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Weaknesses of Indian Election System

What are the Weaknesses of Indian Election System?

Since the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950, 14 general elections and many elections of
various State Legislative Assemblies have been held. Although these elections were generally free and
fair, yet some weaknesses of our election system have been noticed. Some of these weaknesses
(challenges) are as under:
(a) Expensive elections:
In India, elections are very expensive and a common man, however, intelligent and honest he may be,
cannot fight elections. As a result only the rich people can fight elections and they make use of political
power first to serve their own interests. They also try to make more money through illegal methods.
(b) Misuse of official machinery:
Though some steps have been taken by the Election Commission and the election laws to check the
misuse of official machinery during the elections, yet the ruling party makes use of government
servants, vehicles and discretionary grants to win the voters in their favour.
(c) Use of caste and religion in election:
In India, a large number of votes are cast on the basis of caste and religion. As a result people get
divided on the basis of caste, religion and community which is very harmful for national unity.
(d) Rigging of election and booth capturing:
With the connivance of the government officials, the ruling party tries to rig the elections. Some
candidates also capture the polling booths and make use of their muscle powers to do it. It is alleged
that in J&K Assembly elections held in 1987, many candidates of the opposition front were declared
losers even though they had got maximum number of votes.
(e) Misuse of mass media:
During elections the ruling party uses various means of mass media-Radios, Television and Newspapers
etc.-to propagate their policies and programmes.
(f) Low polling percentage:
In India, many voters do not cast their votes. The voting percentage generally is almost 50 to 60 percent.
Therefore, the representative bodies are not truly representative.
(g) Delay in the disposal of election petitions:
In India, it takes a long time in the disposal of election petitions and sometimes the very purpose of
election petition gets defeated.
(a) To minimise the role of money in election, provisions should be made for state funding of elections.
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(b) Misuse of official machinery should be checked strictly.

(c) Candidates making use of caste or religions during elections should be debarred from contesting
(d) Rigging of elections by the use of muscle power and booth capturing should be strongly checked.
(e) Every party or candidate should be given a chance to make use of mass media. t
(f) Voting should be made compulsory.
(g) Election petitions should be disposed off without any delay.
The above issues should be a matter of concern to all those who believe in democracy. Many citizens,
political leaders and organisations are trying to curb such tendencies by launching agitations against
these malpractices. Besides voters need to become more aware of the value of their right to vote.
Caste politics in India
Caste in Indian society refers to a social group where membership decided by birth. Members of such
local group are endogamous, i.e. they tend to enter into marital relationships among themselves. They
often have related political preferences, similar to the racial preferences for the Democratic and
Republican parties in USA.[1]
For political/government purposes, the castes among the Hindus are broadly divided into[2][3]

Forward Caste
Other Backward Class (OBC) (about 41% of population)

Scheduled Caste (about 20% of population)

Scheduled Tribe (about 9% of population)

The Indian Muslims (13.4%), and Christians (2.3%) often function as a caste since they too marry
among themselves.
Official lists are compiled by states recognizing the OBC, Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled tribes.
The dividing lines can be ambiguous, several castes have demanded a lower rank so that they can avail
of the privileges offered. The term "Upper caste" often includes Forward castes and the OBCs, when
news reports refer to the Scheduled castes in relation to the two upper groups.
It was institutionalized into government organizations by British colonizers.[citation needed] The removal of
the boundaries between "civil society" and "political society" meant that caste now played a huge role in
the political arena and also influenced other government-run institutions such as police and the judicial
system. Though caste seemed to dictate one's access to such institutions, the location of that caste also
played a pivotal role. If a lower caste were concentrated enough in one area, it could then translate that
pocket of concentration of its caste members into political power and then challenge the hegemony of
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locally dominant upper caste. Gender also plays a significant role in the power dynamic of caste in
politics. Women's representation within the political system seems to also be tied to their caste. Lower,
more conservative castes have less female participation in politics than upper, more socially liberal,
castes. This has caused a disproportionately large number of upper-caste women to occupy political
office when compared to their lower caste counterparts. The hierarchy of caste and its role in politics
and access to power and resources has created a society of patron-client relationships along caste lines.
This staunchly rigid structure was most prevalent during the Congress-dominating period[citation needed].
This eventually led to the practice of vote banking, where voters back only candidates that are in their
caste [1], or officials from which they expect to receive some kind of benefits.
Historically it has been very hard to change the structure of caste politics in India. More
recently[when?] however, there has been a flux in caste politics, mainly caused by economic liberalization
in India. This upsurge in lower-caste empowerment was accompanied in some regions by a spike in the
level of corruption. This was partly due to lower caste perceiving development programs and rule of law
as tools used by the upper caste to subjugate lower castes.[citation needed] More contemporary India, however,
has seen the influence of caste start to decline. This is partly due to the spread of education to all castes
which has had a democratizing effect on the political system. However, this "equalizing" of the playing
field has not been without controversy. The Mandal Commission and its quotas system has been a
particularly sensitive issue.

