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THE INDIAN POLITY

Course Overview
This course will thematically introduce students to the evolution of governance systems
in India, state institutions, the political system and its future direction.
It will study the Indian polity, provide historical background and elucidate key themes
in Indian politics such as federalism, Centre-State relations, the breakdown of the Congress
system, the rise of Hindu nationalism, the profusion of regional and caste-based parties,
coalition politics and the rise of new social movements. It will critically analyse the evolution
of key constituent organs of the state -- Parliament, the judiciary, the bureaucracy and nonstate actors -- and how they are evolving within a post-economic reform, post-media
revolution context. While primarily drawing upon theoretical frameworks from political
science, this is an interdisciplinary course covering a range of cross-cutting ideas. Relevant
concepts and historical foundations will be provided in the course of discussing these issues.
This course is ideal for those interested in understanding modern India, political
economy, governance and the state and the challenges of public policy. This is an
interdisciplinary course covering a range of issues cutting across various sectors. Relevant
concepts, frameworks, and historical foundations will be provided in the course of
discussing these issues.

Course Structure and Pedagogy


This is an interdisciplinary course covering a range of issues cutting across various sectors.
Relevant concepts, frameworks, and historical foundations will be provided in the course of
discussing these issues. The course will taught through a mix of class lectures and classroom
discussions.
Course Materials
The course materials and readings will be provided online (Blackboard and/or Google drive).

THE INDIAN POLITY: DEMOCRACY AND THE STATE


COURSE TOPICS AND READINGS
1. Introduction to Indian Political Economy
Required Readings
- Jean Dreze, Amartya Sen, An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions (New Delhi:
Penguin, 2013), pp. 1-44.
- Ashutosh Varshney, Indias Improbable Democracy: Battles Half Won (New Delhi: Penguin,
2013), pp. 3-44
2. Indian Federalism: Centre-State Relations
Required Readings
- Arvind Panagariya, Pinaki Chakrabarty, M. Govinda Rao, State Level Reforms, Growth and
Development in Indian States (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), pp. 1-55.
- Ashutosh Varshney, Indias Improbable Democracy: Battles Half Won (New Delhi: Penguin,
2013), pp. 169-203.
3. The Decline of the Congress System
Required Readings
- Rajni Kothari, The Congress System in India republished in Zoha Hasan (ed.), Parties and
Politics in India (New Delhi: Oxford University, 2014, first published 2002), pp. 39-55.
- Nalin Mehta, What Congress Can Learn from the Decline of British Liberals, The Times of
India, 31 March 2015.
4. Hindu Nationalism and the BJP
Required Readings
- Ashutosh Varshney, Indias Improbable Democracy: Battles Half Won (New Delhi: Penguin,
2013), pp. 99-131.
- Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s
(New Delhi: Penguin, 1999, first published 1996), pp. 522-550; 369-410.
- Nalin Mehta, BJPs New Shah, The Times of India, 11 August 2014.
5. Does Caste Still Matter? Reservations, Castes and Politics
Required Readings
- Christoph Jaffrelot, Indias Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Low Castes in North Indian
Politics (New Delhi: Penguin, 2003), pp. 1-10, pp. 147-184, pp. 335-386.
- Zoya Hasan, Representation and Redistribution: The New Lower Caste Politics of North India,
Zoya Hasan (ed.), Parties and Politics in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014), first
published 2002, pp. 370,396

