A study of the system of political stratification and the pattern of political alliances in rural Western Maharashtra. Based on fieldwork in a large village, a nearby market town and taluka headquarters, and political institutions in the surrounding countryside, the first half of the book is a full examination of the phenomenon of regional dominance originally described by Adrian Mayer. The second part is a detailed study of the pattern of political alliances from village to district level. Dr Carter's central concern is with the manner in which the pattern of political alliances is shaped by political stratification. Tracing the relationships between these alliances and such factors as political stratification, political arenas, caste, class, and kinship, Dr Carter demonstrates that much Indian political behaviour which has been regarded as irrational or as a sign of an immature, tradition-bound and unstable system may be understood more usefully as a rational response to the conditions of political action in rural India.