The Politics of Integration: Community, Party, and Integration in Punjab

Heeger, Gerald A.

     This study opens by presenting an alternative model of integration. It . . . [is] argued that the structure and character of the social cleavage to be overcome is largely determined by the political system and that the critical variable in the integrative process in a plural society is the institutionalization of the structures of compromise and mobilization within the political system. The failure to achieve institutionalization of such arrangements are, it . . . [is] argued, primarily responsible for continuing integrative crises in a political system.
     This study is an examination of the integrative process in one Indian State, Punjab. It is primarily focused on the relationship between one paracommunity, the Punjabi Hindu community, horizontal mobilization within that community, and alternative modes of integration in the Punjab political system. Drawing upon the model developed in the [introductory chapter], the argument of the study can be stated briefly. The problem of maintaining an integrated, stable political regime in Punjab has been primarily a problem of maintaining an institutionalized party system, the primary vehicle for integration by institutional arrangement in that state. Two types of institutional arrangements have been employed: integration via institutionalized factionalism within the Congress Party and, after 1967, integration through para-communal parties in government coalition. While Punjab has enjoyed some stability, particularly between 1956 and 1964, the 'political decay' of the Congress Party, on the one hand, and a continuing unwillingness of Hindu nonelites to accept elite compromises, on the other hand, has rendered both integrative strategies ineffective and the political system in a constant state of crisis.

Lloyd Rudolph (chair), Tang Tsou, Bernard Cohn