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Dipankar Gupta is one of India’s leading sociologists and public intellectuals.

During his
distinguished career, he has held several professorial positions both in India and abroad. To
name only four, he is a former Professor of Sociology, at The Department of Sociology, Delhi
School of Economics, Delhi and Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru
University. He was also the Leverhulme Professor in London School of Economics, and
Fulbright Professor in the University of Massachusetts. Dipankar Gupta has Authored 20 books,
three of which are , QED: India Tests Social Theory, New Delhi: Oxford University
Press, Delhi,2017; Justice before Reconciliation: Towards a New Normal in Post-Riot Mumbai
and Ahmedabad Routledge, New Delhi, 2011 and The Caged Phoenix: Can India Fly? Stanford
University Press, Stanford, 2010 . He was awarded Chevalier De L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
(Knight of the Order of Artes and Letters) by the French Government in 2010, and The
Doctorate, Honoris Causa, by Burdwan University in 2013.

From 'People' to 'Citizens': Democracy's Must take Road, Social Science Press. (2017)

Dipankar Gupta brings together social theory with policy practice to enlarge our understanding
of the difference that democracy makes to the life of a nation. Unlike nationalism, democracy
takes our attention away from the past to the future by focusing on the specific concerns of
‘citizenship’. Historical victories or defeats, blood and soil are now nowhere as relevant as the
creation of a foundational base where individuals have equal, and quality, access to health,
education, and even urban services. The primary consideration, therefore, is on empowering
‘citizens’ as a common category and not ‘people’ of any specific community or class. When
citizens precede all other considerations, the notion of the ‘public’ too gets its fullest expression.
Differences between citizens are not denied, in fact encouraged, but only after achieving a basic
unity first. This book argues that the call of citizenship not only advances democracy, but social
science as well.

QED: India Tests Social Theory, 2017

Sociology in India enjoys a special epistemological location as the country is at once traditional
and modern, rural and urban, and rich and poor. These contradictions pose a challenge to theory-
building because they offer instances that are not easy to accommodate at a universal, analytical
level.
Taking up unresolved conceptual issues in the fields of health, agricultural unrest, caste, and the
understanding of modernity, this volume shows how the many complexities in India should not
tempt one to exoticism because that does little to combat social prejudice. If, instead, these
unique facets are put to work in order to enhance universal social theory, then that would not
only contribute lastingly to knowledge, but also close the distance between peoples.
Making a plea for intersubjectivity and comparative sociology, the essays in this volume
emphasize the criticality of engaging with Indian data, so that social theories are put to test
across cultures. This should demonstrate how important it is to view the other as one would view
oneself.

Revolution from Above: India's Future and the Citizen Elite (2013)

Is democracy driven by citizens or by the citizen elite? Acclaimed sociologist and author
Dipankar Gupta argues that at every historical juncture when democracy made significant
advances, it was the citizen elite, or the elite of calling, who led the charge, often going against
the grain of popular demands and sentiments. At its best, democracy does not reflect reality as
much as it shapes and changes it. This requires active intervention by the citizen elite, who are
not concerned with short-term electoral calculations but have a vision for strengthening
democracy. They are the ones who set the agenda that the masses follow, thereby taking the
country forward on the path of true democracy. As India has not delivered meaningfully in terms
of universal health, education and livelihood, it too needs a band of citizen elite to initiate
change. Dipankar Gupta argues that this change cannot be contemplated through the short-term
rationality of elections, and needs visionaries to push it through-change can only be effected by
'revolution from above'. Incisive and relevant, this book provides empirical evidence to show
how urgent it is to take democracy forward, and explains how best to accomplish it in the light of
international historical evidence. Is democracy driven by citizens or by the citizen elite? Acclaimed
sociologist and author Dipankar Gupta argues that at every historical juncture when democracy
made significant advances, it was the citizen elite, or the elite of calling, who led the charge, often
going against the grain of popular demands and sentiments.