Besides voting, the caste is an important factor, influencing the selection of candidates in elections,
appointment of ministers, transfer and posting of public officials etc. the policy of reservation has given
further impetus to the role of caste in politics, particularly in the last few years. The role of caste in the
different aspects of politics is given below:
Caste has influenced the policy-making of the government, for example the policy of reservation in
favour of certain castes.
The programmes, policies and declarations of political parties are made, keeping in view the caste
factor. Even different positions within a political party are distributed in terms of caste configurations.
Caste plays a very important role in elections and voting. Political parties select their candidates on the
basis of caste composition in the constituency. The voting in elections and mobilisation of political
support from top to bottom moves on the caste lines.
The caste factor also influences the formation of the council of ministers and making appointments to
various political positions in the government.
Caste also functions, as a pressure group in politics. Political bargaining is also done on the caste lines.
Caste organisations have emerged to organise caste members for collective bargaining with each other.
The administration has not escaped the influence of the caste in India. The postings, transfers and
appointments of public officials are influenced by caste considerations.
Even the behaviour of public officials in carrying out administrative duties get influenced by caste
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The political leadership in many political parties emerges and survives in politics on the basis of the
support of certain caste groups.
There are many political experts who consider the increasing influence of caste in politics as a negative
tendency, not helpful in the development of democracy. Experts like D.R. Gadgil and famous
sociologist M.N. Srinivas hold this view.
However, there are commentators and thinkers who hold that the role of caste is essential to give
momentum to the political process. American political experts I.Rudolf and S.H. Rudolf in their book,
Modernity and Tradition hold the view that caste politics in India has reduced the distinction among
castes and has brought about political equality among the members of different castes.
ethinic minority and politics
s usual, some of the figures are open to debate. The implications for the political parties are not. The
centre-right thinktank Policy Exchange grabbed headlines this week by saying, in a new report, that
ethnic minorities will make up a third of Britain by 2050. In fact, this was how some newspapers chose
to headline the story. The report itself, A Portrait of Modern Britain, was more cautious. It rehearses
differing estimates that black and minority ethnic communities will represent "between 20-30% of the
UK's population" by 2051. This is rather different. There is a big gap between 20% and 30% and 30%
is both a maximum estimate and not the same thing as a third. Since the current figure for BME
communities is already 14%, the increase over the next 35 years could actually be relatively modest if
the figure turns out to be closer to the 20% that one expert cited in the report has estimated.
But the political implications of Britain's changing demography remain challenging, irrespective of the
precise nature of the figures that give rise to them. In Britain, as in most other developed economies in
the western world, changing demographics are already a reality. They are also already shaping the
agendas, assumptions and methods of the old politics. That change will intensify, as the second and
third generations of migrants reach voting age and as differential birthrates recast the ethnic map.
Crucially, as the report stresses, Britain's political parties are unprepared for the lasting importance of
such changes.
Ethnic minorities in Britain share roughly similar levels of partisanship identification with a political
party to the white population. In many other respects, however, the political and electoral profile of
BME voters is very different from that of whites. BME citizens are less often registered to vote than
whites, a divergence that may increase when individual voter registration is introduced. But the biggest
difference is in the degree to which all BME groups identify with and overwhelmingly vote for
Labour. In the 2010 election, in which Labour lost and did badly, 68% of all BME voters nevertheless
voted Labour, compared with 31% of white voters. On the other hand, only 16% of BME voters voted
Conservative, compared with 37% of whites.
Combine the increasing size and proportion of the BME electorate with that striking difference in
political identification, and it soon becomes clear that these figures pose a historic challenge for both
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Labour and the Tories as well as for other political parties. The challenge is, of course, the reverse one
for the two main parties. For Labour the challenge is to retain its grip on BME voters. For
theConservatives it is to increase its appeal. But since only around two-thirds of the electorate now
identify with either of the two main parties, the possibility of a majority government of either stripe may
hang on the outcome.
For Labour the problem is complacency. But the challenge facing the Tories is much more acute. Any
strategist who looks at the figures as Lord Ashcroft has also done will see that the Tories need to
appeal more consistently to BME voters in order to win enough seats to form a government. So the first
thing any strategist's memo to David Cameron would say in the light of the Policy Exchange report is to
beware the impact on these vital BME voters of any sudden lurch towards Ukip and its predominantly
white electorate in the aftermath of the European elections later this month.
That is not the same as saying, for example, that the Tories should do a U-turn on an issue such as
immigration. That is unlikely to be what BME voters want anyway. But it does mean that the Tory party
needs to avoid lazy stereotypes and to reach out to the different ethnic groups on the issues that concern
them. The party also needs to be much more self-critical and humble than parts of it are often tempted to
be about a range of the party's stances on issues from education to policing. A party of white people
speaking only to white people is no longer an option for any party that seeks to speak for the new

Post-Colonialism: Definition, Development and Examples from India

This speech deals with the phenomenon of post-colonialism. It presents general definitions of the postcolonial theory and provides some information about its development as well as illustrating background
knowledge about basic landmarks of Indias colonial past. It then concentrates on the post-colonial
development of India which was a British colony until 1947.
1. Post-colonialism in general
1.1 Definition
Post-colonialism is an intellectual direction (sometimes also called an era or the post-colonial
theory) that exists since around the middle of the 20 th century. It developed from and mainly refers to
the time after colonialism. The post-colonial direction was created as colonial countries became
independent. Nowadays, aspects of post-colonialism can be found not only in sciences concerning
history, literature and politics, but also in approach to culture and identity of both the countries that were
colonised and the former colonial powers. However, post-colonialism can take the colonial time as well
as the time after colonialism into consideration.
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1.2 Development
The term decolonisation seems to be of particular importance while talking about post-colonialism. In
this case it means an intellectual process that persistently transfers the independence of former-colonial
countries into peoples minds. The basic idea of this process is the deconstruction of old-fashioned
perceptions and attitudes of power and oppression that were adopted during the time of colonialism.
First attempts to put this long-term policy of decolonising the minds into practice could be regarded
in the Indian population after India became independent from the British Empire in 1947.
However, post-colonialism has increasingly become an object of scientific examination since 1950
when Western intellectuals began to get interested in the Third World countries. In the seventies, this
interest lead to an integration of discussions about post-colonialism in various study courses at
American Universities. Nowadays it also plays a remarkable role at European Universities.
A major aspect of post-colonialism is the rather violent-like, unbuffered contact or clash of cultures as
an inevitable result of former colonial times; the relationship of the colonial power to the (formerly)
colonised country, its population and culture and vice versa seems extremely ambiguous and
This contradiction of two clashing cultures and the wide scale of problems resulting from it must be
regarded as a major theme in post-colonialism: For centuries the colonial suppressor often had been
forcing his civilised values on the natives. But when the native population finally gained independence,
the colonial relicts were still omnipresent, deeply integrated in the natives minds and were supposed to
So decolonisation is a process of change, destruction and, in the first place, an attempt to regain and lose
power. While natives had to learn how to put independence into practice, colonial powers had to accept
the loss of power over foreign countries. However, both sides have to deal with their past as suppressor
This complicated relationship mainly developed from the Eurocentric perspective from which the
former colonial powers saw themselves: Their colonial policy was often criticised as arrogant, ignorant,
brutal and simply nave. Their final colonial failure and the total independence of the once suppressed
made the process of decolonisation rather tense and emotional.
Post-colonialism also deals with conflicts of identity and cultural belonging. Colonial powers came to
foreign states and destroyed main parts of native tradition and culture; furthermore, they continuously
replaced them with their own ones. This often lead to conflicts when countries became independent and
suddenly faced the challenge of developing a new nationwide identity and self-confidence.
As generations had lived under the power of colonial rulers, they had more or less adopted their Western
tradition and culture. The challenge for these countries was to find an individual way of proceeding to
call their own. They could not get rid of the Western way of life from one day to the other; they could
On the other hand, former colonial powers had to change their self-assessment. This paradox

