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CONCLUSION – DEMOCRACY AND ACTIVISM

A common theme throughout this volume has been the vibrancy of India’s democracy, which has been characterized from the beginning by the fl uid relationship between activism and parliamentary politics. Perhaps an inheritance of the Freedom Movement, both legal and political debates in India have continued to incorporate mass rallies, popular protests, and even civil disobedience. The fi rst parliamentarians all emerged from a civil disobedience movement and many were jailed during British colonial rule. When Jawaharlal Nehru walked into Parliament, he knew the effectiveness that protests outside those gates could have. The consequence was the government had to negotiate between activist politicians and parliamentary ones. Nehru did not always deal with such protests effectively. Language protests and a number of other moments of resistance provided him with diffi cult decisions about mass-movements – how to identify them, how to respond to them. The examples in this text included the incorporation of princely states and Goa, during which he had to confront different versions of the political will of the people.