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The Indian National Congress: An Analytical Biography

Om P. Gautam (Author)
Synopsis The Indian National Congress is one of the oldest political party in the world and the oldest in Asia. Most works on the Congress are essentially historical narratives. Political studies of the Congress are is the behavioural framework and most deal with the post-independence Congress at state and local levels. There is no standard work that combines the pre and post independence periods and analyses the Congress from both historical and political perspectives. The present volume by Dr. Gautam combines both these perspectives and thus fills a gap in our knowledge about India’s dominant party. Situating the Congress, the mainstream of the Indian Nationalist movement, in the overall pre and post-independence process. Dr. Gautam in his broad sweep deals with social and political modernization, social mobilization and the emergence of social and political associations in the nineteenth century culminating in the birth of the Congress in 1885. Customary wisdom has described the early Congress as a pressure group which Gandhi converted into a mass movement and which became a political party after independence. The book rejects this somewhat neat and simplistic division and argues that the early Congress was a political movement aimed at changing the basic character of the Raj. During the Gandhian phase in addition to becoming a mass nationalist movement the Congress also showed signs of becoming an incipient political party. The book highlights this multifaceted character of the Congress. Its blueprint for post independence India as also its role as the dominant party in shaping the post-independence political and party systems has been analysed using polarized pluralism as the model. The Congress was the principal national building agency during the pre and post independence periods. The book elaborates the Congress’ model and strategies for nation building including the resolution of ethnic conflict and its conception of secularism. Analysis of linguistic politics underlines the strength and weaknesses of these models. Dr. Gautam’s analysis of the circumstances leading to the declaration of ‘emergency’ and the break up of the Congress in 1977, the emergence and break up of the Janata Party and the return of the Congress to power in 1980 is objective and neutral. Although written from an academic stand-point, it is hoped that the book will equally attract general readers interested in India’s nationalist movement and present politics.
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About the author

Om P. Gautam

Dr. Om P. Gautam is the Associate Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, Directorate of Correspondence Courses, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla., Apart from having taught in H.P. University Evening College Simla for nearly twenty years, Dr. Gautam was a Teaching and Research Fellow at Royalton College, Vermont, U.S.A. Dr. Gautam holds an M.A. each in History Political Science from Panjab University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from New School for Social Reearch, New York. Dr. Gautam has contributed a chapter on “Human Rights in India,.” In Adamantia Pollis and Peter Schwab, ed., Towards Human Rights Framework (Praeger, 1983). He has also participated in a number of regional and national seminars in Political Science.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Indian National Congress: An Analytical Biography
Author Om P. Gautam
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1985
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
length viii+400p., Tables; Figures; Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.
Subjects Biography