Federalism and the Evolving Power Dynamics in Indian Politics

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Origins of Hinduism and Its Influence on Federalism

The formation of Hindu India was created by the Indus Valley civilization of Harappa and Mohenjodaro (2000 to 1500 BC); many of the traditions of Indian society and Hinduism were developed from the Indus Valley. A major part of Hinduism is the caste system, which is basically a social structure. Hinduism established the idea that everyone is a part of the cycle of birth and death. It is taught that one is born into their caste, and their karma (a person’s actions in life) will ultimately determine the caste and power of the person’s next life. However, a person can escape the cycle of reincarnation through salvation with the union of his/her soul (atman) and the Supreme Reality (parma man). The four Varna (classifications) in the caste system are Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (traders), and then Sudras (manual laborers).

The higher castes, Brahmins and Kshatriyas, have the greatest social status and power compared to the middle caste, Vaishyas, and then finally, the lowest caste, the Sudras, have the least power in society. One of the main beliefs behind Hinduism is the idea of a hierarchical social order in which each class has its own tasks that need to be performed in order to establish social functions in society. Each of the four Varna is expected to fulfill its role in society to establish social order. However, the status and function of castes (jatis) will be different in each region in India. Hinduism also calls for tolerance of other humans, honesty, and piety.

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Hindu Nationalism vs. Indian Nationalism: Federal Impacts

It’s important to note how Hinduism impacted the Indian political system. The caste system has played an important role in Indian politics. Even though untouchability was legally abolished, it is still recognized in some parts of India. Some Dalits (formerly untouchables) have been denied acceptance into political jobs because of their social status. However, more Dalits have gained social mobility by serving as important government officials. For example, in 1997, K. R. Narayanan became the first Dalit to become president of India.

The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) also represents a view of nationalism originating from Hinduism. The ideology behind the BJP is that India’s national identity comes from Hindu culture; therefore, that is why there is a Hindu majority in India. The party also calls for the idea that nations are built on the grounds of common culture and traditions, and India should incorporate Hindu beliefs and practices into statehood. The BJP continues to be a strong party and challenger to the Congress Party to this day.

Even though there are different cultures and religions that are in existence in India, Hinduism continues to be the dominant cultural identity in society. Hindus are known for their belief in being powerless to change one’s destiny because of the idea of reincarnation and their cycle of birth and death. It is also widely known that the desire for wealth and power is inevitable. Hindus should put the spiritual salvation of Supreme Reality before all desires and goals. However, Hindus often put emphasis on material wants rather than on spiritual values in everyday life.

Flexibility in Hinduism: A Catalyst for Federalism in Diversity

The Hinduism worldview is especially known for its flexibility when it comes to rules within the religion. Since there is no one authority over the Hindus, there is then no enforcement of rules. God can be worshiped in many different ways; one can choose different paths in life to reach spiritual salvation, and Hindus are allowed to worship any deity that they want to.

There are not many religions around the world that also have this flexibility. With this flexibility, it lets Hindus live peacefully with the followers of other religions that are located in India (Buddhism, Jainism, and Christianity). However, it is universally known that Hindus and Muslims have not been so peaceful living next to each other. Indian nationalism describes the elements in which India was founded, where it recognizes the diversity throughout India and rejects the idea of eliminating the diversity that India has acquired over the years, which is evident with the many religions and cultures throughout India. The founders of Indian nationalism understand that each person in India belongs to various communities, caste systems, religions, occupations, and many more elements that make up their lives.

Despite having a Hindu majority in India, the founders were also knowledgeable that Hindus have a tradition of tolerance and respect for all religions and are able to take in other ideas, values, and customs. Therefore, with this idea in mind, the founders believed that minority religions and cultures would be able to contribute to the diversity in India. A major thought behind Indian nationalism is the structure and organization in India, where higher authority can be a factor used to transform traditional ideas to make society more efficient.

