What is China's view of Tamil nationalism

Populist Politics in India

Populism pp 65-87 | Cite as

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Part of the Analyzes book series (ANA, volume 79)

Summary

The historical forerunners of current populism also have a multitude of causes, forms and consequences. In addition, there is a theoretical uncertainty as to what the characteristic causes, forms and effects of populist politics are. It almost seems as if a respective historical, cultural or political structure primarily determines this phenomenon. This does not rule out that populism can in turn have an impact on these structures. This indeterminacy and influenceability of the phenomenon makes the task of depicting populist politics in India not more difficult, but easier. For if populism in the plural, as an empirical manifestation, becomes more tangible than in the singular of abstraction, definition and model, then India's federal democracy offers a variety of illustrative material for such populism. First there are the colossal dimensions of this democracy, which has been functioning for more than 50 years: the democratic rule in India encompasses and organizes more than a billion people, one sixth of humanity. Far more than half (1991: 520 million) are entitled to vote, the turnout is between 50 and 60 percent. India's democracy thus includes more people and eligible voters than all established democracies in the West combined. The number of eligible voters alone already exceeds the number of the population even in the largest countries in the world - with the exception of China. The number of eligible voters is twice the population of the United States, the oldest and most powerful democracy on earth, and the number of Indian voters is equal to the population of the United States. The thought, which was still speculative in the 19th century, that democratic rule could - in contrast to (traditional) non-democratic forms of rule - organize unlimited human masses politically in a permanent and predictable way - through the mechanisms of delegation, representation and federation - has so far been successfully implemented by the Indian Union Reality has been implemented. In the process, democratic rule was not only exposed to a new size load, but was also enforced under seemingly hopeless framework conditions - such as extreme regional, social, religious, ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity. With a literacy rate of around 50 percent, this democracy is still largely based on illiterate people. Given these dimensions and framework conditions, holding elections alone represents a gigantic logistical operation: Around four million election workers and two million security forces - the population of a small European state - guard over 2.4 million ballot boxes in 700,000 electoral districts.

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literature

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