Political Participation of Caste, Ethnic, Religious Minorities and Women in India: A Study of Impact of Under Representation and Nominal Representation

Political representation is understood as a way of establishing the legitimacy of democratic institutions and creating institutional incentives for governments to be responsive to citizens. Concept of political representation has multiple and competing conceptions of how political representatives should represent constituents particularly disadvantaged groups, and the manner in which this inclusion can be made possible and guaranteed. The papers presented in this volume engage first, with theoretical debates around the concept of representation and how these ideas apply to representation for selected disadvantaged groups in India. A historical backdrop of the position of these disadvantaged groups, and debates around reservations for them since the colonial period, are presented. Second part of the volume shifts to empirical concerns and examines political representation of these disadvantaged groups in post-independence India. A second significant area the volume attempts to cover, is representation of the Muslim minority in parliament and state assemblies and understanding the reasons for their under-representation since independence, and more particularly in recent years. The issue of under-representation of women who constitute half the population, both in parliament and the state assemblies, is also examined. Although representation of women has been granted in local bodies, the question of quotas for women in Parliament and State Assemblies is still pending.