COMMUNITIES AS VOTE BANKS: Elections in India
Indian plurality is unique in the world. No other country can boast of having so many races, religions, castes, cultures, languages and regional diversities within its boundaries as India can. This plurality while providing a very chequered and rich socio-cultural scenario, also impinges a few tensions that often lead to violent clashes. Since india is also the largest democracy of the world, its diversified society also has an effect on the elections right from the gram panchayat level to parliament. Though absolutely free and fair elections is more a theoretical concept than real because even in the UK and the US race, religion, sect or class do have some bearing on the electoral behaviour of the electorates, in the Indian context, the communities formed on account of caste (which is a typical Indian institution), religion, region, language, etc. play the overriding role in the outcome of elections.
The book is the compilation of the research papers of the prominent social scientists who have dispassionately studied the electoral behaviour of the communities constituted on the bases of religion, caste and region. Additionally, there is a paper critiquing the role of media in the Indian election while two scholars propose necessary and practical reforms in the process of elections to make Indian democracy truly representative.
Zaheer Aliis a Mumbai-based academician, freelance journalist and social activist. Starting his career as a research investigator in a project on socio-political consciousness among Muslims in India undertaken by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, he worked for a year with a monthly magazine,Secular Demorcary, in New Delhi. Subsequently, he began teaching Political Science, first in Aurangabad and later retiring as Head of the Department of Political Science, I.Y. College, Mumbai. Presently, he heads the Centre for the Promotion of Democracy and Secularism (CPDS) that is essentially committed to disseminate the values such as secularism, democracy, justice, equality and unviersity students and their theachers. Through orientation camps, conferences and seminars, the CPDS is engaged in affording its inputs building a secular, democratic and enlightened India. Zaheer Ali is a prolofic writer and avid participant in national and international conferences and seminars. Besides, contributing several research papers to leading publications, he has so far written and edited more than half a dozen books on socio-political and literary themes both in English and Urdu that include,Off the Spotlight, Secularism and its Indian Version, Reading History(ed.), Talmihat-e-Faiz, Mata-e-Nazar, What Ails Indian Muslimsco-edited with Murzban Jal. His latest book isSecularism Under Seige: Revisiting the Indian Secular State(ed.). His latest book is Romancing With Revolution: Life and Works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.