According to Oberst, Middle-class elites, exponents of Indian nationalism, were wedded to the ideals of modern science, industrialization of the country, distributive justice, protection of the rights and cultures of ethnic and religious minorities, and development of a secular democratic polity based on the British system of parliamentary government.

Hindu nationalists, however, started to challenge the idea of Indian nationalism starting in the 1980s. Hindu nationalism calls for a single, unified national identity throughout India, rejecting the idea that India is full of diversity. Followers believe that “Hindu” does not have a religious connection to the term; rather, it is connected to a mass identity. Hindu nationalists believe that there is no nationalism without Hindu culture, and therefore, the nation as a whole is unable to maintain unity.

Followers argue nationalism comes from common traditions and culture, meaning that India is not just their homeland but rather their motherland. Hindu nationalists were influenced by the British ideas of equality over the law, a uniform civil code, democracy, universal suffrage, and a representative government. However, they do not like giving special rights and/or protection to the minorities in India.

Federalism and Indian Nationalist Ideals: Nehru’s Vision

Both Indian nationalism and Hindu nationalism shaped what the Indian political system is today, but Indian nationalism played a bigger role. Even though India does practice some of the Hindu nationalists’ ideology of democracy, universal suffrage, and a system of representative government, India incorporates more ideologies coming from the Indian nationalists. Jawaharlal Nehru was a big advocate for many of the Indians.

Nationalists ideals. Nehru pushed for new science and technology along with industrialization of India to create a stable nation, just like the Indian nationalists pushed for. India also adopted many fundamental rights for all people, including the minorities in India. Some of the rights India had created for its people were freedom of religion, freedom of exploitation, freedom to form associations, freedom of movement, and freedom to assemble peacefully without arms. Along with this, India’s government is based on the British system of parliamentary government, an element that Indian nationalism called for.

The Structure of Indian Federalism: Power Dynamics

India’s government is a parliamentary democracy, which was adopted by the British. The Indian constitution outlines a federal system that separates the powers of the national government from the state government. This system is efficient in allowing institutions to grant self-government to the people. According to Oberst et al., Despite the existence of a powerful central government, the state governments have control over such important subjects as public order, police, administration of justice, agriculture, water supply and irrigation, education, public health, land righting, industries, and mineral development. They have the right to levy taxes to raise revenue for their administrations and to determine policies related to land use and land distribution, as well as agricultural and industrial development within their states.

In short, the state governments control the distribution of goods and services for their specific area, direct the people towards satisfactory means of living, and promote the interests of weaker parts of societies. State governments have no control over the law, and therefore, they are not enforced by the courts. Many times, officeholders on the state level have upgraded their positions to national office positions. State politicians also have close relations with community leaders and power local interests, which helps them to stay in power.

The state politicians also stay in power by appealing to issues concerning caste, ethnicity, religion, women, tribal and landless people, the environment, rural development, mining and industrial development, and socioeconomic reforms. India’s central government is headed by the president, the Chief of State, the prime minister, and the Head of Government, who holds the executive powers, and the Supreme Court, which holds judiciary powers.

Parliament holds the legislative powers. National leaders tend to stay in power by decreasing the outlook of traditional divisions that exist in India. The constitution outlines the national government’s powers concerning matters of creating states from existing states as well as creating and abolishing the second chambers of the state legislature, which can be done by a majority in parliament, creating fundamental rights that need a two-thirds majority vote in parliament, and deals with the offices and powers of the president, prime minister, and Supreme Court, which also need a two-thirds vote majority and ratification by the majority of the state legislative assembly.

Indira Gandhi’s Reign: Federalism’s Tensions Amplified

There have been lots of conflicts between the center and state governments that can be traced back to India’s first woman prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Under her control, Indira Gandhi reduced state party organizations; therefore, they wouldn’t play an important part in the regions they represented. She also undermined the authority of the state governments, which in turn impacted federalism in a negative way. The first authoritarian rule that Indira Gandhi administered was the declaration of a national emergency in 1975 due to the widespread discontent over her failed economic policies. Her policies were unable to reduce unemployment, control inflation, and cut widespread corruption.

