Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

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RoyG
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Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby RoyG » 25 Jun 2017 01:34

This thread is dedicated toward understanding historical political theory and governance models of the Indian subcontinent. The aim is to come up with a governance model which suits Indian conditions and can serve as an alternative to the British style of parliamentary democracy we adopted. The analysis should be very practical and should start at the individual level. What is the role of the individual, family, society, and political formations in the indian context?

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ShauryaT
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby ShauryaT » 04 Sep 2017 00:19

We need a thread like this to discuss political theory in light of the Indian experience and government models best suited for Indians. In order to start this process in earnest, we should not limit to the 1950 constitution or even the 1935 one. Indians should go back into their past and learn about 150 works of law from our history, study the major ones and evolve a system suited to current times.

Any model would seek to understand, what are the first principles that are held dear, what are the key objectives to achieve. What are some of the key paradigms that need to be incorporated in the polity. It is these first principles that need consensus, for the rest are details. Important details but details nevertheless. These first principle are incorporate as a pre-amble. Think of the constitution as an exposition of the pre-amble.

Next, comes the structure and limits of power. Goals and objectives need to be understood, along with the role of government. A lot of these concepts will never get codification but it is important to understand this "soft" principles. It is natural for the coded interpretations to veer towards these soft encodings and hence IMO important to debate and understand.

E.g: A democracy for, of and by the people is not part of any US code, but a soft principle that is well understood while interpretation and enforcement of US law. A culture which accepts a limited role for government is organized differently than say the UK, which has a tradition for a unitary form of government for a 1000 years or a Germany who's federal experiences are strong enough to force separate tax collection regimes for a unified VAT rate in Europe but yet seeks to do a soft promotion of an organized church while being secular in its formal approaches.

So, great thread, hope to contribute thoughts and learnings.

csaurabh
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby csaurabh » 04 Sep 2017 13:32

Why do we have people who are appointed to roles but have no ( or little ) actual power? eg. President

Do other countries have such roles?

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby SSharma » 04 Sep 2017 13:55

csaurabh wrote:Why do we have people who are appointed to roles but have no ( or little ) actual power? eg. President

Do other countries have such roles?


they are in every country





and are collectively called husbands

shiv
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby shiv » 07 Sep 2017 09:30

I do not want to spam or derail - but this is a "hi-funda" topic and I will try and contribute by posting my personal impressions of Indian society. I believe that Indian society - from the outset - maybe from 2000 BC was a "libertarian" society. The difference between western libertarianism and Indian society is that the latter arose as a reaction to government. Indian libertarianism arose de-novo in the absence of government.

The concept of the duties and obligations of dharma are suited to a libertarian society because dharma is a code for individual duties to uphold society. Society controls itself if every single individual follows dharma - or that is the theory. In fact this type of society operates at a very basic level in India. The level of policing in India is low and yet the level of petty crime in virtually unpoliced areas is also low. But Indian behaviour is does not conform to a "law abiding society"

Laws are rigid and unbending. A one way street is a one way street. Even a hearse carrying a dead body must not do down the wrong way. But in India "exceptions" are accepted by society to the extent that even police will accept exceptions to the law. Thousands upon thousands of examples of "exemption from law" can be named because society think that these should be exemptions. Helmets for two wheeler riders are the law. But a rider simply going from his house to the nearby grocery store feels he can break the law and everyone agrees.

A chain snatcher who grabs a lady's necklace, if caught, will be given a thorough beating before being handed to the police. Under dharma the act of stealing is wrong - but the sentence was left to individual micro-societies - a panchayat or a king in the old days. With the Indian Penal Code there are procedures and a court process. In a strict law abiding society the chain snatcher can lodge a counter complaint against those who beat him up and those people will have to face the law as well. These things are decrepit or absent from India

I see India as a libertarian society adapted to micro-government at a local self-governing level now being collected up into accepting a top-down system. I would say that those who made our constitution have done a very good job - but there could be improvements I guess. But my contribution ends here with no bright ideas.

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby kapilrdave » 09 Sep 2017 12:46

The very idea of some top elites creating rules/laws for 130 million people separated by culture, ethnicity, traditions, beliefs, climate and history is problematic to begin with. I mean, how can the rules applied to a Hariyanvi be same for a Tamilian? Sure there would have to be some broader principle applied/enforced to everyone. But it can't be like that at micro-est level.