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identification process seems to be what decolonisation is all about, while post-colonialism is the
intellectual direction that deals with it and maintains a steady analysis from both points of view.
So how is this difficult process of decolonisation being done? By the power of language, even more
than by the use of military violence. Language is the intellectual means by which post-colonial
communication and reflection takes place. This is particularly important as most colonial powers tried
to integrate their language, the major aspect of their civilised culture, in foreign societies.
A lot of Indian books that can be attached to the era of post-colonialism, for instance, are written in
English. The cross-border exchange of thoughts from both parties of the post-colonial conflict is
supported by the use of a shared language.
To give a conclusion of it all, one might say that post-colonialism is a vivid discussion about what
happened with the colonial thinking at the end of the colonial era. What legacy arouse from this era?
What social, cultural and economical consequences could be seen and are still visible today? In these
contexts, one examines alternating experiences of suppression, resistance, gender, migration and so
forth. While doing so, both the colonising and colonised side are taken into consideration and related to
each other. The main target of post-colonialism remains the same: To review and to deconstruct onesided, worn-out attitudes in a lively discussion of colonisation.
2. The post-colonial experience in India
2.1 History of Indian colonialism
In the 16th century, European powers began to conquer small outposts along the Indian coast. Portugal,
the Netherlands and France ruled different regions in India before the British East India Company
The British colonialists managed to control most parts of India while ruling the key cities Calcutta,
Madras and Bombay as the main British bases. However, there still remained a few independent regions
(Kashmir among others) whose lords were loyal to the British Empire.
In 1857, the first big rebellion took place in the north of India. The incident is also named First war of
Indian Independence, the Sepoy Rebellion or the Indian Mutiny, depending on the individual
perspective. This was the first time Indians rebelled in massive numbers against the presence and the
rule of the British in South Asia. The rebellion failed and the British colonialists continued their rule.
In 1885, the National Indian Congress (popularly called Congress) was founded. It demanded that
the Indians should have their proper legitimate share in the government. From then on, the Congress
developed into the main body of opposition against British colonial rule. Besides, a Muslim anticolonial organisation was founded in 1906, called the Muslim League.
While most parts of the Indian population remained loyal to the British colonial power during the First
World War, more and more Muslim people joined the Indian independence movement since they were
angry about the division of the Ottoman Empire by the British.
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The non-violent resistance against British colonial rule, mainly initiated and organised by Mahatma
Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, finally lead to independence in 1947.
At the same time, the huge British colony was split into two nations: The secular Indian Union and the
smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. The Muslim League had demanded for an independent Muslim state
with a majority of Muslims.
India became a member of the British Commonwealth after 1947.
2.2 Post-colonial development in India
The Partition of India (also called the Great Divide) lead to huge movements and an ethnic conflict
across the Indian-Pakistani border. While around 10 million Hindus und Sikhs were expelled from
Pakistan, about 7 million Muslims crossed the border to from India to Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands
of people died in this conflict. Ever since these incidents, there have been tensions between India and
Pakistan which lead to different wars particularly in the Kashmir region.
For decades the Congress Party ruled the democratic country which had become a republic with its own
constitution in 1950. In 1977 the opposition gained the majority of votes. In 1984, after the Congress
Party had regained the majority, conflicts with the cultural minority of the Sikhs lead to the
assassination of the Indian prime minister Indira Ghandi.
Today, apart from the significant economic progress, India is still facing its old problems: Poverty,
overpopulation, environmental pollution as well as ethnic and religious conflicts between Hindus and
Muslims. Additionally, the Kashmir conflict has not come to an end yet, while both Pakistan and Indian
are threatening each other with their arsenals of atomic weapons.
Concerning post-colonial literature, Edward Saids book Orientalism (published in 1978) is regarded
as the beginning of post-colonial studies. In this book the author analyses how European states initiated
colonialism as a result of what they called their own racial superiority.
The religious-ethnic conflicts between different groups of people play an important role in the early
years of post-colonialism. Eye-witnesses from both sides of the Indian-Pakistani conflict wrote about
their feelings and experience during genocide, being confronted to blind and irrational violence and
One example for a post-colonial scriptwriter who wrote about this conflict is Saddat Hasan Manto (1912
1955). He was forced to leave Bombay and to settle in Lahore, Pakistan. He published a collection of
stories and sketches (Mottled Dawn) that deal with this dark era of Indian history and its immense
social consequences and uncountable tragedies.
Furthermore, there are many different approaches to the topic of intercultural exchange between the
British and the Indian population. Uncountable essays and novels deal with the ambiguous relationship
between these two nations. One particularly interesting phenomenon is that authors from both sides try
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to write from different angles and perspectives and in that way to show empathy with their cultural
The most famous novelist who wrote about these social and cultural exchanges is Salman Rushdie.
Rushdie, who won the booker prize among various others, was born in India, but studied in England and
started writing books about India and the British in the early eighties. His funny, brave, metaphoric and
sometimes even ironical way of writing offers a multi-perspective approach to the post-colonial
complex. This can be also seen in his book Midnights Children. In the past, Salman Rushdie was also
repeatedly threatened by Irani fundamentalists because of his critical writing about Muslim extremism
in the Middle East.
Another famous post-colonial novel is Heat and Dust (published in 1975) by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
that contains two plot set in different times: One about a British lady starting an affair with a local
Indian prince in the 1920s, the other one set in the 1970s, featuring young Europeans on a hippie trail
who claim they have left behind Western civilisation and are trying to some spiritual home among
Indian gurus.
Bollywood has become a notorious synonym for the uprising Indian film industry in recent years.
Young Indian scriptwriters have discovered post-colonial issues as themes for their movies and as a way
of dealing with the changeful past of their country.
Concerning the integration of Western values in the Indian population and culture, one can say that the
British influence is still omnipresent in the Asian subcontinent. The reason for this can be also found in
Many Indians are conversant with the English language, because the British colonialists intended to
export their values and culture by teaching the Indian population their language. This was regarded as
the basic fundament for further education.
What about the relationship between India and the United Kingdom today? It is a special one, and of
course still not without tensions between these two nations that refer to the time of colonialism which
India has managed to become an independent state with its own political system and is still working to
find its own identity. The longer the process of decolonisation lasts, the more we get the impression that
only a middle course between the acceptance of British legacies and the creation of a new unique Indian
self-confidence will be the right way to go for India.


