In 1947 India gained independence. Yet, metaphorically speaking, the larger part of the country was still in the Dark Ages. There was an inherited colonial administration and a new government committed to a modern, socialist-style, democratic ideology. It was only very small elite that actually understood the principles embedded in this new world view. The vast majority still lived in an old, feudal world, peopled by big landlords and bonded labourers; a confined world structured along the lines of caste. How could this old world with its ‘colonial’ administration, be transformed into a modern democratic state modelled on western democracies? It could not. The old world simply went on. The attempts to put modern principles into practice were more or less absorbed into the traditional world. In the process, both the institutions derived from the modem principles and the old world changed.