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State and the People: Political History of Government in India

Lakshmeshwar Dayal (Author)
Synopsis This is a study of India’s system of governance in terms of its accord with the people. The author has concluded that the post-independence administration, in deep political sense, is the same as was fashioned by the British for colonial purposes. Departing from conventional historiography, the author provides insights into the various stages of administrative development since 1793. By 1947, the year of independence, the Indian people found themselves held firmly within the surrounding arms of a vast bureaucracy. India’s leadership chose not only to retain the set-up but went on to aggravate it further. The system is alien to Indian tradition, and works adversely against the emergence of a democratic polity. On the other hand, there has been enough evidence of the Indian people’s capacity for self-realisation and resistance, as in the continual tribal movements in eastern India since 1778, the revolt of 1857, and the Quit India Movement of 1942. As a conceptual backdrop, the human individual’s place in power-structure in three great world traditions, the Western European, the ancient Indian, and the medieval Muslim, is etched out in comparative terms. Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary message of the empowerment of the people is given a special treatment. The long-range effects of people-state alienation are demonstrated in the political and economic decline in the State of Bihar. These have been assessed with reference to three areas closest to people’s lives, namely, education, land-relationships, and agriculture. The author is of the view that a satisfactory quality of life for the people cannot be gained without far-reaching, directional change in the mode of governance.
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About the author

Lakshmeshwar Dayal

Lakshmeshwar Dayal (b. 1926) was in the IAS and served as Addl. Secretary, Government of India, and Chief Secretary, Bihar. After retirement, he has made himself known as a social activist, columnist and public speaker. He undertook this study as Senior Fellow, Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi.

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Bibliographic information

Title State and the People: Political History of Government in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1998
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 817099702X
length xiv+331p., Tables; References; Index; 22cm.
Subjects History