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Indian Politics: How it all began and a 360-degree view from the start

The most common assumption regarding Indian Politics is that it came into existence after India’s independence in 1947, however, what many fail to realise is that, political frameworks and ideologies were born much before India’s sovereignty from British rule. It all began with the establishment of the Indian National Congress in 1885. The educated sector of India, particularly, the Bengalis, were adamant about assuming a role in the political systems of India during the time of British rule. After much persistence, the British complied with their wishes and gave them the opportunity to present their political opinions through a representative body. Another development was the opportunity to lay a cable between England and India. Due to these new developments, the Government-General of India was forced to raise an educated public opinion in India. Now, this was only going to be possible if there was an organised Indian political entity. This led to the formation of the Indian National Congress. Over time, the Indian National Congress started to face rifts in its ideologies which led to the emergence of two groups in the Indian National Congress known as the Liberals and the Extremists. The Liberals believed in cooperation and advocated self-rule via constitutional means, while the Extremists believed in using agitation techniques with Non-cooperation and Civil Disobedience movements. Additionally, there was an emergence of religio-political movements, which heavily influenced Indian politics as we know it today. The two most significant of these movements were the Brahmo Samaj founded by Raja Ramamohan Roy and the Arya Samaj founded by Dayanand Saraswati.

Followed by this, came India’s successful reign against British rule, which is a monumental moment in Indian history and plays a fundamental role in shaping India’s political journey. India became a Sovereign Republic on the 15th of August, 1947. This was a monumental moment in Indian political history because of two events, one was the end of British rule in India and the other was the partition of the Indian subcontinent based on religious disparities - India, a nation with a Hindu majority and Pakistan - a Muslim majority nation. While it was a time of rejoicing, it was also a time that fostered violence and religious tension, due to the separation of the Indian subcontinent. The independent nation of India was led by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. This was followed by the installation of the Indian Constitution in 1950, which positioned India as a democratic nation. 

While the Britishers no longer posed a threat to the Indian nation, there were other issues that slowly crept up and caused disharmony within the nation. The country witnessed religious violence, casteism, Naxalism and terrorism. There were also unsettled disagreements with China that eventually led to the Sino-India war. There were also multiple wars that took place with Pakistan following India’s independence. The two nations then decided to come to an understanding with treaties to administer friendly relations with one another. However, this did not last too long as Pakistan consequently invaded Kargil illegally, and the tension between the two nations still remains even to this day. Another historical period in Indian history is the fight for reservation. This marked an important time in Indian political history, as the lower classes were finally liberated from the clasps of casteism in India. Then came the end of the License Raj, wherein India adopted a middle path between socialism and capitalism. Today, our country has evolved extensively with more complex standards of political systems, however, the manifestation of our rich political history is still apparent in today’s political bodies. 


Q1. What can be considered the start of Indian politics? 

The start of Indian politics as we know it begins with the formation of the Indian National Congress. This political body has been a major political force in India ever since. 

Q2. Which is the oldest political party in India? 

The oldest political party in India is the Communist Party of India (CPI). It is one of the eight national political parties of the nation.

Q3. Who wrote the political history of India?


Sketch of the Political History of India (1811)’, has been written by Sir John Malcolm. Being the first British narrative history of the period from 1784 to 1805, it projected the final makeover of the East India Company from a body of merchants into the caretakers of the British Empire in India. The Sketch is the work to apply British theories about the unsuitability of the law of nations or the concept of a balance of power to British relations with the Indian princes. The Sketch expressed the consciousness of the Company officials who had pushed for imperial expansion in the generation after Warren Hastings.

Q4. Who wrote the book The Future of Indian politics?


Written by Annie Besant, presents India as solving future problems in connection with self-determination and self-government. Gives a bird's-eye View of the relations between India and Britain, from contact to the end of the East India Company Rule. From the first National Congress to the outbreak of the War.


A New Departure tells of the Congress Of 1914, Indians in the War, and the demand for the recognition Of India as a part Of the Empire. The New Spirit in India marks the causes of her Changed attitude. The Struggle over the Reforms tells of the Death of the Old Congress and the Reformed Legislatures.

Q5. Who is the author of the book caste in Indian politics?


Rajni Kothari has written this book, ‘Caste in Indian Politics’. Out of nine studies, four are based on a detailed investigation of individual caste movements and structures and their induction into the political process.


The other five focus on the macro dimensions of the political involvement of caste. This book tries to bring out the real change in the inter-relationship between the earlier social structures of Indian democratic politics and underlies the emerging idiom of social–political behavior.


Setting aside the prevailing division between traditional society and modern polity, the book examines their interaction in a given community and territorial settings.

Q6. How many books are in politics?


Dozens of Politics books flood the market, but only a select few stand the test of time:


·        “From Third World to First - The Singapore Story - 1965-2000”


·        The story of transformation is told here by Singapore's charismatic, controversial founding father, Lee Kuan Yew


·        “The Madness of Crowds - Gender, Race, and Identity by Douglas Murray


·        “The Fifth Risk” - by Michael Lewis


·        “The Anarchy - The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire” by William Dalrymple


·        “Winners Take All - The Elite Charade of Changing the World” by Anand Giridharadas


·        “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari


·        Savarkar” by Vikram Sampath

Q7. Which politics book is best for UPSC?


·        Indian Polity - M. Laxmikanth


·        India's Struggle for Independence - Bipan Chandra


·        A History Of Political Thought: Plato To Marx - Sushila Ramaswamy


·        Foundations of Indian Political Thought: An Interpretation: from Manu to the Present Day - Vrajendra Raj Mehta


·        Modern Indian Political Thought: Text and Context - Bidyut Chakrabarty


·        Comparative Politics - J. C. Johari


·        Politics in India - Rajni Kothari


·        Modern Political Theory: A Critical Survey - S P Varma


·        Our Constitution: An Introduction to India's Constitution and Constitutional Law - Subhash C. Kashyap


·        From Plassey to Partition and After a History of Modern India - Sekhar Bandyopadhyay


·        Governance in India - M. Laxmikanth

Q8. Who is the father of the politics book?


Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, is called the father of political science because he elaborated on the topics and thinking of the “Ideal State, slavery, revolution, education, citizenship, forms of government, the theory of the golden mean, the theory of constitution, etc.”  Aristotle wrote the first treatise on political science called “The Politics”.  According to him, knowledge of these topics was essential. Individuals must be aware of their surroundings and the environment they live in. He was the first one to have defined political science. He believed that political science was a powerful and dynamic subject in the branch of science.