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

Pratap Bhanu MehtaSubscribe to Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Climate Change: India's Options

Climate change poses particularly difficult challenges for India. On the one hand, India does not want any constraints on its development prospects. On the other, it also wants to be seen as an emerging global power that requires a leadership role on key global issues like climate change. It can either approach climate change as a "stand alone" global negotiation, or, weave these negotiations into a "grand bargain" involving linkages with other international negotiations. In order to understand these issues better, a conference on climate change held in New Delhi in March 2009 focused on the different bargains India might have to strike, both domestically and internationally, to respond to these challenges. The papers presented here highlight some of the key issues raised in the conference and also the analysis and interpretation of the main points of discussion.

Harassment of Ashis Nandy

We write to protest in the strongest possible terms against the charges of criminal offence levied against Ashis Nandy, a political psychologist, sociologist and an internationally renowned public intellectual of the highest calibre. This is the latest case of harassment of intellectuals,...

Democracy, Disagreement and Merit

At this juncture, even before we discuss what effective access policies should look like, we need to clear some space and ask: How will we handle disagreement in this domain? For fundamentally, the reservations debate has become a debate about the character of democracy, in more ways than we recognise.

Constraints on Electoral Mobilisation

Election 2004 revealed no clear mandates because no political formation currently has the capacity to break the 'logjam of electoral strategy'. In other words, while political parties may appeal on the basis of caste mobilisation or an 'anxious' nationalism, such ideological appeals are necessarily limited by their appeal only to sections of the populace. On the other hand, parties are also unable to move beyond the governance agenda or a general politics of redistribution as the state's ability to sustain populism is also limited. Thus, in place of any viable form of electoral mobilisation, parties fight elections via the formation of contingent coalitions. As this article argues, such a politics, while limited, has also strengthened Indian democracy. It has allowed diverse constituencies to share power and also produced political volatility without a corresponding ideological or policy volatility.

Affirmation without Reservation

The discourse based on reservations has attuned the political class to thinking about the welfare of marginalised communities almost on a single and not very productive dimension and has made political action for common problems difficult. It would be a tragedy if modern India became a project, not for transcending caste, but perpetuating it.

A New Foreign Policy?

Crossing the Rubicon: The Shaping of India’s New Foreign Policy by C Raja Mohan; Viking Books, New Delhi, 2003; pp 321, Rs 450. Strategic Survey 2002/2003, published for International Institute of Strategic Studies by Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003; pp 354, £ 25.

India-Pakistan:The Enduring Stalemate

In the final analysis we need a political culture in both India and Pakistan that understands that sometimes nationalism is the enemy of the national interest; we need a political culture that is prepared to pay a short-run price for imagining a new architecture for the subcontinent; and we need a political culture that will allow both countries to transcend the sediments of history that are weighing them down. Unless all this changes we will remain trapped in current paradigms and assumptions which are such that only one side can claim victory, even as both have the power to destroy each other.
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