chapter  4
28 Pages

On State, Society and Discourse in India

This chapter seeks to place the relation between state and society in India in a broader than usual perspective. It tries to do so in two ways. It tries first to set out the processes of modern Indian politics in terms of a long-term historical understanding, rather than pretend, as is often done, that all the causalities of politics somehow sprang up in 1947. Second, it suggests that the historical argument reveals problems of a theoretical character, and that without dealing with some of these methodological and philosophical issues it is impossible to tackle some of the difficulties faced by empirical explanations. The chapter is divided into four parts. The first makes some preliminary theoretical remarks, the second assesses some of the initiatives or proposals for modernity that the colonial power set in motion, the third tries to analyse what happens to these after independence, and the final part returns to some questions of theory.