However, with this declaration, she was able to arrest all her political opponents and other opposition leaders and party workers. She also enforced rigid press censorship; numerous organizations were banned, and parliamentary and police organizations became arbitrary. She also successfully amended the constitution so that the prime minister was free from judicial control. Then, in 1977, she tried to get the parliamentary elections to legitimize the state of emergency and her authority and constitutional changes during that time. However, her party lost the election, and therefore she was never elected to parliament.

Indira Gandhi was able to increase the power of the federal government while decreasing the power of the state governments. When she was reelected in 1980, she frequently appointed discredited state politicians and her loyalists as governors of the opposition-run state governments and then moved those governors who did not follow her orders. Under Indira Gandhi, the fall of state governments by the federal government, with the encouragement of defection from the opposition parties, became popular. She believed that the state opposition was directed towards her and, because of this, used the president’s rule to dismiss elected state leaders.

This has caused lots of tension between the center and state governments over the years. The national government also has greater financial resources than the states do, which also contributes to the tensions between central and state governments. The center has been making many grants – in – aids, budgetary provisions, and financial institutions that have been interfering with the state government’s projects. With the center–state tussle, the center normally prevails because it ultimately has the power from the judiciary branch to enforce checks and balances on leaders who are abusing their power, and the federal government also has the opportunity to not vote someone into office with a two-thirds majority vote. A vote of no confidence can also be issued by parliament to remove someone from office.

Diverse Views on Federalism: India’s Party Perspectives

Since there is this prevailing Center – State tussle in Indian politics, many different groups have formed, and these groups have different opinions about the federal versus state government and its powers. The Akali Dal of Punjab, a Sikh party, believes that the state should have all the power except the powers concerning defense, foreign affairs, communications, railway, and currency. Another group led by moderate regional leaders believes that there should be a distance maintained from the political control of New Delhi and a reassertion of federalism that is outlined in the constitution. Another group led by M. Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu and Jyoti Basu of West Bengal advocated for a revision of the center-state relations.

Mughal Empire’s Influence on Indian Federalism and Unity

The Mughal Empire established control over most of India starting in the sixteenth century. The Mughals were western and central Asians. The Mughal Empire was successful in establishing control over much of India, but many southern Hindu kingdoms refused the empire’s control. The Mughals were able to rule from the Khyber Pass to Bengal. Along with this, the empire was able to secure a stable and centralized rule over India directed from Lahore, Agra, and Delhi.

The Mughal Empire’s founder was named Babur, who was able to take control over Delhi in 1562. However, it was Babur’s grandson, Akbar, who was successful in laying a politically stable rule in India. Akbar was opposed to Islamic traditions and tried to create an Indian culture with both Hindu and Muslim values. Akbar was able to incorporate the Hindus in the civil and military administrations, and he also tried to end the religious divide by creating a more unified society by making alliances with the Hindu princely house of Rajasthan.

The Mughals had allowed numerous Hindu kingdoms to have autonomy as long as the Hindus had complete support for the Mughal authority. There was a lots of criticism that came along with the Bhakti (devotional) movement concerning Hindu Brahmins and Muslim ulema (religious scholars). Saint poets like Nanak and Kabir advocated for a personal relationship with one’s god and, in the process, tried to bring together the teachings of both Hinduism and Islam.

Muslims Sufis were influenced by Hindi mysticism and also tried similar teachings. Akbar had some success in unifying the Hindus and Muslims into a coherent society. Many places of worship were then created, and Hindus and Muslims visited them. Despite this small positive effect on the Indian people, there was still a division and sense of hostility among the Hindus and Muslims throughout India.

The Roots of Federalism: Language and Culture

The division was furthered by the Urdu language. The Mughal rulers spoke Urdu, which is a very popular language in literary traditions and written in Persian script, spoken widely around Delhi. Both Hindus and Muslims, over time, have helped create what the Urdu language is today, along with Urdu literature, but many Hindus believe that Urdu is a Muslim culture. Hindu nationalists to this day have discarded the Urdu language and literature, and they consider Hindi to be the real language of North India. Along with creating a stable and centralized control in India, the Mughal Empire had other positive effects on the Indian people.

