states of India until it reaches the Bay of Bengal. The silt deposited by the river enriches the soil of the vast northern plains, where agriculture is the main livelihood of the people. It was in the Ganges Valley in ancient times that the Hindu civilization flourished.

The second region, the Deccan plateau, is separated from the north by the Vindhya Mountains and from the coastal areas by the Eastern and Western Ghats, which form a kind of mountain wall. Although rich in mineral resources, the plateau receives little rainfall; hence it is not heavily populated, in contrast to the other regions of India. In this region the people and the cultures of north and south intermingle.

The third region, farther south near the port city of Madras, is the ancient land of the Tamils and the heartland of the Dravidian people. This

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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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