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Decolonization and Indian Society and Politics (part 2)

The lecture this week will focus on the 'contemporary history' of democracy and its internal tensions in India. It will end with reflections on the overall trajectory of Indian history in the post-colonial era, and consider the often-raised question of the 'success' or 'failure' of democracy in India.

Seminar Questions

  • What direction has Indian politics taken since the death of Indira Gandhi (1984)?
  • What trends have driven the rise of the Hindu Right in contemporary India?
  • Has there been a "resurgence" of caste since the 1990s?
  • How has globalisation impacted within India?

Core Readings

Nivedita Menon and Aditya Nigam, Power and Contestation: India since 1989 (London, 2007), 'Introduction: a genealogy of the 1990s' (pp.1-14), 'chapter 1: The recalcitrance of caste' (pp.15-35), 'chapter 2: Politics of Hindutva and the minorities' (pp.36-60), 'chapter 3: Globalization I: accumulation by dispossession' (pp.61-82).

Further Readings

Ayesha Jalal, Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia (Cambridge, 1995), pp.91-100, and pp.122-139.

Arvind Rajagopal, 'The Emergency as Prehistory of the New Indian Middle Class', Modern Asian Studies, 45:5 (September 2011).

Sudipta Kaviraj, The Trajectories of the Indian State: Politics and Ideas (2012)

Benjamin Zachariah, Nehru (2004)

Achin Vanaik, The Painful Transition: Bourgeois Democracy in India (1990)

Ramachandra Guha, India After Gandhi (2007)