ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Superimposition on a Thin Economic Base

Modernity and Democracy in India

Unresolved agrarian question, slow pace of industrial development and distorted economic growth of the service sector, have all led to the nature of economic development that is not symmetrical or equally poised with political democracy and rights. As long as capitalism in India remains backward to a large extent, in agriculture and industry, and as long as the distorted development continues, we will be stuck with the impasse of backward-looking nationalism and authoritarian populism. Current impasse is a product of achieving political modernity and a superstructure without its accompanying economic basis.



The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions without becoming disillusioned.

— Antonio Gramsci

Historically speaking, modernity as we know it emanated from the twin revolutions of Europe: Industrial revolution and French revolution (Hobsbawm 1962). The economic principles of industrialisation and the political principles of French revolution have been built into the deve­lopment processes of many nations. This is particularly true of postcolonial nati­ons, wherein the principles of the above said modernity have been incorporated into many of their constitutions. These two, economic modernity of industrialisation and political modernity of equality, liberty and fraternity, are related processes. Often in developing countries, the first has been inadequate. That is to say, the industrial modernity has never been realised fully in developing countries. Developing countries of Africa and Asia in particular, to this day, largely remain pre-industrial. And this has limiting consequences on their poli­tical modernity. The requisite economic basis, by way of industrial modernity, has never come to materialise in order to make way for fuller political modernity. Political modernity therefore is circumscribed by the many limitations not only of their variegated historical pasts but also by their inadequate industrial deve­lopment since decolonisation.

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2021
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