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6. Dalit PoIitics
Required Readings
- Christoph Jaffrelot, Indias Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Low Castes in North Indian
Politics (New Delhi: Penguin, 2003), pp. 387-425.
7. Kisans: Peasant politics and reform
Required Readings
- Ashok Gulati, Revamping Agriculture and the Public Distribution System, Bibek Debroy,
Ashley J. Tellis, Reece Trevor, Getting India Back on Track: An Action agenda for Reform (New
Delhi: Random House, 2014), pp. 55-72.
- Shekhar Gupta, Zeroing in on Five Myths, India Today 11 June 2015
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/farmer-agriculture-business-subsidy-shekhar-guptaeconomy/1/443900.html
- Christoph Jaffrelot, Indias Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Low Castes in North Indian
Politics (New Delhi: Penguin, 2003), pp. 254-304
8. Regional Parties and Sub-Nationalisms: The Telangana Case
Required Readings
- Rama Rao Bonaganin, Assertion of a Region: Exploring the Demand for Telengana in
Ashutosh Kumar, Rethinking State Politics in India: Regions Within Regions (New Delhi:
Routledge: 2011), pp. 197-219
9. Regional Parties: Shiv Sena
Required Readings
- Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, Uday Singh Mehta, Usha Thakkar, The Rebirth of the Shiv Sena: The
Symbiosis of Discursive and Organisational Power in Zoya Hasan (ed.), Parties and Politics in India
(New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014), first published 2002, pp. 257-286.
- Sujata Anandan, Hindu Hriday Samrat: How The Shiv Sena Changed Mumbai Forever (New Delhi:
HarperCollins, 2014), pp. 1-36
- Manu Joseph, Why the Shiv Sena is Promoting Fun, The Hindustan Times, 23 Feb. 2015,
http://www.hindustantimes.com/manujoseph/a-world-of-fun-for-everyone/article11319609.aspx
10. Parliament
Required Readings
- Devesh Kapur, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, The Indian Parliament as an Institution of Accountability
Democracy, Governance and Human Rights, Programme Paper 23, 2007, UN Research
Institute of Social Development
https://casi.sas.upenn.edu/sites/casi.sas.upenn.edu/files/bio/uploads/The%20Indian%20Pa
rliament.pdf

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Nalin Mehta, Missing in Action, The Times of India, 8 Jan. 2015


http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/academic-interest/missing-in-action-parliamentis-logjammed-but-real-democratic-problem-is-in-state-legislatures-which-meet-much-less/

11. Judiciary
Required Readings
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, The Rise of judicial Sovereignty, Journal of Democracy, April 2007, Vol. 18,
No. 2, pp. 70-83

12. Bureaucracy
Required Readings
- Bibek Debroy, Correcting the Administrative Deficit, in Bibek Debroy, Ashley J. Tellis, Reece
Trevor, Getting India Back on Track: An Action agenda for Reform (New Delhi: Random House,
2014), pp. 265-280.
13. Defence
Required Readings
- Stephen P Cohen, Sunil Dasgupta, Arming Without Aiming: Indias Military Modernization
(New Delhi: Penguin), 2010, pp. 1-29
- Nalin Mehta, The Soldiers Right: Why Arguments against OROP are Misleading, The Times
of India, 16 June 2015. http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/academic-interest/thesoldiers-right-why-the-arguments-against-one-rank-one-pension-are-misleading/
11. Maoism
Required Readings
John Harriss, What is Going in Indias Red Corridor? Questions About Indias Maoist
Insurgency: A Literature Review, in Robin Jeffrey, Ronojoy Sen, Pratima Singh (eds), More than
Maoism: Politics, Policies and Insurgencies in South Asia (New Delhi: Manohar, 2012)pp. 25-46
- Pratima Singh, The Affected Districts Database in Robin Jeffrey, Ronojoy Sen, Pratima Singh
(eds), More than Maoism: Politics, Policies and Insurgencies in South Asia (New Delhi: Manohar,
2012)pp. 163-178
14. Health and Education
Required Readings
- AK Shiva Kumar, Confronting Health Challenges, Bibek Debroy, Ashley J. Tellis, Reece
Trevor, Getting India Back on Track: An Action agenda for Reform (New Delhi: Random
House, 2014), pp. 121-134.
- Leveesh Bhandari, Expanding Education Skills, Bibek Debroy, Ashley J. Tellis, Reece Trevor,
Getting India Back on Track: An Action agenda for Reform (New Delhi: Random House,
2014), pp. 103-120.

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Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen, An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions (New York:
Penguin, 20130, pp. 45-80