The Mughal Empire was also able to build forts and some beautiful mausoleums in India. Akbar also practiced religious tolerance that his succors did not follow. The Islamic orthodoxy prohibited interreligious marriages, destroyed Hindu temples, and enforced a poll tax (jizya) on the Hindus.

And even though Urdu did create some tension between the Hindus and the Muslims, it did bring new literary traditions to India. The Mughal Empire, in short, had many positive effects on India: agricultural achievements, political stability, educational accomplishments, and new literary traditions that all contributed to India’s heritage. However, a negative effect of the empire was the creation of a stronger division between the Hindus and the Muslims.

British East India Company’s Reign and its Implications

In 1600, Queen Elizabeth I created a chart that created the British East India Company. The British East India Company was given a monopoly over all British trade with India, and as the company grew, it became evident that more government and military functions were needed in India. The company had established the city of Calcutta in East India, and that is where its headquarters were located until the British Crown took over direct control of India in 1862.

After the decline of the Mughals starting after 1750, the British East India Company had taken over most of the Mughal control and even applied the Mughal’s rule over the Indians. Some of this territory was ruled by the British East India Company, while other territory was controlled directly by the British governor-general and was called British India. Other territories were controlled by local rulers; these areas were called princely states. The British created different agreements with each of the princely states, and the British even gave most of them autonomy while remaining in control of the foreign affairs and defense. A similarity between the Mughal rule and the British East India Company was the fact that both of them granted some autonomy to the Indians.

The Power Dynamics: Mughal vs. British Intentions

However, they differ because the Mughal Empire was just looking for a place to settle down, while the British only wanted to exploit India’s resources to make a profit. The intentions of the British East India Company were to increase the economy in Britain while controlling the Indians and their resources, while the Mughal’s intention was to find a good location to settle down and establish rule. The Mughal Empire was also relatively peaceful to the Indians, while the British East India Company was oppressive and caused a war to erupt in India.

India refers to the 1857 Indian or Sepoy Mutiny as their first war of independence. In short, this war was started due to the British East Indian Company not paying close attention to the Indian princely states and the people living there. The uprising was coordinated and led by the sepoys, British East India Company’s army soldiers located in India. The Indians had a good start to the revolt, but the British did prevail and were able to win back control of India. Many people, British and Indians, were killed because of this revolt. The British Crown dissolved the British East India Company’s control over India in 1858.

The Rise of Indian National Congress and Challenges Faced

The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885 to be the representative of the Indian people, advocating for greater representation. The Congress Party held dominance in Indian politics during the Nehru years of 1947 – 1964. Under his administration, he was credited for building India’s modern political institutions as well as India’s economic and foreign policies. Nehru was willing to accommodate the Congress Party chief ministers even if they did not agree with his ideas and policies. Along with this, he rarely intervened in the chief ministers’ affairs as long as they followed the party platform somewhat. Nehru was also able to withstand the right wing of the Congress Party, which was no longer as willing to accommodate the Indian Muslims equally to the Hindu majority. The right-wing wanted to favor the Hindu majority, but Nehru succeeded by granting the Muslims and other minorities equal rights.

The Congress Party, under Nehru, was able to assist diverse interests. Nehru took the position of a national referee, especially for economic and social policy. However, after Nehru’s administration, the Congress Party started to decline and would not take dominance again until the 2004 and 2009 general elections with Sonia Gandhi as party chief. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the second largest party in Lok Sabha with their victories in 1991, 1996-1997 and 1999.

The BJP ideology advocates that the Indian national identity comes from Hindu culture. The BJP also shows support for centralized and state-directed economic planning. The party also stressed the industrialization of India, therefore granting India great economic and military power. The BJP is unwilling to grant political or economic demands of religious and ethnic minorities. The BJP has also shown greater nationalistic and militant actions when dealing with foreign or security policies. The party has also failed to show responsible leadership after winning elections.

