Linda D. McGill


When I set off for New Delhi, India in January 2003 to serve as a volunteer with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), nation-building was not in my mission statement. After all, India is the world’s largest democratic country, sustaining that status for sixty years from its violent birth by partition through the curtailment of individual freedoms in the 1975 “emergency” to its recent emergence as a “giant” of economic development and intellectual capital. India’s hold on democracy is all the more impressive given the religious and cultural differences among its vast population and the legacy of still-simmering resentments from centuries of social and economic stratification under the caste system.4 Except for cross-border tensions with Pakistan, India has been at relative peace with itself and the world since its independence in 1947. It has a functioning and independent judicial system, free elections, civilian police force, parliamentary government, and numerous robust political parties. The Constitution of India, the longest of any in the world, is an admirable document. The statutes and common law are comprehensive and based on well-accepted legal norms. In short, and in contrast with its neighbors Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and China, India has built a democratic nation that has endured.

First Page


Included in

Rule of Law Commons