Author: Pritam Singh


ISBN: 978-0-415-45666-1 (hardback) 978-0-203-93020-5 (electronic)


Originally Published On: February 2008; Series: Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series


Subjects: Economics and Development; Politics & Development; South Asia – Regional Develoment


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This book throws new light on the study of India’s development through an exploration of the triangular relationship between federalism, nationalism and the development process. It focuses on one of the seemingly paradoxical cases of impressive development and sharp federal conflicts that have been witnessed in the state of Punjab. The book concentrates on the federal structure of the Indian polity and it examines the evolution of the relationship between the centre and the state of Punjab, taking into account the emergence of Punjabi Sikh nationalism and its conflict with Indian nationalism. Providing a template to analyse regional imbalances and tensions in national economies with federal structures and competing nationalisms, this book will not only be of interest to researchers on South Asian Studies, but also to those working in the fields of politics, political economy, geography and development.


Table of Contents


1. Introduction  2. The Geography and the Political Economy of Punjab: An Historical Overview of Punjab-Centre Relations  3. Federalism, Nationalism and India’s Development Strategy: An Historical Overview  4. Federal Financial Relations in India and their Implications for Centre-Punjab Financial Relations  5. Centre-State Relations in Agriculture and their Implications for Punjab Agriculture  6. Centre-State Relations in Industry and their Implications for the Pattern of Industrial Development in Punjab  7. Summary and Conclusions.  Appendix: Ranking of States and Union Territories According to Population 1991 and 2001




‘India’s sub-nationalisms come draped in discourses of culture but Pritam Singh’s thesis is that the paramountcy of the project of Indian nation-building has forced individual states to play idiosyncratic roles – with profound consequences for the character of their sub-nationalisms. He illustrates this dramatically with the case of Punjab. Through flows of public finance the agricultural wealth of this culturally and geopolitically distinctive state has been harnessed nationally to the detriment of its balanced development. By 1991, Punjab was a curious paradox – a rich food bowl with a stunted industrial economy. Through his fine-grained research, Pritam Singh has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the politics of cultural aspiration and the political economy of federalism.’ – Barbara Harriss-White, University of Oxford, UK


‘Dr Singh’s book must be read by those interested in modern India.  It deals with the central issue in Indian politics and planning at a pivotal stage in the nation’s development.’ – Ceri Peach, University of Oxford, UK


‘This book is a major contribution to the political economy of the Punjab, to the analysis of centre-state relations in the post-independence Indian union, and to the study of regional economic development in federally-organized states. One of its strengths is its wide reach in terms of scholarship and analysis – it integrates knowledge from economic history, ethnic studies, geography and constitutional analysis.’ – Colin Clarke, University of Oxford, UK

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