The puzzle of Indian democracy: A Consociational interpretation
India has been the one major deviant case for consociational (power shar-
ing) theory, and its sheer size makes the exception especially damaging. A
deeply divided society with, supposedly, a mainly majoritarian type of
democracy, India nevertheless has been able to maintain its democratic
system. Careful examination reveals, however, that Indian democracy has
displayed all four crucial elements of power sharing theory. In fact, it was a
perfectly and thoroughly consociational system during its first two decades.
From the late 1960s on, although India has remained basically consociational, some of its power sharing elements have weakened under the pres-
sure of greater mass mobilization. Concomitantly, in accordance with
consociational theory, intergroup hostility and violence have increased.
Therefore, India is not a deviant case for consociational theory but, instead,
an impressive confirming case.