The laws/rules are respected only when they are created by the people, observed by the people and enforced by the people at fairly micro level. Indian jurysystem has been very localized for thousands of years. People made their own rules based on their needs, they appointed their own panch for impartial delivery. On top of that, each sect had (and still has) their own rules and ideals which are followed by all from that sect. Our value system was purely based on the respect a person or a family has in the society and not by his wealth. One would refrain from doing any crime just to not shame his father's name.

This social system is in our DNA. That is why we are a low crime rate society despite the catastrophically pathetic state of jurysys and low enforcement. But our DNA is being overwritten very rapidly. So somehow we need to go backward to progress.

The panchayats should be given more and more powers and even ability to pass the local laws too. Then even supreme court will have to follow the laws passed by the panchayat. The more the laws are decentralized the better.

[OT]
You know why there is no violent demands for UCC in india by hindus despite it being atrociously partial? Because our culture has always supported the 'personal laws'. I know a few sects in hindus in which a man is considered impotent if there is no file on his name in the police station. Similarly, as long as muslim women are happy with 3T, who is anyone else to force it out? 3T is practiced since 7th century. If muslim women wanted, they would have abolished it long before. All anti-women social ills around the world have been removed by women themselves. They thrived as long as women supported. They vanished once support was vanished. So who is the supreme milord to judge the fate of muslim women? I support mullas' POV in this regard.
[/OT]

prasannasimha
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby prasannasimha » 09 Sep 2017 14:08

Thats Nonsene. So since Sati was being practiced does that give sanction to a wrong practice ?

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby kapilrdave » 09 Sep 2017 15:24

Sati is no more practiced. Right?
Besides, sati was practiced - in the form that we have been told in our text books - for a very short period of time and very sparely considering our vast history. But that is OT.

Mods, please try to fix this search feature yaar... I'm trying to search my old post on sati to no avail.

shiv
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby shiv » 09 Sep 2017 21:31

kapilrdave wrote:The very idea of some top elites creating rules/laws for 130 million people separated by culture, ethnicity, traditions, beliefs, climate and history is problematic to begin with. I mean, how can the rules applied to a Hariyanvi be same for a Tamilian? Sure there would have to be some broader principle applied/enforced to everyone. But it can't be like that at micro-est level.

Actually the constitution is very good here. Every state makes its own laws. Only ext affairs, finance and defence are the cnter's privilege. There is a also the Supreme Court to ensure that the constitution is upheld and there is a president who sits as a dummy - but can be made, in cases of emergency, the "king or India"

The Panchayat system still exists. If Panchayat says "No swagotra marriage" (marriage within gotra) that is the law. No escape. But Panchayat cannot make laws that go beyond what the constitution allows.

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby JayS » 09 Sep 2017 21:55

Good thread. I dont think I can contribute anything, but hoping to learn some. Just one khota paisa from a nanha mujahidin - I think what we need is a system where the grass root level is empowered in governance for majority of basic socio-economic and judicial matters (I think villages/towns would be a good unit for this with a relatively small population in every unit), while a strong centre which would form over-arching government to facilitate National level endeavours. As shiv pointed out we do not require a heavy handed Police state. We have been governing ourselves through our individual Dharma for centuries until recently when we were cut off from our roots. We can have a system rooted in our ancient past and our own values. But for that to succeed we need to resurrect Dharma as well. Obviously we will need to contextualize the system for today's world.

kapilrdave
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby kapilrdave » 10 Sep 2017 17:00

shiv wrote:
kapilrdave wrote:The very idea of some top elites creating rules/laws for 130 million people separated by culture, ethnicity, traditions, beliefs, climate and history is problematic to begin with. I mean, how can the rules applied to a Hariyanvi be same for a Tamilian? Sure there would have to be some broader principle applied/enforced to everyone. But it can't be like that at micro-est level.

Actually the constitution is very good here. Every state makes its own laws. Only ext affairs, finance and defence are the cnter's privilege. There is a also the Supreme Court to ensure that the constitution is upheld and there is a president who sits as a dummy - but can be made, in cases of emergency, the "king or India"

The Panchayat system still exists. If Panchayat says "No swagotra marriage" (marriage within gotra) that is the law. No escape. But Panchayat cannot make laws that go beyond what the constitution allows.

No. Panchayat can't do that. Not even the state.

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby shiv » 10 Sep 2017 17:11

kapilrdave wrote:No. Panchayat can't do that. Not even the state.

