n Ancient India had an intricate system of involved local governance. The village in India was looked upon as the basic unit of administration and these tiny ‘republics’ continued to flourish through the Hindu, Mughal and Peshwa empires.
n Right till the advent of the East India Company and colonisation in the 17th century, the local kings received state revenues from the village commonwealths; the rest went to the village samiti for local governance.
n In 1830, Charles Metcalfe, then acting governor-general of India, wrote: “The village communities are little republics, having nearly everything they can want within themselves.”
n Rural India is beginning to move back to those traditions of involved local governance, but in the cities, the elections remain the only voice of the people in governance.