Under the BJP, there were economic reforms that were put in place in 1991, and by the end of 1996, India’s economy had a 6.5 percent growth rate. India’s foreign exchange reserve also grew to $35 billion from 1991 to 2000 under the BJP. However, the Congress Party had more success in economic growth than the BJP. In 2006, under the Congress Party, India’s GDP grew by 9.2 percent, and foreign direct investment grew by 44 percent.

The Two Approaches to India’s Progress: Traditionalists vs. Modernists

After India’s independence from Britain, it was up to the elites of India to figure out how to rule the country. There were two distinctive approaches: the traditionalists and the modernists. The traditionalists’ viewpoint came from Gandhi and his moral and religious perspectives. He did not approve of the profit motive, the tyranny of machines, and the competition of the market economy. He instead agreed with the strict limits on private property and the development of agricultural and consumer cooperatives. He was a big advocate for maintaining an agricultural-based economy while expanding traditional small industries, which he thought would lead the villages to self–sufficiency.

He also saw the need for a low consumption of resources and the use of machinery and technology that was suitable for the small, local societies. His approaches would have led India to a higher investment of resources in India; however, Gandhi’s traditionalist ways would not have competed with the modern industrial growth that was inevitable in India. Jawaharlal Nehru represented the modernist approach. Nehru was inspired by socialist thought and looked to science and technology and investment in capital goods in order to bring India to success.

He also advocated for centralized planning and increased output of technically skilled labor as technological-based thought. The state would then be in charge of setting the development standards and priorities for India. In the end, Nehru’s ideas prevailed, and India was on track to become a scientific and technological country.

Pakistan’s Birth and Ideological Struggles

When the partition happened in 1947, Pakistan came into existence. Before partition, the Muslims were looking for a homeland where they wouldn’t be dominated by a Hindu majority. That being said, Pakistan’s political ideas and values have been centered on the meaning of Muslim nationalism. Muslim nationalism represents the people who live in Pakistan and their push for a stable democratic policy, which, therefore, means that Muslim nationalism is the same thing as Pakistani nationalism.

However, there are also Islamists who reside in Pakistan who believe that Muslim nationalism has a different meaning. The Islamists believe that there should be Islamic law throughout Pakistan, especially shown in punishments and justice, how to train judges and legislation. They also favor Islamic traditions like the prohibition of alcohol and gender segregation. Overall, their goal is to transform Pakistan into having a greater emphasis on Islamic ideals. The five major ethnic groups or nations that reside in Pakistan are the Punjabis, Singhis, Pakhtuns, muhajirs (they are the Indian Muslims who chose to come to Pakistan during partition), and the Baloch.

Pakistan’s national language is Urdu, and a majority of the people of Pakistan speak and/or understand the language. However, English tends to be the language spoken in higher education, courts, and government, but only five percent of the population can either speak or understand English. Islam is also Pakistan’s predominant religion. Islam is based on teachings from the Prophet Muhammad and found in the Quran. However, in the beginning, Pakistan’s record as an independent nation was not a successful one. Pakistan has had five constitutions. The Government of India Act of 1935, modified by the Indian Independence Act of 1973, was Pakistan’s first constitution that was in place at independence, and then four other constitutions were made in 1956, 1962, 1972, and 1973. Also, during 1958-1962 and 1969-1971, Pakistan functioned under no written constitution.

Challenges and Struggles Impacting Federalism in Pakistan

Pakistan also underwent four military coups and three wars with India, with one being a major defeat for Pakistan. Pakistan also had failure to formulate a stable democratic policy along with a stable economic policy. The country was also unable to resolve the regional and sectarian issues. Pakistan also had trouble with stopping the internal terrorism that was evident. The problem concerning Kashmir was also something Pakistan was unable to resolve. The average quality of life has risen in Pakistan over the last few decades.

