Volume 22, No.2, April 2001

EXPLAINING DEMOCRATIC STABILITY IN INDIA AND INSTABILITY IN BRAZIL: POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND MILITARY DETERMINANTS

by Bhuian Md. Monoar Kabir

            Bhulan Md. Monoar Kabir , Ph.D. is Professor of Political Science, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

          This paper explains the phenomena of democratic stability and breakdown in two industrially advanced developing countries, India and Brazil respectively. Key variables used are econo-military dependency, economic development, and civil-military relations. None of the existing explanations for the stability of the Indian democracy and the 1964 breakdown of the Brazilian democracy combine both internal and external variables. Modifying the existing mono-causal explanations, this paper argues that interactions among such variables as economic and military dependence on the United States and the multilateral financial institutions, and role of the military and the counter-hegemonic forces account for most of the variations between the two cases. A combination of prolonged economic crises, weak. Polarized and fragmented political institutions, counter-hegemonic forces, pro-US Cold War policies, and dependence on the US military aid caused the breakdown of Brazilian democracy in 1964. Quite opposite nature of these factors and interactions among them accounted for democratic stability in India. It also finds that prolonged economic crises coupled with mild counter-hegemonic threat, external dependence, and deinstitutionalization of the Congress Party led to the imposition of a brief authoritarian regime in India in June 1975. India’s non-political military, with no US military links, its national security doctrine and a host of other domestic factors ensured that military did not takeover political power.

 

INTERFACING POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION IN CONTEMPORARY DEMOCRACIES

by Md. Mizanur Rahman

           Mr. Md. Mizanur Rahman is Deputy Director (in-Charge), Rural Administration & Local Government Division, Bangladesh Academy of Rural Development, Kotbari, Comilla.

           Politics is the process of achieving public good and administration is an essential instrument of political structure for formulating and executing the policies, plans and programmers. Relationship between the politicians and the administrators is so intricately enmeshed that the distinctive functions of both parties may evolve only through a painful but sustained democratic process. The journey of democratic process is still in a nascent state in Bangladesh. Political control over administrative machinery of the state can be maximized by improving the quality of the inputs from the political system including the politicians, political culture, standard norms and values. For improving the functioning of representative political institutions, free and fair electoral processes within a pluralist political system, a free but responsible press and better access on the part of the common people to information are exigent. A vibrant civil society is also a sine qua non to democratic process in which a healthy relationship between politics and administration may thrive.

 

NATION BUILDING AND STATE FORMATION IN MULTI-ETHNIC SOCIETICES: FOCUS ON SOUTH ASIA

by Rupinder Kaur Dhillon

           Ms Rupinder Kaur Dhillon is working on her Ph.D. Project as a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Pllitical Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143005. India.

          One of the most daunting tasks before the post-colonial states in the Third World was to gain viability and legitimacy as independent political entities. For this purpose, the twin tasks of nation building and state formation were high on their agenda. The accomplishment of these tasks required a finer distinction between state formation and nation building in terms of approaches and strategies. But in South Asia, as elsewhere in the Third World, these got blurred and started working at cross-purposes. The reaction and resistance o f the minority ethnic, religious and linguistic groups to the homogenization processes, assimilation policies and hegemonic approach of the dominant ruling elite, were put down with a heavy hand. Thus, models of nation building are proving to be a big failure. The post-nationalist debate tends to focus upon the ethnicity as the sole factor in nation building process. The conclusion that we can draw is that the whole process of nation building is nowhere near completion. The only thing that we can hope of these societies is that there should be constitutional revisions and reframing, that encourage accommodation and acknowledge rather than assimilation and homogenization.

 

ENVIRONMENT, SCARCITY OF WATER AND VIOLENT CONFLICT: A STUDY IN THEIR LINKAGES

by Narottam Gaan

         Narottam Gaan Ph.D. is a reader in political Science, Kendrapara Collage, Orissa, India.

        The fresh water resources and the related environment of the world are under enormous stress. The growing population and industrial development based on extraction of fossil fuels have degraded water and other renewable resources. The demands on fresh water are escalating to the extent of making it environmentally scarce to millions. Though there has never been wars over water, intra-state conflicts or disputes between or among states are frequent and likely to increase with the environmental scarcity or degradation of water. After a long debate, discussion and analysis of environmental issues, it is widely acknowledged that environmental scarcity or degradation of renewable and non-renewable resources can play a major and definite role in local, regional and even international disputes. Not all water resources disputes will lead to violent conflict but in certain regions of the world water is becoming increasingly scarce and important for economic and agricultural production, and the probability of water related conflicts is also increasing.