What are the most convincing factors that help explain the decline in dominance of the Congress
Party in Indias political system?
Indias political system is commonly described as being a multi-party system. This is a system of
political representation involving 3 or more political parties. Each political party has the capacity to
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control government either by its own or through coalitions with other parties. India is a federal republic;
therefore, this multi-party structure is implemented at both the regional and national levels.
Rajni Kothari offers a more in-depth analysis and definition of Indias political system. The author
accepts the common notion of Indias political system being a multi-party one, but also goes further to
qualify the system as a multi-party system with one party dominance, (Kothari 1964: 1162).
Kothari defines a one-party dominant system as, a competitive party system but one in which the
competing parts pay dissimilar roles and one which consists of, parties of pressure and parties of
consensus. Parties of pressure operate within the margin of pressure. This is comprised of opposition
parties to the ruling party or parties. Their main role is to, pressure, criticize, censure and influence the
ruling party and act as a balance of power on the ruling party, by exerting the latent threat to displace
the ruling party if it strays too far from a balance of public opinion, (Kothari 1964: 1162). The parties
of consensus are the political parties, which are part of the ruling consensus. The system depends on the
sensitivity of the margin of pressure, where the parties of pressure operate, ensure suitable checks and
balance on the ruling consensus and ensure the accountability of the parties of consensus. Kothari
writing in 1964 identifies the Congress Party as the main consensus and therefore the dominant party
through which the Indian political system operates.
The Congress Party, officially known as the Indian National Congress (INC), was founded in 1885 as
a nationalist movement to achieve the independence of the Indian state from British colonial rule and
domination. It spearheaded the movement, which eventually culminated in Indias independence in
1947. Post-independence, the Congress Party became the dominant party in the electoral system,
dominating the Lok Sabha, the legislative branch of the Indian government and the state assemblies. It
also formed the first executive government with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister.
Over the years however, the Congress Party appears to be on a downward trend in terms of its
electoral dominance and has even been ousted more than once from majority control of seats in the
Indian Parliament.
This essay aims to critically assess the decline in the dominance of the Congress Party, a party that is
more or less synonymous with the Indian state. It will explore various possible reasons for the decline in
the partys dominance, such as association of the party with its political leader, emergence of viable
rival political parties and breakdown of the Congress Party into different factions, essentially reducing
its political power.
It will also attempt to assess the nature of the decline of the party, as a political party control is
measured by the percentage of political votes captured during elections. This measurement method
might fail to depict the true nature of the dominance or decline. It focuses solely on one arena and in the
Indian case, where corruption and election fraud is common case; dependence on such limited data
might present a skewed analysis.
The Congress Party, as previously stated, developed as a nationalist movement to ensure the
acquisition of an autonomous, sovereign Indian state, devoid of any control and intervention of the
British government, of which it was formerly a colony. Post-independence, the Congress Party acquired
a new role. As the dominant political party responsible for the first Indian government, it also had an
obligation towards nation building. Kothari argues that in many respects, post-independence, the
Congress Party continued to be a movement and not only a political party and evidence of this is present
in its nation building objective, an objective which, has determined many of the present characteristics
of the Indian political system, (Kothari 1964: 1167). Therefore, an extreme argument or conclusion
could be that a decline of the Congress Party would also mean a decline of the Indian state as they can
be described as one and the same, since the Congress Party was more or less responsible for its
development. This points to the ambiguity of the term decline.
Political dominance, weakness and decline are usually measured in terms of electoral votes, i.e., the
percentages of votes won by a political party in elections. The role of a political party is to represent the
public demand. Therefore elections are direct measurement of the power and influence of a political
party, as it measures how much it represents the publics demands. Public approval is the key element in
determining party dominance or decline.
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Figure 1: Percentage of total seats obtained by the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha and the State
Assemblies in 1952, 1957 and 1962.

As illustrated in Graph 1, it is evident that the Congress Party in the early years of political
governance in India was the dominant political party. It acquired at least 70% of votes in the Lok Sabha
in 1952, 1957 and 1962. Its dominance was not limited to the national level. It was reflected also in
state level assemblies, where although their dominance was not as strong as it was nationally, it was still
a reckoning force. However, this trend of party dominance does not continue for the Congress party and
from the late 1960s and early 1970s, there is a noted decline in their political power. Subsequent
paragraphs will attempt to provide some explanation as to the reasons behind this potential decline in
the political power of the Congress Party.
A potential reason for the decline of Congress Party dominance could the over-association of the
political party with the political leader. It is a fairly common occurrence for a political party to be
associated and in some ways shaped by the ideals and ideologies of its political leader, e.g., the Labour
Party in the United Kingdom became re-defined by the its leader, Tony Blair in 1997. There are also
instances where the political leader in many respects over-shadows the political party completely. They
become forces in their own right, e.g., the Late John F. Kennedy developed a political persona, which
superseded his political party, the Democrats.
In the case of the Congress Party, its political leaders have had a greater impact on its organisation and
development, to the extent that stages in its timeline are defined by the personality of its political
leaders. Kothari argues that the nature of the post of the leader in the Congress Party is such that a lot of
power in centralised in the singular position, which in effect weakened the political party. Evidence of
this can be found even at its inception and beginning as a political party. Its first leader, Jawaharlal
Nehru was Mahatma Gandhis appointed successor after his death. Therefore, he had a legitimacy,
which although might have been personally objected, was publicly revered and declared both by the
public and other potential competitors. The legitimacy wielded by Nehru served as both a blessing and
curse for the Congress Party. It provided it with public approval and acceptance but in terms of its
internal organizational structure, it proved, at worst, destructive.
Kothari states, in a sense, the Nehru period was an exceptional period in Indias history, one that was
so necessary, but not so normal. This had its effect on the working of the party system. While the
congress gained in strength owing to factors described above, Nehru in another way weakened the party
by concentrating power in his own hands and through acting as if only he could hold the country
together, (Kothari 1964: 1171). The impact of the leadership position on the Congress Party was not
limited to Nehru. Although attempts were made to re-enforce the partys internal organizational
structure in the form of the Kamaraj Plan, the Congress Party continued to be manipulated and
perceived in accordance with its leader; a trait, which has been both advantageous and harmful to the
Leading from the centralisation of power in the post of political leader, another potential reason for
the decline in the dominance of the Congress Party could be the growing unpopularity of the partys
leaders and policies. A direct example of this is the regime of Indira Gandhi and subsequently her son,
Rajiv Gandhi. The reign of Indira was a period, which saw the break-up of the Congress party, the
institution of a state of emergency, (1975-1977), in which the military was frequently used to curb civil
unrest or disobedience. It was also a period in which the Congress Party, by nature of its political leader
was associated with corruption and electoral malpractice. The Supreme Court of India declared the
Premiership won by Indira in 1971 void in 1975 on the grounds of electoral malpractice, after being
found guilty of misappropriating government funds for party campaigning. The illegitimacy and
growing unpopularity of Indiras government and effectively, the Congress Party was one shared by the
Indian public and external speculators.
Figure 2: Authority Trends, 1950-2006: India[2]
Figure 2 is a depiction of the measurement of the level of democracy of the India government since
independence in 1947on an index with 10 being the highest level of a democratic state. During the reign
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of Indira (1966-1984), India experienced a fall in the index as a result of undemocratic use of power,
authoritarianism and increasing levels of corruption in Indira Gandhis government.
Indiras reign also saw the Congress Party being ousted from political leadership. The 1977 elections
saw the downfall of the Congress Party from a majority position in the Indian Parliament, the Lok
Sabha by the Janata Party. It was essentially an ad hoc party, an amalgamation of political parties
opposed to the institution of the state of emergency and the violent methods adopted during its tenure.
Morarji Desai, a former member and dissident of the Congress Party, led the Party. The Janata Party
achieved 41.32% of the votes, while the Congress Party only managed 34.52%[3].
The Congress Party did not suffer electoral decline and defeat solely based on the perception and
popularity of its leaders. The development of worthy competitors to the dominance of the Congress
Party also supported its decline. The Janata Party formed during the state of emergency in India and its
main successor, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently a major political party in India and
as of the most recently political elections, with 21.36% of the seats, is the main opposition to the
Congress Party who has 37.94%.
The breakup of the Congress Party during the reign of Indira Gandhi and the internal political rivalries
during this period was also another potential reason for its decline. One of the main appeals of the
Congress Party was its ability to accommodate and absorb different political parties within its mandate.
This was a tactic, which became established during the reign of Nehru, whose main political tactic was
to assimilate conflict rather than suppress it. This tactic is in tune with the argument of Atul Kohli and
the effect of a leadership strategy and the level of institutionalization of the state. An extension of his
argument could be that the be applied to the strategy adopted by Nehru, coupled with a relatively high
level of institutionalization of the Congress Party, the outcome is inline with the authors inverse U
effect, wherein the demands of the opposition once assimilated into the ruling party, reduce.
The breakup of the Congress Party and Indiras tactic of repression only escalated their decline. The
break-up reduced their level representation as instead of the votes being awarded to a single party, it was
dispersed amongst smaller parties. Indiras tactic of repression prevented the potential assimilation of
opposition groups and the strengthening of the Congress Party, culminating in a total loss for the
Congress Party.
Automatic assumption or supposition that the Congress Party has in fact declined should be avoided
as the nature in which its decline has been measured could be contested. Majority of the data presented
in preceding paragraphs indicate the decline of the Congress Party in terms of electoral votes.
Measurement of the Congress Party based on a single source, a source which is not only limited, but
also whose validity could also be questioned.
The Congress Party as previously stated is extremely entrenched in the political structure of the Indian
state. It was responsible for establishing the norms and ideology on which the current Indian state rests
on. The Congress Party ideals of secularism, social democracy and social liberalism are ideologies,
which are embedded in the Indian constitution and government. Therefore a decline of the Congress
Party would surely mean a decline in these values and ideologies also.
Furthermore, the use and focus on electoral data to determine the level of dominance or decline of a
political party, in the case of the Congress Party, it would also prove to be insufficient. This is because,
analysis of the data would present evidence supporting the dominance of the Congress Party as well as
its decline, i.e., the most recent election figures saw the Congress Party acquiring majority of votes cast,
in an era where it is claimed to be in decline. The data therefore is such that, depending on the
interpretation, it can be manipulated to support either scenario as decline or dominance is a relative
In conclusion, it is extremely difficult to assess the level of decline of the Congress Party in Indian
national politics. It is a historical pervasive party that has been a constant source of admiration and
disapproval. It has provided India with some of its most prominent Prime Ministers and is its longest
standing political party. Therefore it would be inappropriate to use the term decline to define the state
of the party. A more suitable term to define it would be evolving. As with most processes, the
evolutionary process is a learning one with highs and lows, of which the Congress Party is no exception.
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The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of
India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India on the eve ofreorganization of states on
linguistic basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an
interstate river[1] or river valley.[2] Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central
government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the states/regional
governments.[3] This Act further has undergone amendments subsequently and its most recent
amendment took place in the year 2002.
IRWD Act (section 2c2) validates the previous agreements (if any) among the basin states to harness
water of an interstate river/ river valley. River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction
(entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7of Indian Constitution).
Water disputes[edit]
IRWD Act is applicable only to interstate rivers / river valleys. An action of one state should affect the
interests of one or more other states. Then only water dispute has arisen under IRWD Act (section 3).
It can be divided into two independent parts for clarity purpose in understanding the techno-legal
application of IRWD Act
Actions of a downstream state affecting the interest of an upstream state[edit]
A downstream states action can affect the upstream state interest only in one case. I.e. when a
downstream state is building a dam / barrage near its state boundary and submerging the territory of an
upstream state on permanent / temporary basis. Other than this action, no other action of a downstream
state could affect the upstream states interest which they have been using for economical, ecological and
spiritual/ religious aspects. The meaning of the word interest in this context is concern / importance /
significance / relevance / consequence of losing the prevailing water use / purpose.
Actions of an upstream state affecting the interest of a downstream state[edit]
Whereas all the actions of an upstream state to use or control or distribute the water of an interstate river
can affect the downstream states in one way or other. The following are some examples but not