According to Oberst et al., the four indicators that constitute the basis for the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) since 1980 (1980-2011). Pakistan’s mean life expectancy has risen 7.5 years from 57.9 to 65.4; the expected mean years of schooling (for those under twenty-five) has risen 1.2 years from 5.7 to 6.9; the mean years of schooling for adults (older than twenty-five) had risen 3.1 years from 1.8 to 4.9; and Pakistan’s gross national income per capita in real terms has more than doubled from $1.228 to $2,550.

However, despite the growth of Pakistan over the last few years, when comparing Pakistan’s performance in HDI to other South Asian countries, Pakistan is not doing very well. In 2011, Pakistan ranked 145th out of 187 when comparing HDI. The cause of Pakistan’s lower quality of life is found to be because of demographic and political challenges. Pakistan has experienced rapid population growth, with a two percent increase each year. In 2011, Pakistan’s population was estimated to be 176.4 million, and Pakistan’s population is expected to be around 220 million in 2025.

With such a high population, this can do some damage to Pakistan’s services in health, education, and transportation, and this can also cause the unemployment rate to rise. The two Afghanistan wars and the unfriendly feelings toward India have also strained Pakistan politically. Pakistan also has lots of troubles concerning security and having effective governments and military rule, which also can contribute to the lower HDI in Pakistan.

Constitutional Journey of Pakistan: Challenges and Delays

The Constituent Assembly (CA) was created in 1946 and would serve as a parliament. After partition, Pakistan was governed under the CA, which would double as a National Assembly until Pakistan came up with a written constitution by the CA under the Government of India Act 1935 and amended by the Indian Independence Act. The CA had to define the basic principles for Pakistan. During this time, the CA would have the power to enact legislation. However, there was a major controversy over the CA and this power; it was uncertain if the CA could pass legislation without the govern-general’s consent. Another major concern was whether or not the governor-general would hold the power to disband the CA.

Ghulam Muhammad, the governor-general in 1954, decided to disband the CA, arguing that the CA was unable to present a constitution to Pakistan, and the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld this decision. The Supreme Court also said that the governor-general had the right to disband the CA and also the power to veto legislation that the CA had passed. Therefore, a second Constituent Assembly was created, but with far less power; the second CA could only do as much as the governor-general had allowed them to.

Pakistan took a long nine years to finally come up with a constitution. A major reason why Pakistan took so long to create a constitution was the fact that Pakistan was trying to govern both East Pakistan and West Pakistan. It’s hard to make an effective constitution that is effective when another nation, India, separates Pakistan in two. Another reason for the lack of a constitution is that there are five major ethnic groups living in Pakistan, all of which have different cultures and ideas. This caused lots of sectarian and regional differences. Another reason for this was due to the religious indifferences. The Objectives Resolution was passed under the CA, which outlined the Islamic details that would be incorporated into the constitution.

Federalism and Constitutional Challenges in Pakistan

According to Oberst et al., “Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance, and social justice, as enunciated by Islam with the teachings and requirements of Islam, as set put by the Holy Quran and Sunnah.” Even though these provisions are located in Pakistan’s constitution, it took the Basic Principles Committee almost three years to file a report about the Objectives Resolution. Some were hesitant about having Islam as part of the constitution. Another problem was the fact that Pakistan was a new nation, and coming up with a constitution all on their own took a while to complete and agreements with the majority. Another reason for the delay is the fact that Pakistan went through five different constitutions in the process; Pakistan had a very difficult time coming up with efficient ways of control and development. Finally, Pakistan has had many leaders. However, not very many have been effective at their job, and many of them tend to abuse their power, which in turn then led to new ideas about how the country should be run.

Early Constitutional Frameworks

Pakistan’s first constitution was publicized on March 23, 1956. Under this constitution, Pakistan was established as an Islamic republic, and instead of there being a governor-general, there would be a president. In an attempt to find a solution to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, Iskander Mirza (governor-general from 1955-1956 and president from 1956-1958) amalgamated West Pakistan into one unit in 1955, which only made further issues finding a solution to govern East Pakistan and West Pakistan both effectively. Also, the Muslim League lacked support in East Pakistan; the Awami League was really the only party that had support in East Pakistan. Due to the unstable political parties, there was no general elections to the National Assembly were held, which further weakened the government. Iskander Mirza was then forced to decide to suspend political activity, disband the legislative assembly, and declare martial law.

