Parivar Raj (Rule of Family): The Role of Money and Force in the Making of Dynastic Authority

Published date01 December 2018
Date01 December 2018
AuthorLucia Michelutti
Subject MatterSpecial Section on Dynasticism in Politics
Parivar Raj (Rule of Family): The Role
of Money and Force in the Making of
Dynastic Authority
Lucia Michelutti1
This article explores the making of a political dynasty in action in a district in western Uttar Pradesh.
The founder of the dynasty is a dabang: a self-made violent political entrepreneur. It is argued that
the figure of the dabang offers a special ethnographic entry point to contrast forms of power that
are achieved versus forms of power that are acquired (inherited) and examines the existing tensions
between paternalistic and autonomous models of power. Importantly, such exercise highlights the
challenges that dabangs have in cultivating their individual charismatic authority and simultaneously
establishing their Parivar Raj (rule of family) by using force and money. On the whole, the presented
case st udy helps us to reflect on the very diverse ways in which dynasties form and work according to
the type of authority that is passed through generations.
Dynastic authority, charisma, performative politics, money, force
It is ‘Mulayam Singh’s Parivar Raj’. It is not a caste party, it is a family racket. Everybody agrees with this….
The problem is that it is a badly organised racket. There is no strong leadership. We are governed by four and
a half Chief Ministers: Mulayam Singh Yadav (Akhilesh’s father), Ram Gopal Yadav and Shivpal Singh Yadav
(Akhilesh’s uncles) Azam Khan, and Akhilesh is the half...
Manoj Yadav, shop owner, 65 years old
You see … Mayawati was alone—she has no family, no sons or daughters, no uncles! And she just took the
money for herself and to build statues, but there are at least 20 relatives in Mulayam’s family who occupy elected
state and national assembly seats – and hundreds of them at the local level, all of whom feel entitled to loot the
state for as long as the SP stays in power.
Rattan Singh, milk seller, 35 years old
1 Department of Anthropology, University College London, London, UK.
Studies in Indian Politics
6(2) 196–208
© 2018 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2321023018797452
Corresponding author:
Lucia Michelutti, Department of Anthropology, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

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