Need to check on this. The Panchayat can make laws that do not go against the Indian constitution. In fact the issue falls right within the ambit of this thread. Suppose the Panchayat rules against a swagotra marriage (as they are regularly reported as doing) the aggrieved party can only seek redressal via higher courts. I will dig into this further and post -but this is the information I have

OK got it!
Hindu Marriage Act 1955
5. Condition for a Hindu Marriage.- A marriage may be solemnized between any
two Hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
<snipsnipsnip>
(iv) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them
permits of a marriage between the two;
(v) the parties are not sapindas of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two


Definition of "Sapinda" from the same document
(f)(i)"Sapinda relationship" with reference to any person extends as far as the third generation(inclusive) in the line of ascent through
the mother, and the fifth (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the father, the line being traced upwards in each case from the person concerned, who is to be counted as the first generation;
(ii) two persons are said to be "sapinda" of each other if one is a lineal ascendant of the other within the limits of sapinda relationship, or if they have a common lineal ascendant who is within the limits of sapinda relationship with reference to each of them


In practice - if the Gotra is the same it is considered "sapinda"

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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby krisna » 10 Sep 2017 21:05

shiv wrote:I do not want to spam or derail - but this is a "hi-funda" topic and I will try and contribute by posting my personal impressions of Indian society. I believe that Indian society - from the outset - maybe from 2000 BC was a "libertarian" society. The difference between western libertarianism and Indian society is that the latter arose as a reaction to government. Indian libertarianism arose de-novo in the absence of government.

The concept of the duties and obligations of dharma are suited to a libertarian society because dharma is a code for individual duties to uphold society. Society controls itself if every single individual follows dharma - or that is the theory. In fact this type of society operates at a very basic level in India. The level of policing in India is low and yet the level of petty crime in virtually unpoliced areas is also low. But Indian behaviour is does not conform to a "law abiding society"

Laws are rigid and unbending. A one way street is a one way street. Even a hearse carrying a dead body must not do down the wrong way. But in India "exceptions" are accepted by society to the extent that even police will accept exceptions to the law. Thousands upon thousands of examples of "exemption from law" can be named because society think that these should be exemptions. Helmets for two wheeler riders are the law. But a rider simply going from his house to the nearby grocery store feels he can break the law and everyone agrees.

A chain snatcher who grabs a lady's necklace, if caught, will be given a thorough beating before being handed to the police. Under dharma the act of stealing is wrong - but the sentence was left to individual micro-societies - a panchayat or a king in the old days. With the Indian Penal Code there are procedures and a court process. In a strict law abiding society the chain snatcher can lodge a counter complaint against those who beat him up and those people will have to face the law as well. These things are decrepit or absent from India

I see India as a libertarian society adapted to micro-government at a local self-governing level now being collected up into accepting a top-down system. I would say that those who made our constitution have done a very good job - but there could be improvements I guess. But my contribution ends here with no bright ideas.


8) good post fit for social media discussion with some modifications.

kapilrdave
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby kapilrdave » 11 Sep 2017 12:39

shiv wrote:
In practice - if the Gotra is the same it is considered "sapinda"

Shivji, sapinda is not gotra. Gotra has is a very long lineage. And panchayat can't pass any law.

This hindu marriage act can be changed or modified only by the central govt.

The point I'm trying to make is that, there are so many such social issues which can't be controlled by the central government. Those rules mean absolutely nothing unless the practitioners have their consent. Even if the central govt bans sagotra marriages today, they will not succeed because people have largely stopped caring about it.

Look at the 3T issue. Supreme milord rejecting it is just the waste of everyone's time. Muslim women will happily continue it. Mullahs immediately showed the middle finger to the court by coming up with two other mechanism for instant talaq just after the court judgement. Where does their confidence come from?

kapilrdave
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Re: Indian Political Theory and Governance Models

Postby kapilrdave » 11 Sep 2017 12:48

shiv wrote: I would say that those who made our constitution have done a very good job

The makers of constitution have done a fairly decent job of capy/pasting. There were better sources from where they could have done it. Ironically (or may be not), all those better sources were Bhartiya! :roll:

For example, minimum age of marriage for girls is 18 and for boys it's 21. But a 70 years old man marring a 25 year old girl is not illegal. Whereas in Manusmriti, the difference of age between the couple is given more importance.


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