Consuming river water for any beneficial use such as irrigation, drinking water, industrial,
recreation, recharging of ground water, ground water use, enhanced evaporation losses,
enhancing rain water use efficiency, obstructing non flood flows of the river, transferring water
to outside the river basin, etc. (i.e. any manmade /aided action of converting water into water
vapor & losing to atmosphere by evapotranspiration / evaporation processes and also
transferring river water outside the river basin). This is generally done by constructing water
storage reservoirs and subsequently using water for above purposes.
Quality of water can also be diminished / altered/ controlled in the action of using water. It
would take place by accumulating the dissolved salts in the remaining water after its use. The

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dissolved salts content of water increases due to its consumption and also addition of more salts
by anthropogenic activity. Also causing water more silt laden / turbid is a manmade water
quality alteration which can be caused by mining and deforestation activities. Bringing water
from other river basins for upstream states use also effects water quality in downstream states.[5]
Generally river water is transferred to water deficit areas for use after creating the infrastructure for its
storage (water reservoirs) and distribution network (canals, pipelines, ground water charging, etc.). All
these acts fall under river water distribution and control category under IRWD Act. All the above
actions of an upstream state are legal causes of water dispute to the downstream states since their
existing interests are affected as given below:

Decrease in water availability:- When an upstream state contemplates water use, it would block
the lean season river flows initially by constructing low cost barrages and tries to store the peak
flood waters ultimately by constructing massive water storage reservoirs. In this process the river
flow regime is altered drastically converting it ephemeral / dry in most of the time except during
floods.[6] It also alters the ecology of the river located in downstream states affecting its riverine
vegetation and aquatic flora & fauna. Already the delta area of rivers are eroding / shrinking when
adequate river water is not reaching sea. This process of river water harnessing affects the
downstream states interests as they are deprived of constantly available river water which they had
been using for their interests. Alternatively, downstream state needs to store more flood water in
reservoirs to cater to the existing water use.

Deterioration in water quality:- If the water use is 67% of the total available water in the river,
the dissolved salts in the river water increases by three folds. Alteration in river water quality /
alkalinity / salinity effects growth of traditionally cultivated crops as they are not best suitable with
the enhanced soil alkalinity and or soil salinity. They either give lesser yield or consume more
saline water for the same yield.[7] Also the aquatic flora & fauna would face survival threat /
diminished growth with the enhanced water salinity and or alkalinity. If the river is blocked to reach
the Sea (i.e. basin closure) in most of the years, the ecology / fisheries of the surrounding Sea / river
mouth area is also affected. Also there is threat of Sea water ingress into estuaries / delta of the river
contaminating ground water.[8]

