India is the world’s largest democracy with nearly 70 years of independent existence. Its unique and ever-changing nature has sparked a great degree of academic debate, both before and since Independence. The beauty of India is that there are many kinds of Indias. Understanding the fundamentals that have given birth to such multiplicity across various segments is especially imperative in the present day, when the ‘Idea of India’ is keenly contested. Our nation has the world’s largest youth population and is undergoing tectonic social and political changes at present; therefore, understanding what directions India may take in the future is essential for every thinking individual.
In the West, commentators are apt to think of democracy as an unchanging phenomenon. And yet, today, the world’s oldest democracies are in flux. From the rise of populism, to the rise of the far-right fringe, 2017 looks like it will be a turbulent year for Western democracy. In India, history shows that democracy is a journey, not a destination, something that Western democracies are perhaps beginning to experience. Three years ago, Narendra Modi was elected in a landslide victory, defying pundits’ odds. His support from extreme elements within the Hindu nationalist party complex (BJP and RSS), and his leadership of Gujarat during some of the worst religious violence ever seen in India, seemed an unlikely winning formula in a country with such religious and ethnic diversity. Yet, like Trump, he has emerged from these events relatively unscathed. However, just 10 years ago, very different combinations of social constituencies were claiming the centre ground. The Congress Party was pushed to a historic victory on a wave of support that included lower-caste groups, poorer sections of the population and a plethora of social movement organisations fighting for basic needs in the language of human rights. During its 10 years in power, Congress government was accused of lackadaisical approach towards governance and all the 10 years are remembered for corruption, scams etc.
India Now And In Transition
Atul K. Thakur
Price : `595
Pages : 447
India Now and in Transition edited by Atul Thakur is an enquiry into possible futures, based on current happenings. Featuring contributions from leading thinkers, including Sunil Khilnani, Ramachandra Guha, Shashi Tharoor and Robin Jeffrey, each essay critically analyses a major theme of India’s present, proposing the likely way ahead for our emergent nation. Covering the fields of politics and governance, economics and development, security and foreign policy, society and culture, and language and literature, the book shows that while beset with both internal and external challenges on many fronts, India isn’t waiting for its moment, it’s making its moment happen. In a nutshell, this book is best for researchers and students who are interested in taking India forward.
By Nilabh Krishna