Transformation through the Eighteenth Amendment

Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML (N)) came to an agreement, which then resulted in the Eighteenth Amendment. The Amendment was passed on April 8, 2010, and changed Pakistan’s constitution. It eliminated the president’s power to dissolve the National Assembly, only chief ministers were able to dissolve their provincial governments, and finally, it made the president and governor advisory to the prime minister and chief ministers. The Amendment overall reduced the power of the president and governor while making the prime minister and chief ministers heads of their governments. Before the passage of the Amendment, Pakistan’s federal system was very weak.

The federal and provincial powers were governed by a federal legislative list, which showed the powers that were specific to the federal government, and a concurrent legislative list, which showed the powers that were shared between the federal and provincial governments. If any disagreements occurred between the two, then the federal government would win.

However, the Eighteenth Amendment eliminated the concurrent list, therefore creating only provincial authority to criminal law, criminal procedure, family law, newspapers, curricula, and standards of education and welfare of labor, to name a few. Under the Amendment, Parliament would be able to veto appointments to the superior judiciary. The Supreme Court, though, decided that the Amendment was extra-constitutional and suggested revising the power of parliamentary authority to transfer the power to the judges.

Then, on December 20, 2010, the Amendment was passed, which did take the Supreme Court’s ideas into consideration. After the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, Pakistan returned to a civilian–led prime ministerial system, but the government was weakened tremendously. 8. Pakistan borders India and Afghanistan. This causes lots of external threats to Pakistan. Pakistan and India have gone to war three times (1948, 1965, and 1971) and were close to another war in 1999 and 2008.

Both countries also have access to nuclear weapons since 1998. Then, in 2001-2002, after the attack on the Lok Sabha in Delhi, which India claims was Pakistani, the two countries were again close to war, but it was avoided because an intervention was made by both India and Pakistan. The India – Pakistan conflict has died down somewhat. However, the issues concerning Kashmir, the Indian claim against Pakistani terrorism, and the Pakistani claims that India still has ideas for furthering the conflict are still prevalent.

Afghanistan Conflict and Security Measures

Ever since the Soviets occupied Afghanistan from 1971-1989, Pakistan has been having trouble with the Afghanis. Many Afghani refugees came to Pakistan to escape the Soviets, and because of this, Pakistan’s unemployment has increased, and Pakistan has continued its involvement in the Afghani civil war. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani military, has become drawn into Afghan politics. The ISI has been known to have involvement with the training and arming of the Taliban, the Islamic Afghan military regime. Pakistani men with the Afghani youth from the refugee camps have fought with the mujahedeen groups fighting against the Soviets and with the Taliban when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.

In response to all the violence that Pakistan has endured with both India and Afghanistan, it’s not surprising that Pakistan is trying to create better security for their country. One way Pakistan has tried to create a better-secured country is through its military. In 2011, Pakistan had a standing army of 1.5 million, and Pakistan’s military spending was almost $5.7 billion.

After India’s experiments with nuclear weapons, Pakistan felt the need to do the same, and in 1974, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto started a nuclear development program. In 1976, France had an agreement to supply Pakistan with nuclear weapons to further its development. The United States was in great opposition to this and had France stop supplying nuclear weapons to Pakistan.

