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Democracy, Politics and Society in Contemporary India


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More people live with electoral democracy in India than in Europe and the US combined. If we are to understand democracy as a form of government, with its successes and failures, its ability to create peace and development or its ability to falter, create division and give rise to majoritarianism, authoritarian leaders or identitarian movements, we need to understand democracy in India. This intellectually engaging collection of articles is a valued contribution to this endeavour because it challenges us to investigate democracy as an ongoing process, its final goal never defined. The collection has profound lessons not just for understanding India’s democracy but for democracy, political legitimacy and societal capacity world-wide.

Arild Engelsen Ruud
University of Oslo


Preface and acknowledgments
List of Tables
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors
Harihar Bhattacharyya: Introduction: Democracy, More Questions, Few Answers
Chapter 1 Subrata K Mitra: Citizenship in India: the puzzling resilience of an imported concept
Chapter 2 Sudipta Kaviraj: Two Concepts of Democracy and the Left in West Bengal
Chapter 3 Sobhanlal Datta Gupta: Revisioning the Left in today's India :
Towards an alternative understanding

Chapter 4 Surajit Ch. Mukhopadhyay: The Right and the Left: Contemporary India and the crises in Indian Democracy

Chapter 5 Kaushik Bhattacharya: Independent Candidates in Lok Sabha Elections
Chapter 6 Sumantra Bhattacharya: Political Marketing in India: How Political Parties in India Make Use of the Marketing Tools
Chapter 7 Sukanta Bhattacharyya: Limits of Positive Discrimination in India’s Localities: Does it signal a failure of India’s Democracy?
Chapter 8 Bibhas Bagchi: For a Radical Democracy: Understanding and Contesting Hierarchies in India
Chapter 9 Syeda Layla Khaled: Muslim Women in India: Between Democratic Citizenship and Muslim Identity
Chapter 10 Abhisek Karmakar: The Making of India’s Democracy Discourse: Contributions of Dwarakanath Vidyabhusan
Chapter 11 Sahon Bhattacharyya:Reappraising the value of the traditional: Indian social ontology beyond the Western episteme
Chapter 12 Joyjit Ghosh: Symptomatic Politics, Asymptomatic Media in India
Chapter 13 Harihar Bhattacharyya: Indian Democracy’s Civil and Political Society: A critique of Partha Chatterjee
1. Jyotirmay Bhattacharya: A short Biography of late Kalyan K Bhattacharya
2. Kalyani Bhattacharyya: Kalyan Bhattacharya: A Reminiscence
3. Writings of Kalyan Bhattacharyya: (re-reprinted)
a. Sociology of Inequalities: Bankim Chandra’s Essay on Samya (1992) (pp. 85-107) Journal of Socio-Political Studies, Vol 1, 1992.
b. Bhudev and Modernity: Nationalism and Beyond (2007) (pp. 30-45)


This edited volume with fifteen research essays offers a critical and interdisciplinary perspective on Indian democracy in terms of its interactions with society and politics. Against the conventional and often subconsciously biased understanding of Indian democracy, this volume aims to explain how democracy remains resilient in India, and its limited space active allowing citizens to ask questions, to protest, to gain things, and the choice to change regimes, including punishing politicians. Furthermore, the embedded problematics of Western modernity and methodology in understanding Indian democracy are also interrogated here. This collection should be of use to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as to researchers in political science, sociology, anthropology, modern Indian history, South Asian studies, as well as civil society intellectuals.
Additional Information

Additional Information

Author Edited by Professor Harihar Bhattacharyya, PhD (LSE)
Cover Type Hard