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

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Ideas Definitely Matter!

When Ideas Matter: Democracy and Corruption in India by Bilal A Baloch, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2021; pp xxiii + 335, `995 (hardcover).

The book—When Ideas Matter: De­mo­cracy and Corruption in India—makes a powerful argument that when rulers/ruling elites face a “credibility crisis” in a democracy, their ideas/ ideology become the determining factor that guides their response to it.

With his in-depth studies of two of ­India’s “anti-corruption” movements and the responses of the respective rulers (governments) to them, Bilal A Baloch rightly advises that one must take ideas of political elites seriously. These two well-known episodes of post-independence India’s history are now widely referred to as the Jayaprakash movement (JPM) and India Against Corruption (IAC), informally, the Anna movement. The rulers they were pitted against were Indira Gandhi-led Congress and Sonia Gandhi–Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA). At the very outset, the author raises this pertinent question as to why Indira Gandhi responded by “suppressing” the JPM, while the UPA government looked incoherent in its dealing with the IAC movement. Obviously, in his answer, the difference lies in the ideas/ideology of the respective ruling dispensations.

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Updated On : 30th Apr, 2022
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