Modern India is emerging as a global power within which the Indian state plays a critical role in delivering economic development and maintaining the integrity and unity of society. By drawing upon informed essays from scholars and researchers engaged in the field, this volume provides critical, empirical and conceptual insights into state-society relationships over issues as diverse as cable TV networks, urban planning, garbage collection, economic liberalization, coalition politics, provincial political rhetoric, individual rights and political participation and the management of village and municipal councils. In an era dominated by news of state failures in many Asian and African countries, the political institutions of the Indian state present an unusual combination of flexibility and stability. Within a democratic system, they enable the state to absorb and respond to popular pressures while winning public support for radical solutions to pressing social problems. Stretching from the centre down to the village, these institutions form a labyrinthine structure, occasionally harmonious but often the arena of intense economic, social and political conflict, the outcome of which will prove vital for India's hopes of future growth and development. This book will be an invaluable reading for students across the disciplines of history, sociology, politics and government, as well as to development practitioners, policy makers, and readers keen to learn more about recent innovations in the theory and practice of governance in India.