Federalism and Global Challenges

The U.S. also cut all foreign assistance, all but food and aid, to Pakistan under the Foreign Assistance Act in 1977. Under the George H. W. Bush administration, the United States once again stopped supplying aid to Pakistan, specifically military and economic aid, in 1990. It was uncertain whether Pakistan was involved with nuclear weaponry until 1998 when Pakistan tested five nuclear developments; Pakistan went against the nuclear nonproliferation regime. International military and economic sanctions met over this violation, and the violation was lifted on the grounds that Pakistan joined the international coalition against the Taliban in 2001. In 2004, there was lots of discomfort when Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was the architect of the nuclear program in Pakistan, announced that he had sold nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

Bonus: There are many positive and negative effects both India and Pakistan have endured from the British occupation. However, there’s no doubt that the British helped shape India’s and Pakistan’s political system. The Indians use the Westminster model of government. The Westminster system is modeled after the United Kingdom and its parliamentary system and is a democratic form of government. However, even though the Indians did base their government on the British, it was not an exact copy of the British.

Federalism and Political Evolution in India

Under the British Parliament, there was a queen to serve the country. However, the Indians modified their system and decided not to have a queen or king. However, the queen in the United Kingdom is like the president in India, both of which are chiefs of state. Both India and the United Kingdom have a prime minister who holds the executive powers and is head of the government. Also, just like the British, India has a bicameral parliament in the legislative branch.

Something that the Indians really were pushing for and believed would strengthen the nation was having the people participate in the political process; thus, after independence, India became a Republic. The Indians adopted the British merit-based system of recruitment to the bureaucracy as well as an effective administrative system that the Indians use to this day. Recruitment is also a very long and thorough process, once again inherited by the British.

The Union Public Service Committee holds the power to examine the applications for the Indian bureaucracy. The Indian bureaucracy, while under British control, really only had the power to raise revenue, maintain law and order, and follow orders for the interests of the British rulers. After the British left India, the Indians did keep the bureaucracy, but they became more involved in the social and economic systems in India. Indians have set up a central government, provincial government, state government, and local government that all hold different degrees of power.

The Indians also practice federalism, meaning there is a separation between state government and federal government. The British also introduced uniformity in the civil and judicial system to the Indians and the rule of law, personal liberty, and equality. In 1949, India’s constitution was finally established, and it was based on Western legal tradition and liberal democratic ideas. The fundamental rights are found in the constitution to protect the civil rights and freedoms of the people.

Championing Federalism and Individual Rights in India’s Constitution

The constitution, with its impressive list of rights, seeks to alter the traditional Indian system of social stratification based on birth and occupation. Its various articles abolish untouchability, provide equal opportunity for jobs, and ensure equality of individuals in the eyes of the law. Recognizing that a democratic polity cannot operate without freedoms, its articles provide such basic rights as freedom of speech and expression, freedom to form associations, freedom of movement, and freedom to assemble peacefully without arms.

These rights were created for the safety, equality, and freedom of the Indian people, all of which are protected by the Indian courts. After independence, the Indians could no longer depend on the British to get them resources, and soon enough, India started to lack important capital goods. Therefore, India used the British primarily agricultural economy; most of India is heavily dependent on agriculture. The British also introduced a network of highways, railroads, and post and telegraph systems, which helped give the Indians a means of traveling through their own country.

Trade also grew within India, and even after the British left, India was well on its way to developing a national economy that would be unified throughout India’s different regions. Pakistan’s first constitution was publicized on March 23, 1956. Under this constitution, Pakistan was established as an Islamic Republic, and instead of there being a governor-general, there would be a president.

Westminster Influence and the Structure of Federalism in Pakistan

Just like India, Pakistan is also based on the Westminster system. All powers of the government are held in the constitution. The president has the power to appoint a committee that would be in charge of making sure that the law is in respect of the Quran and Sunnah. Just like India, the president is the chief of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. Pakistan also has a bicameral parliament. Unlike India, Pakistan no longer has a vice president. Pakistan’s and India’s government is very similar to the British form of government. During 1999-2010, Pakistan was ruled under the military, something the Pakistanis took from the oppressive and violent British. The Pakistanis have found that throughout their time as an independent nation, the use of force was effective in gaining authority.


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Federalism and the Evolving Power Dynamics in Indian Politics. (2023, Aug 30). Retrieved from https://edusson.com/examples/federalism-and-the-evolving-power-dynamics-in-indian-politics

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