ABSTRACT

India's political development has been nearly unique among the developing nations. Except for a twenty-month interlude during the latter portion of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's rule, India has been an open, competitive political system, with political parties contending for power within an electoral process. Human rights, especially freedom of the press and legal protection against political arrests, have been widely observed: virtually all major political groups, including those in opposition, view governmental authority as legitimate; participation in the political system at the local, district, state, and national levels has been remarkably widespread for a country with such a low level of literacy and urbanization; the power base of the governing elite has been fairly broad, encompassing both rural and urban interests; a dynamic balance has been established between various levels of governmental authority, especially between the state and central governments; the role of the military and the police in the political system has been small, and compared with most other political systems in the developing countries, authority has been relatively nonrepressive; and finally, the level of administrative capabilities, again compared with other developing countries, has been remarkably high.