The use or control or distribution of river water in an upstream state is invariably denial of prevailing
use / purpose in the downstream state as it is altering natural flow regime of river water with respect to
quantity, quality and time of availability in downstream states. Also dam failures in upstream states can
create flash floods or further dam failures in downstream states causing unprecedented property damage
and loss of human lives. IRWD Act (section 3) clearly stipulates that mere anticipation of a riparian
state actions which can affect other riparian state interests is enough to raise interstate water dispute.
The activities of an upstream state without effecting downstream states interests are peak flood control
measures by impounding the flood waters only (not base flows) in 100% or more capacity storage
reservoirs for use and run off hydro power generation taken up in its territory.
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Constitution of Tribunal[edit]
Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an
interstate river waters, section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of
Tribunal.[9] As per section 5.2 of the Act, the tribunal shall not only adjudicate but also investigate the
matters referred to it by the central government and forward a report setting out the facts with its
decisions. It implies that the tribunal responsibility is not limited to adjudication of issues raised by the
concerned states and also investigation of other aspects which are in public domain such as water
pollution, salt export requirement, water quality deterioration, flood control, sustainability of river basin
productivity & its ecology, environmental flow requirements, climate change effects, etc.[10] The
tribunals verdict is equivalent to Supreme Court verdict when pronounced in the ambit of IRWD Act.
When the tribunal final verdict issued based on the deliberations on the draft verdict is accepted by
central government and notified in the official gazette, the verdict becomes law and binding on the
states for implementation.
Amendment 2002[edit]
This amendment specifically does not permit altering the prevailing tribunal verdicts issued before the
year 2002 (i.e. but not the tribunal awards issued after the year 2002). Thus this amendment bars the
tribunals to give any time period/validity for constituting a new tribunal. This is to keep provision to
resolve fresh water disputes which were not addressed by earlier tribunals/ agreements as and when they
surface. A permanent water dispute tribunal is contemplated to resolve the growing number of interstate
river water disputes expeditiously.[11]
The Tribunal Awards[edit]
Till now three tribunal awards are notified in official gazette by the Government of India. These are
water dispute tribunals allocating river water use by the riparian states for Krishna (tribunal 1),
Godavari[12] and Narmada[12] rivers. All these tribunal awards were issued before the year 2002 which
cannot be altered by the new tribunals. The tribunals formed on sharing water of Ravi & Beas rivers,
Cauvery / Kaveri river,[13] Vamsadhara River,[14] Mahadayi / Mandovi River[15] and Krishna
River (tribunal 2 )[16] are either yet to pronounce the verdicts or the issued verdicts are to be accepted by
the Government of India.
Recently, Cauvery water disputes tribunal order was notified by the GoI on 20 February 2013.
Establishment of authorities to implement a tribunal verdict[edit]
Under Section 6A of this Act, central government may frame a scheme or schemes to give effect to the
decision of a tribunal. Each scheme has provision to establish an authority for implementation of a
tribunal verdict. However, every scheme and all its regulations shall be approved by parliament.
In the case of Cauvery River basin, SC directed the GoI to set up a temporary Supervisory Committee to
implement the tribunal order till the constitution of Cauvery Management Board by GoI. GoI
established the said temporary Supervisory Committee on 22 May 2013.[17] In the case of Babli

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barrage dispute, SC itself constituted the Supervisory Committee to implement the water sharing
agreement between Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in middle Godavari sub basin.[18]
Data bank and information system[edit]
Under Section 9A of this Act, central government shall maintain a data bank and information system at
national level for each river basin. State governments shall provide all the data regarding water
resources, land, agriculture and matters related thereto as requested by the central government. Central
government is also vested with powers to verify the data supplied by the state governments. However,
many state governments (ex: Maharashtra,Chattishgarh, etc) have not been furnishing the land use data
in their states (Tables 14 to 16 of Integrated Hydrological Data Book, 2012) and Central Water
Commission of MoWR is not pursuing the matter earnestly to get the data which is vital in water
resources planning.[


Aristotles Theory of Revolution: Causes and Methods to Prevent Revolution!
Aristotle explained in great detail the theory of revolution. It is his study of nearly 158 constitutions that
helped him understand the implications of revolutions on a political system. In his work, Politics, he
discussed at length all about revolutions. Based on his study, Aristotle gave a scientific analysis and
expert treatment to the subject of revolutions. He gave a very broad meaning to the term revolution
which meant two things to him.
Firstly, it implies any major or minor change in the constitution such as a change in monarchy or
oligarchy and so on. Secondly, it implies a change in the ruling power even though it did not lead to a
change in the government or the constitution. He further stated that a revolution could be either direct or
indirect, thereby affecting a particular institution.
Causes of Revolution:
According to Aristotle, the two categories of causes of revolution are general and particular.
The following is a brief explanation of each of the causes of revolutions:
General Causes:
According to Aristotle, revolutions take place when the political order fails to correspond to the
distribution of property and hence tensions arise in the class structure, eventually leading to revolutions.
Arguments over justice are at the heart of the revolution.
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Generally speaking, the cause of revolution is a desire on the part of those who are devoid of virtue and
who are motivated by an urge to possess property, which is in the name of their opponents. In other
words, the cause of upheaval is inequality.
Aristotle listed certain general causes of revolutions that affect all types of governments and states.
They are: the mental state or feelings of those who revolt; the motive, which they desire to fulfill; the
immediate source or occasion of revolutionary outburst.
The mental state is nothing but a desire for equality and it is a state of disequilibrium. Another clear
objective of those rebel or revolt is to gain honour. Apart from these, Aristotle provided some more
reasons, which are psychological as well as political in nature that lead to revolutions. As far as
psychological factors are concerned.
They are as follows:
1. Profit means that the officers of the state try to make illicit gains at the expense of the individual or of
the public. It puts the latter to an undeserved loss and creates a mood of discontent.
2. Rebellions occur when men are dishonored rightly or wrongly and when they see others obtaining
honors that they do not deserve. If like-minded people join the movement when the government fails to
redress their grievances.
3. Revolutions occur when insolence or disrespect is displayed by the other members. A revolutionary
climate would be soon created, especially when the state officials become haughty, arrogant and drunk
with power, or pay no attention to the genuine problems of the people.
This leads to a deep divide in the society, especially between the state and the people. Over a period of
time, peoples complaints against corrupt officials increase which culminate into revolutions.
4. Fear is a genuine and a worst enemy of man and human institutions. It disturbs peace of mind and
other emotions. Revolutions can occur either out of fear of punishment for a wrong actually committed
or a fear of an expected wrong to be inflicted on the person who is afraid.

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5. Contempt is closely related to revolution. This contempt can be towards rules, laws, political and
economic situations, social and economic order. The contempt is also due to inequalities, injustices, lack
of certain privileges and the like.
6. Finally, revolutions are also the result of imbalances in the disproportionate increase in the power of
the state that creates a gap between the constitution and the society. In the end, the constitution reflects
social realities, the balances of social and economic forces.
If this balance is disturbed, the constitution is shaken and it will either get modified or will perish. For
instance, if the number of poor people increases, the polity may be destroyed. Similarly, if there are
more numbers of rich in the government, it may lead to an oligarchical set-up. Thus, any sharp
differences in the polity would result in revolutions.
As regards the political factors, issues such as elections intrigues, carelessness, neglecting small
changes, growth in reputation and power of some office, or even balance of parties lead to deadlock and
finally foreign influence.
A brief explanation of these factors is as follows:
1. Election maneuvering greatly disturbs peoples faith in the constitutional process. If they succeed,
they prevent the constitution from functioning efficiently or else they create much more troubles. These
election manipulations not only frustrate the public opinion, but also destroy virtue and good life and
they generate new social issues such as corruption, bribery, nepotism, favoritism and the like.
2. The foundations of the state can be devastated due to carelessness or willful negligence leading to
revolutions. If the rulers are careless while selecting the officials, anti-social elements would creep in
and subvert the entire constitution. In such conditions, a trivial matter of just selecting suitable officials
with little care proves to be the most fatal.
3. A statesman must never neglect any small issue relating to the governance. If decisions are made in
haste without considering its implication such actions are likely to lead to an uproar. It is for this reason;
Aristotle stated that a need for overhauling the entire system actually comes when small changes are
overlooked. He also warned leaders that appearances are deceptive and can create problems.

