Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi


Since the fall of colonialism, countries once ruled by French, British, Spanish, and Belgian empires have embarked upon state and nation-building, constructing social, political, and economic institutions to solidify their status as a functional and sovereign state. While several former colonies have slowly adopted democratic policies and institutions, many countries in South Asia and Latin America have undergone a series of military dictatorships, communism, socialism, and other governing forms. Some of these regime forms, as in the case of Cuba and communism or Pakistan and its military dictatorship, have proved resilient in the face of what scholars have called "waves of democratization". In many cases, a distinct colonial legacy laid the groundwork for a country's inability to adopt democratic practices at least right away, but for other countries, the lack of adoption of democracy remains unexplained.

Here, the focus is placed on India and Pakistan and how, despite identical colonial experiences, down to political culture and social constructs, both countries have taken divergent paths in terms of what political institutions they have decided to introduce and implement since independence in 1947. For the most part, India, considered a deeply divided society due to its religious, regional, and social diversity, has managed to maintain a democratic and secular country whereas Pakistan, with a majority Sunni Muslim population, has been governed by military rule for almost half of its existence. Since independence, why has India, with a population seemingly ripe for political, economic, and social turmoil, remained relatively peaceful and democratic while Pakistan has been embroiled in political debate over the proper way to rule? The following discourse attempts to explain these occurrences and outline the current social and political structures in each country that lend themselves to democracy in India and extended periods of military rule in Pakistan.

Year of Submission



Department of Political Science

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (40 pages)