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Political Culture In India

Political Culture In India

What Is Culture?

  • Culture is regarded as a complex phenomenon which includes knowledge, art, belief, morals, law, custom and other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society.
  • Culture may be said to have composed of two parts, i.e.,  material culture and non-material culture. Material culture includes all the material and tangible equipments and objects which are made and produced by human beings.
  • On the other hand, non-material equipment and capabilities made and acquired  by man in group life are included in non-material culture.
  • The people of a society share a common human nature like emotional drives, intellectual capacities and moral perspectives.
  • The common human nature expresses itself in the form of certain values, belief and emotional attitudes which are transmitted from one generation to another, though with greater or lesser modifications, and they constitute the general culture of that society.
  • Social relationships are subject to an endless process of transformation, of growth and decay of fusion and separation. Since they are all expressions of human nature, the social relationships of the present are found in germ at least in the past and those of the past survive, if only as relics in the present.

Political Culture

  • Political culture, in political science, a set of shared views and normative judgments held by a population regarding its political system.
  • The notion of political culture does not refer to attitudes toward specific actors, such as a president or prime minister, but rather denotes how people view the political system as a whole and their belief in its legitimacy.

Political Culture In Sync With Constitution

  • The advent of Right to information, Right to service (citizen’s charter), etc have made us believe that the Indian constitution belongs to ‘we the people of India’ and not to the government of the day.
  • By bringing in right to education, right to work, etc we are making the effective use of the fundamental rights provided in the constitution.
  • When the Indian citizenry urged for stringent laws against child labour, untouchability, safety of women etc. The political culture of Indians matched with the very preamble of the constitution.
  • Greater voters turnout, productive use of the assembly sessions, effective use of NOTA and so on indicate that, the political culture of India aligns with the spirit of democracy adumbrated in the constitution.

Political Culture as Shared Paradigms

  • One way to understand political culture is in terms of the shared paradigms that co-exist within a single particular society.
  • This involves identifying the various culture within the society other than the dominant culture. Some of the variables used to define a political culture are its paradigms about government economics and morality.
  • There are several distinctions which can be made in identifying political cultures. One distinction is whether it is a belief of the culture that its basic unit is is the individual or the family.
  • Another distinction is to ask whether the concept of the culture is cooperative or competitive. Yet another distinction is whether the culture believes the society should be organized hierarchically or is egalitarian. Whether reason or tradition serves as justification, is yet another.

Classification Of Political Culture by William Stewart

  • Anarchism: An anarchist political culture only exists in small societies in which there are no strangers. Every persons has face to face accountability, and will have to continue to live together. The paradigms about society and the role of the individual are shared strongly among all of its members. In such a society institutions of government are not necessary. Family contacts and their constant reinforcement through personnel contact hold the single-culture society together.
  • Tory Corporatism: A Tory corporatist political culture presumes that responsibility to the group is more important than individual needs and desires. Tradition is the justification of the tory culture. The immediate family connections form its basis. The corporatist culture takes cooperation as fare more important that competition.
  • Oligarchy: Oligarchy is a political culture where a particular corporate group in a society promotes its own welfare by exploiting others. While the tory accepts that the whole society is one big family and for the anarchist the entire society is the family; for the oligarch, there is a great division between his or her family and the rest of society.
  • Classical Liberalism: The classical liberal political culture is not based on tradition as tory corporatism and oligarchy are the based in rationally. It takes the individual as the basic unit of society and is competitive rather than cooperative.
  • Radical Liberalism: The radical liberal shares all of the same paradigms as the classical liberal, however it differs in that its hierarchical nature does not apply to its elections, and its competitive nature is more limited.
  • Democratic Socialism: The democratic socialist political culture is much like radical liberalism, however it attempts to be more egalitarian. They believe that the government is an instrument of changing the prevailing economic paradigm. They are collectivist rather than competitive.
  • Leninist Socialism: Leninist socialists like other socialists take rationality as the justification for their culture. The believe that the rich lie and perpetuate paradigms which support their won interests. While they reject a social hierarchy, the government itself is rigidly hierarchical.
  • Fascist Corporatism: While the tory corporatist culture is established and on-going, the fascist corporatist attempts to create such a culture by force. The tory takes tradition as the legitimate basis of society, while the fascist makes some form of appeal to rationality. The fascist attempts to recreate the conditions of tory corporatism as a response to Leninist socialism.