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4. As regards the influence of the powerful neighbouring states, which have an impact on the
constitution, especially when the constitution of the other nation happens to be of a different type.
Particular Causes:
Apart from the general causes of revolution, Aristotle also gave certain specific causes in various types
of states. For instance, in democracies, discontentment is bred by the demagogues who attack the rich
either individually or collectively and build hatred among the people who become revengeful and
violent and this situation leads to conflicts.
In oligarchies, revolutions occur when masses experience an unpleasant treatment by the officials
resulting in dissensions within the governing class. Personal disputes may further the flames of fire and
though imperceptible, changes in the class structure of society may invisibly alter the ethos.
Aristotle further believed that it is not necessary that oligarchy become democracy or vice versa, but
they might change into a completely different system altogether. In aristocracies, revolutions occur
when the circle of the rulers get narrowed down and become thinner and thinner. It is, in fact, the
disequilibrium in the balance of the different elements or parts of the constitution that causes
As far as the monarchies and the tyrannies are concerned, revolutions are caused by insolence,
resentment of insults, fears, contempt, desire for fame, influence of neighbouring states, sexual offences
and physical infirmities.
Methods to Prevent Revolutions:
Aristotle in order to ensure that there are lesser chances of revolutions suggested the following
methods to prevent them:
Aristotle called upon the kings to believe in one principle maxim that prevention is better than cure.
He wanted the rulers to obey laws even in smallest matters. He believed that transgression, of even in
small amounts, would sooner or later result in total disrespect and violation. Further taking cue from the
rulers, if people start breaking the laws, the entire social order would be at stake.

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He strongly advised the rulers that they must believe that they can fool some people all the time, all the
people for some time and not all the people all the time. In other words, people should not be taken for
granted, and sooner or later they will explode with suddenness that might take the rulers by surprise.
He also stated that the rulers must provide due care to all those people in their domain. They should not
discriminate between the officer and commoner, between governing and non-governing and the like.
The principle of democratic equality must be followed.
Further, every citizen must be given a chance to express their opinions about the government and that
the tenure of the officials must be short-term. By this method, oligarchies and aristocracies would not
fall into the hands of the families.
As the internal feuds among the rulers would sap the energy and unity of a state, the ruler must be on
constant vigil and keep all quarrels and seditions among rulers at a distance. No person or official
should either be raised to the highest position or suddenly stunned. There has to be a balance.
Those who have acquired too much wealth or amassed great wealth must be ostracized or banished and
no single society should be allowed to establish its dominance over the other. To achieve this, offices
must be given to the opposite elements like the rich and the poor, in order to maintain a balance.
Aristotle further stated that public offices must not be made lucrative. By doing this, the poor would not
be attracted and the rich might occupy them without any additional advantage.
The poor then stick to their work and grow rich, and the rich would occupy offices without getting
richer. Under these conditions, the poor would have satisfaction that they all have jobs, and the rich, on
the other hand, would be satisfied that they occupied high positions.
Thus, democracy and aristocracy would be combined to produce a stable polity. The retiring officer
should hand over the charge of public funds to another in public, and the officers whose performance
was good must be honoured.
He further stated that the rich should not be allowed to exhibit their riches as it rouses jealousies among
others. Finally, a statesman interested in avoiding revolution must prevent extremes of poverty and
wealth, as it is this condition that leads to conflicts. He must encourage colonization as an outlet for a
dangerously congested population and he should foster and practice religion.
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Secondly, Aristotle opined that quality ruler would never be able to stop revolutions. So to ensure this
quality, rulers, must be first loyal to constitution, secondly, they should be competent, able and worthy
and perform their duties, thirdly, they must have goodness and justice that is suitable to the nature of
each constitution, if there is any lack of an able person to serve as the ruler, a combination of persons
will also help to prevent revolutions.
Finally, Aristotle argues that a correct system of education is the most effective instrument for curbing
the revolutionary instinct and preserves social order.
Relationship between Political Science and Philosophy!
(1) Initially, Political Science was called Political Philosophy.
(2) Study of philosophy of State i.e. Political Thought is a part of the study of Political Science.
(3) Philosophy provides to Political Science knowledge of ideal human behaviour, political values, good
and bad in political theory, right and wrong laws, policies and governmental decisions and theory of
ideal social-political institutions.
(4) Philosophy also studies ideal political behaviour, good political values, ideal political institutions
and ideal political conduct. Ideal political reforms and political ideologies Individualism liberalism
socialism, communism and others. It is a part of the study of Political Science. Each political ideology
is a particular and distinct philosophy of state.
Thus Political Science and Philosophy are related but two different and distinct disciplines of study.
Each uses the knowledge of other.
Difference in the Nature and Scope of Philosophy and Political Science:
Philosophy is much broader subject of study than Political Science. It involves the study of ideal, values
and the good of human behaviour in its all dimension Social, Economic, Political, Cultural,
Religions, Educational and others. It specifies what is good and what should be done in each aspect of
human behaviour and relations. It prescribes universal values for all human beings. It is a normative
science of human behaviour and values.
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Compared to it, Political Science studies both political facts and values but gives primary importance to
the study of facts (i.e. what is there and what is actually observed and observable). It also studies
political values of each society and state of the world, but such a study enjoys only a limited importance
in the study of Political Science. In contemporary times Political Science is being built as a science of
politics and not as a philosophy of state.
In ancient times Political Science was defined as Political Philosophy. Political Science is the science of
Politics -State, Government, Nation, all political institutions and political relations i.e. power relations
in society. While studying the concepts of state, government, political institutions, constitutions, law,
rights, freedom and political reforms, Political Science makes a normative study of all these concepts.
Political Science seeks to answer such questions as: What is the best State? What should the state do
and what it should not do? Which are best laws and policies? What social and political reforms should
be introduced by the State? Which is the best form of government?
What is the right and ideal political conduct? While answering these questions, Political Science enters
the realm of Philosophy. It depends on philosophy for finding answers to these normative questions.
However, in contemporary times, Political Science is defined as the science and not philosophy of state,
government and politics. It is held to be an empirical science of politics and not a normative philosophy
of State. Political Science is projected as a science and not as a philosophy.
Philosophy involves a normative study of Human Conduct and Relations and which includes a
study of State and Human Political Relations:
Philosophy is the study of what is good and bad? What is the ideal? What is highest good? It specifies
values which should govern human conduct and relations in society. Study of moral values and norms
(Ethics) is a part of the scope of philosophy.
Study of Philosophy of State, Study and prescription of political values, Study of best political
institutions, Theory of best state, ideal political reforms, normative i.e. value-based theory of state,
political ideologies and, in fact a normative study of similar other topics and issues stand included in the
scope of philosophy. Hence it is related to Political Science but its approach is different.
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A large number of modern political scientists accept the relationship between Political Science and
Plato was born in Athens in 427 BC when the civilization of ancient Greece was at the zenith of glory
and eminence. He belonged to royal blood of aristocracy, from his mothers side he was related to
Solan, the law giver. He made efforts to discover the eternal principles of human conduct i-e justice,
temperance and courage which alone imbibed the happiness to the individual and stability to the states.
In 399 BC, the turning point came in the life of Plato, the defeat of Athens by Sparta made him to
despise democracy.
He wandered abroad for twelve years in Persia, Egypt, Africa, Italy and Sicily in the hours of
disillusionment, absorbing wisdom from every source and tasting every creedal dogma. Then he
returned to Athens and opened an academy. He wrote about 36 treaties all in the form of dialogues. His
academy became the best school in Athens.
Work of Plato
The Republic is the most important and authentic work of Plato. It was about political philosophy,
ethics, education and metaphysics.
Other works of Plato include: The Politicus, The Apology, The Meno, The Protagoras, The
Gorgias, and The Critias.

