The sinews of nation building, simplified
Politics of Nation Building in India, Shibani Kinkar Chaube, Gyan Publishing House, Pp 332, Rs 990.00
A modern nation is a state defined by territory though there are still tiny stateless people all over the world, like the secessionist tribes who claim nationhood upon the land inhabited by them. Some nations choose to live as secular states, some in terms of their religious faith and some in terms of tribal affinity. India has been constituted as a secular state with strong ethno-cultural strains due to diversity of her land and population.
This book is a compilation of papers written four decades ago to focus on the political aspects of nation building. The paper titled ‘Politics among the Social Sciences’ deals with a more ‘scientific’ social science to examine to what extent the ‘vested interests’ are entrenched in society in exploitative relations – in the Marxist sense – explaining “the presence in the population of sufficiently intense, widely spread and properly distributed motivational elements.”
The paper ‘The Raja and the Raj’ examines the issue that Rammohun Roy was deputed by Akbar II in 1830 as his ambassador to the British emperor to protest against the East India Company in its refusal to recognise his title and stresses that Rammohun must be considered as much a man of transition as a pioneer of a new era.
The paper titled ‘Personalistic Ethics in Gandhi’s Political Philosophy’ reveals him as an intense individual with profound faith in personal ethics. The second point of the paper is Gandhi’s profound conviction in the belief that one gets nothing without paying a price. The most positive element in his philosophy is self-reliance accompanied by self-discipline His answer to Western system of parliamentary democracy is Panchayati Raj.
Talking of the Supreme Court, federation and secularism in India, the next paper also praises the Supreme Court for asserting its power to examine the relevance of the material on the basis of which a presidential ‘satisfaction’ is reached and also it powers to revoke a proclamation and revive a dissolved legislature.
Under the subject ‘National Building and Ethno-Cultural Tensions in South Asia’, the paper shows that emphasis on territorial nationalism, with a view to consolidating and strengthening political independence and socio-economic progress of the people, has been considerably diluted, particularly with the emergence of the European Union which demonstrates the futility of nationalism.
There are other papers on as diverse subjects as national and ethnic problems in India, caste politics, religion, state and society, communalism and secularism, minority problem, inter-ethnic politics in northeast, social investment in India, etc, where the general consensus is that politics play a major role in fomenting as well as preventing these.
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