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

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Engaging with ‘a Quintessential University Person’

Conversations with Ambedkar: 10 Ambedkar Memorial Lectures edited by Valerian Rodrigues, Tulika Books and Ambedkar University Delhi, July 2019; pp 282, ₹ 750.

Kanhaiya Kumar In Begusarai: Old Fault Lines and New Struggles for Radical Political Change

The need to confront and defeat the authoritarian tendencies of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the neo-liberal state has become ever more pressing. What are the issues when this challenge is to be met by contesting democratic elections? A month-long ethnographic study of Kanhaiya Kumar's campaign in Begusarai, Bihar speculates on its implications for progressive politics.

Identity Politics is Not the Evil it is Made Out to Be

The existence of identity politics in any democracy is an indicator of the vibrancy and health of politics.

Elections Alone Do Not Make a Democracy

The ideals of democracy and capitalism are antithetical to each other.

The AAP Audit: Can ‘Alternative Politics’ Work?

The Aam Aadmi Party was founded on the belief that Indian politics could be transformed. This reading list examines if this political project has been a success, or if the party's idealism is incompatible with the way politics in India functions.

Does Every Vote Count? Assessing India’s Electoral System

The Indian electoral system is fraught with difficulties that obscure the democratic ideals of an election.

Despite Free and Fair Elections, Our Idea of the Republic Is at Risk

On the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day, it is worth considering how the very foundational idea of a republic, in which supreme power is held by the people, is at risk despite free and fair elections. To arrive at that argument, this article delineates the historical trajectory of India’s Right to Information movement as arising out of the need to address the unfinished agenda of democratisation since independence. It then discusses how the movement has strengthened oppositional politics by expanding the terrain for political participation and has also empowered individual citizens in their struggles to claim their entitlements from the state. By resisting scrutiny under the Right to Information Act and attempting to dilute the law’s empowering potential, political representatives and bureaucrats are subverting democracy itself.

Neo-liberal Transformations and the Challenges of Governing India

Neo-liberal Strategies of Governing India by Ranabir Samaddar, Delhi: Routledge India, 2016; pp xviii + 334, ₹ 1,095.

Genealogies of Nagaland’s ‘Tribal Democracy’

Compared to the bulky literature on caste and democracy, we still know little about the form and functioning of democratic politics amongst tribes. This is a serious lacuna, one which, at the level of sociology, impedes the kind of careful comparison that has long proven fruitful to capture the inner logic and intricacies of social life. If caste is deemed central to any understanding of contemporary Indian politics, what about those states and constituencies in which tribes preponderate numerically?

Diversity, Democracy, and Dissent: A Study on Student Politics in JNU

Qualitative and quantitative evidence collected over the last four years (2014–18) at the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus reaffirms the crucial contribution of the institution’s diverse and democratic base to Indian politics. The authors suggest that JNU promotes a diverse yet inclusive campus, gives space to radical voices not only from the organisational left movement but across the political spectrum, and finally upholds a tradition of dissent which is in line with protecting the rights of free speech and promoting the values of democracy.

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