Left-Wing Politics | Political Culture In India

  • Left-wing politics is more liberal in its approach and outlook
  • Left-wing economics policies involve reducing income equality, increasing tax rates for the wealthy, and government spending on social programs and infrastructure
  • Those belonging to the left-spectrum of politics believe that society will benefit from an expanded role for the government
  • Left-wing politics is characterized by an emphasis on equality, fraternity, progress, and reform
  • Left-wing nationalism is based on social equality, popular sovereignty, and national-determination. It associates itself closely with national liberation movements
  • Left-wing politics is traditionally against religious institutions and believe that state and religion must be separate from each other (Secularism)
  • Populist ideas in the left-wing do not include horizontal exclusion and will rely more on egalitarian ideals.
  • The term ‘Left-wing’ has a similar origin during the French revolution where anti-monarchy revolutionaries were seated on the left side of the hall.

Right-Wing politics | Political Culture In India

  • Right-wing politics are more conservative.
  • Its economic policies involve low taxes, less regulation on businesses by the government
  • Right-wing ideologies believe that the best outcome for society is delivered when individual rights and civil liberties are paramount with limited involvement of the government
  • Right-wing politics is characterized by ideas of authority, hierarchy, tradition, and nationalism
  • Right-wing nationalism is influenced by Romantic Nationalism where the state derives its legitimacy from the culture it governs, including, language, race, and custom “born” within this culture
  • Right-wing politics have always found supporters who believe that religion should play an expanded role in society.
  • Populism is a recurring theme in right-wing political circles. Populism is a political approach that appeals to ordinary people who feel that their rights are ignored.
  • The term ‘Right-wing’ has its origins during the days of the French Revolution (1789-1799) where the supporters of the Monarchy were seated on the right hall of the National Assembly

Corruption In India | Political Culture In India

  • Corruption refers to the act of misuse and abuse of power especially by those in the government for personal gains either pecuniary or a favor.
  • The menace of corruption is pervasive in India, from petty bribes demand by the policemen to multi-crore scams at the highest political level like 2G scam. It is not only limited to government authorities but can be seen within the private sector as well, for instance, the Satyam scandal. In the Corruption perception index of 2016 India stands at 79th place out of 176 countries. It not only hampers the economic growth but also undermines the rule of law in the country.
  • According to various studies, a Lok Sabha election candidate ends up spending at least 30 Cr. as against the legal limit of only Rs. 70 lakh. In the last 10 year the declared expenditure has increased by more than 400% for the LS elections while 69% of their income came from unknown sources. This rising expenditure is rather seen as investment by the candidates who then misuse their power to amass the illegal wealth. Assets some MPs have even seen a jump of more than 1000% between successive elections
  • Impacts of corruption:
    • It degrades the social and moral fabric of the society, erodes the credibility of the government and leads to exploitation and violation of fundamental rights of the poor and marginalized by the state.
    • It hamper ease of doing business and there is increase in inequality due to poor outcomes of the welfare schemes
    • Corruption in the tax administration leads to high tax evasion generating black money
    • Corruption increase the cost of production which ultimately has to be borne by the consumer.
    • Illegal lobbying has led to elite bias in the state policies.

Funding Of Elections | Political Culture In India

  • Political Funding implies the methods that political parties use to raise funds to finance their campaign and routine activities.
  • A political party needs money to pitch itself, its objectives, its intended actions to get votes for itself.
  • Section 29B of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) entitles parties to accept voluntary contributions by any person or company, except a Government Company.
  • Section 29C of the RPA mandates political parties to declare donations that exceed 20,000 rupees. Such a declaration is made by making a report and submitting the same to the EC. Failure to do so on time disentitles a party from tax relief under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • Methods that Indian Political Parties use to raise the funds
    • Individual Persons
    • State/Public Funding( Direct Funding, Indirect Funding)
    • Corporate Funding
    • Electoral Trusts
  • Issues with electoral funding are:
    • One of the biggest disadvantages of the corporate funding is the use of fake companies to route black money.
    • Influence of people and companies over political parties to which they provide funds.
    • There are various gaps in Indian rules, the benefit of which political parties take to avoid any kind of reporting.
    • Hidden sources of funding lead to more spending of funds in election campaigns, thus impacting the economy of the country.



Indian Polity

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