The Republic and Plato

The true romance of the Republic is the romance of free intelligence, unbound by custom,
untrained indeed by human stupidity and self will, able to direct the forces, even of customs and
stupidity themselves along the road to a national life. (Prof. Sabine)
The Republic is an excellent product of Platos maturity. It is a major contribution to political
philosophy, education, economics, moral aspects of life and metaphysics.
Platos Republic known as Respublica in Latin is translated from Greek word Politeia or Polity
which means a political constitution in general. It is an achievement of comprehension, perfection and
universality of thought. It presents a picture not of any existing state in Greek but of an ideal state in
which weakness of the existing states were to be avoided.
Rousseau said, The Republic is not a mere work upon politics but the finest treatise on education
that ever was written.
Main feature of the Republic is the virtue of knowledge. Plato was of the view that different classes and
individuals had different capacities for the attainment of virtues. The labor class showed the least
capacity. Philosophers were the best entitled to rule the state because of their superiority in virtue. Plato
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considered justice to be the supreme virtue and his ideal state be dwelt with it. We can say that the
Republic is his master piece. Platos Republic is the crowning achievement of art, science and
According to Baker, The mainspring of the Republic is Platos aversion to contemporary
Capitalism and his great desire to substitute a new scheme of Socialism.
The Republic contains a good deal of criticism on contemporary institutions, opinions and practices.
The Republic represents a strong protest against the teachings of Sophists and the existing social and
political corruption.
Plato stresses that state should not be an assembly of corrupt and selfish individuals but be a
communion of souls united for the pursuit of justice and truth and also for the welfare of the people.

Platos Achievement
Platos greatest achievement may be seen firstly in that he, in opposing the sophists, offered to decadent
Athens, which had lost faith in her old religion, traditions, and customs, a means by which civilization
and the citys health could be restored: the recovery of order in both the polis and the soul.
The best, rational and righteous political order leads to the harmonious unity of a society and allows all
the citys parts to pursue happiness but not at the expense of others. The characteristics of a good
political society, of which most people can say it is mine (462c), are described in the Republicby four
virtues: justice, wisdom, moderation, and courage. Justice is the equity or fairness that grants each
social group its due and ensures that each does ones own work (433a). The three other virtues
describe qualities of different social groups. Wisdom, which can be understood as the knowledge of the
whole, including both knowledge of the self and political prudence, is the quality of the leadership
(428e-429a). Courage is not merely military courage but primarily civic courage: the ability to preserve
the right, law-inspired belief, and stand in defense of such values as friendship and freedom on which a
good society is founded. It is the primary quality of the guardians (430b). Finally, moderation, a sense
of the limits that bring peace and happiness to all, is the quality of all social classes. It expresses the
mutual consent of both the governed and the rulers as to who should rule (431d-432a). The four virtues
of the good society describe also the soul of a well-ordered individual. Its rational part, whose quality is
wisdom, nurtured by fine words and learning, should together with the emotional or spirited part,
cultivated by music and rhythm, rule over the volitional or appetitive part (442a). Under the leadership
of the intellect, the soul must free itself from greed, lust, and other degrading vices, and direct itself to
the divine. The liberation of the soul from vice is for Plato the ultimate task of humans on earth.
Nobody can be wicked and happy (580a-c). Only a spiritually liberated individual, whose soul is
beautiful and well ordered, can experience true happiness. Only a country ordered according to the
principles of virtue can claim to have the best system of government.
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Platos critique of democracy may be considered by modern readers as not applicable to liberal
democracy today. Liberal democracies are not only founded on considerations of freedom and equality,
but also include other elements, such as the rule of law, multiparty systems, periodic elections, and a
professional civil service. Organized along the principle of separation of powers, todays Western
democracy resembles more a revised version of mixed government, with a degree of moderation and
competence, rather than the highly unstable and unchecked Athenian democracy of the fourth and fifth
century B.C.E., in which all governmental policies were directly determined by the often changing
moods of the people. However, what still seems to be relevant in Platos political philosophy is that he
reminds us of the moral and spiritual dimension of political life. He believes that virtue is the lifeblood
of any good society.
Moved by extreme ambitions, the Athenians, like the mythological Atlantians described in the
dialogue Critias, became infected by wicked coveting and the pride of power (121b). Like the
drunken Alcibiades from the Symposium, who would swap bronze for gold and thus prove that he did
not understand the Socratic teaching, they chose the semblance of beauty, the shining appearance of
power and material wealth, rather than the thing itself, the being of perfection (Symposium, 218e).
To the seen eye they now began to seem foul, for they were losing the fairest bloom from their
precious treasure, but to such who could not see the truly happy life, they would appear fair and
blessed (Critias, 121b). They were losing their virtuous souls, their virtue by which they could prove
themselves to be worthy of preservation as a great nation. Racked by the selfish passions of greed and
envy, they forfeited their conception of the right order. Their benevolence, the desire to do good, ceased.
Man and city are alike, Plato claims (Republic, 577d). Humans without souls are hollow. Cities
without virtue are rotten. To those who cannot see clearly they may look glorious but what appears
bright is only exterior. To see clearly what is visible, the political world out there, Plato argues, one has
first to perceive what is invisible but intelligible, the soul. One has to know oneself. Humans are
immortal souls, he claims, and not just independent variables. They are often egoistic, but the divine
element in them makes them more than mere animals. Friendship, freedom, justice, wisdom, courage,
and moderation are the key values that define a good society based on virtue, which must be guarded
against vice, war, and factionalism. To enjoy true happiness, humans must remain virtuous and
remember God, the perfect being.
Platos achievement as a political philosopher may be seen in that he believed that there could be a body
of knowledge whose attainment would make it possible to heal political problems, such as factionalism
and the corruption of morals, which can bring a city to a decline. The doctrine of the harmony of
interests, fairness as the basis of the best political order, the mixed constitution, the rule of law, the
distinction between good and deviated forms of government, practical wisdom as the quality of good
leadership, and the importance of virtue and transcendence for politics are the political ideas that can
rightly be associated with Plato. They have profoundly influenced subsequent political thinkers.

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