ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Dipankar Gupta

Social Science and Democracy

Social sciences need democracy, not wealth, to prosper. It is only in those societies that centralise citizenship have disciplines such as economics, sociology, political science, as well as the humanities, made significant advances. This is because democracies alone robustly satisfy the foundational principles of social sciences, namely, allowing for human errors and the recognition of others in making choices for oneself.

The Importance of Being 'Rurban'

A categorical distinction is facing rough weather--that between urban and rural. If we take just agriculture, there is so much of the outside world that comes in not just as external markets but as external inputs. Further, many of our villages barely qualify as rural if we were to take occupation alone. So the earlier line that separated the farmer from the worker in towns is slowly getting erased. By now agriculturists are ready to accept that their future lies elsewhere, perhaps in cities and towns, perhaps also in household and informal industries. If they cannot make it to those places, at least their children should.

Gandhi before Habermas: The Democratic Consequences of Ahimsa

Without Gandhi India may well have become independent, perhaps even earlier, but would we have been a liberal, democratic nation state? This question should give us pause before we make little of Gandhi's legacy. Uncertain and imperfect though our democracy may be, it is still the world's largest, and it functions for the most part. All of us who value this form of governance ought to remember that we owe it to Gandhi, more than to anyone else, for giving us a start in the right direction. If Gandhi is to be measured in terms of charkhas, frugality and prayer meetings then certainly he is of little consequence today. But a sociological appreciation of Gandhi would take us beyond these emblematic acts to the unintended consequences of what he did and stood for. It is only then we realise the gravitas of Gandhi's living legacy.

When the Caste Calculus Fails: Analysing BSP's Victory in UP

The triumph of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the 2007 UP assembly elections has incorrectly been explained in terms of caste. The BSP did use caste but only as a metaphor to build innovative grassroot alliances, which demonstrated that the concerns of other communities mattered as much as those of the dalits. A disaggregated analysis, by assembly seats and by region, shows no simple correlations between caste and outcome. The electorates are too large and the social interests too diverse for any simplistic caste calculations to hold. Caste is an important factor, but only one of many; to explain everything in terms of caste robs voters of their secular credentials.