The operations of government and politics in the past century have opened new channels for mobility to the individual in Indian society. The political system has allowed and even encouraged citizens to direct many of their ambitions into “nonpolitical” activities. Yet, many of these spheres of activity are today either directly or indirectly affected by the actions of government. To prosper in business or agriculture, for example, requires regular contacts with government or with the agents of political parties—sometimes to seek favors; sometimes to grant them.
Donald B. Rosenthal, professor of political science at the State University of New York (Buffalo), focuses on local politics and public policy in India and the United States.