Is India’s democracy under threat?

On May 4, I took part in an Oxford-style debate on the topic of whether India’s democracy is under threat. The debate was organised by the non-profit organisation Asia Society in Switzerland and the other panelists included Christophe Jaffrelot, Debasish Roy Chowdhury, and Tripurdaman Singh. You can view the full debate here:

Farm laws’ repeal: In India, democracy isn’t dead

Friday’s announcement on repealing the new farm laws in India affirms how no government, irrespective of the strength of its mandate, can afford to disregard voices of people emerging from the ground. Vidya Venkat [First published in The Wire on November 20, 2021.] Narendra Modi’s announcement on Friday repealing the three new farm laws isContinue reading “Farm laws’ repeal: In India, democracy isn’t dead”

On the idea of ‘the people’

[First published in Biblio: A Review of Books, October-December, 2020] I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass. The title of political theorist and anthropologist Partha Chatterjee’s latest book invokes an imagery of the masses as described by Sandburg’s poem of the same title. But the book is not about those people per se, but an exploration rather ofContinue reading “On the idea of ‘the people’”

A critical appraisal of India’s Maoist uprising

[First published in The Hindu dated 11/11/17] Fifty years after India’s first Naxalite uprising, the Maoist movement today has nearly disintegrated, with several movement leaders now dead, arrested or having surrendered. Ajay Gudavarthy’s edited collection of essays raises the vital question at this juncture: Is violence necessary for revolutionary change in a democracy? While notContinue reading “A critical appraisal of India’s Maoist uprising”

Another freedom struggle

[First published in Biblio – A Review of Books dated Jul.-Sep. 2018] It is ordinary people who often make history yet historians typically focus only on the victors and the leaders associated with popular social mobilisations. That is the reason why Magsaysay Award-winning social activist Aruna Roy decided to narrate the story of how ordinaryContinue reading “Another freedom struggle”