At its best, democracy does not reflect reality as much as it shapes and changes it. This requires
active intervention by the citizen elite, who are not concerned with short-term electoral calculations
but have a vision for strengthening democracy. They are the ones who set the agenda that the masses
follow, thereby taking the country forward on the path of true democracy.

As India has not delivered meaningfully in terms of universal health, education and livelihood, it too
needs a band of citizen elite to initiate change. Dipankar Gupta argues that this change cannot be
contemplated through the short-term rationality of elections, and needs visionaries to push it
through change can only be effected by revolution from above.

Incisive and relevant, this book provides empirical evidence to show how urgent it is to take
democracy forward, and explains how best to accomplish it in the light of international historical
evidence.

Reflecting on these incisive perspectives at an Aspen Institute India session on Thursday (November 12,
2013), Prof. Gupta underscored the need for the country’s citizen-elite to emerge as a ‘vanguard of
democracy.' In an engaging presentation, the renowned social scientist asserted, “Democracy is not
meant to represent reality as much as to change it. As 2 aspirations for the future are grander than the
needs of the present, democratic leaders do not need a mirror to reflect reality, but a hammer to shape
it. Democracy does not strengthen if a leader listens to the people. Democracy strengthens when that
leader does what is right and leaves it to the people to judge its merit.” Defining the role of the opinion-
shapers who could bring lasting change into the system, Prof. Gupta said, "The Citizen Elite is the
vanguard of democracy because they think "society" and not sectional interests; they plan for the
future, and not for immediate gains; they plan for universal welfare, not for targetted groups. For
instance, if Gandhi had asked the people of the time what they thought of untouchability, chances are
the popular mandate would have been pro-untouchability. Yet, he went ahead and did what he though
was right. He was a true liberal democrat leader. Democratic leaders do what they think is right and
then submit themselves to popular mandate at election time." In a distinguished academic career
spanning more than three decades, Dr Gupta has taught at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the
Department of Sociology, University of Delhi. He is currently Distinguished Professor at the Shiv Nadar
University. He is also a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of India, the National Bank for Rural
Development, the National Standards Broadcasting Authority, the Punjab Governance Reforms
Commission and the Doon School. A prolific writer, he has authored and edited 17 books and published
nearly 70 research papers. His most recent works are The Caged Phoenix: Can India Fly (2010) and
Justice before Reconciliation: Negotiating a ‘New Normal’ in Post-riot Mumbai and Ahmedabad (2011).
Dr Gupta has won several awards for his academic contributions. In 2010, the French Government
honoured him as a Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres.

Justice before Reconciliation: Negotiating a ‘New Normal’ in Post-riot Mumbai and Ahmedabad
(2013)

The book explores how Muslims in Mumbai and Ahmedabad coped with the aftermath of the
violence directed against them in 1993 and 2002 respectively, and how they responded to the
ethnic carnages of which they were the victims, highlighting the importance of the context and
the history of the place where such violence occurred.

Unlike other studies on ethnic violence which have a short-term focus, in dealing with its
immediate aftermath, this book examines what happens to the victims over time and how they
negotiate a ‘new normal’ and get on with their lives. Using empirical material based on field
work in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the book shows that while poverty, education and
employment remain important elements in the recovery process, the most crucial issue is that of
justice and the need to reclaim citizenship. A significant section of the book is devoted to the
relationship between Muslim faith-based organisations and the victims of ethnic violence.

Interrogating Caste: Understanding Hierarchy and Difference in Indian Society (2000)

The caste system has conventionally been perceived by scholars as a hierarchy based on the
binary opposition of purity and pollution. Challenging this position, leading sociologist Dipankar
Gupta argues that any notion of a fixed hierarchy is arbitrary and valid only from the perspective
of the individual castes. The idea of difference, and not hierarchy, determines the tendency of
each caste to keep alive its discrete nature and this is also seen to be true of the various castes
which occupy the same rank in the hierarchy. It is, in fact, the mechanics of power, both
economic and political, that set the ground rules for caste behaviour, which also explains how
traditionally opposed caste groups find it possible to align in the contemporary political scenario.
With the help of empirical evidence from states like Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the
author illustrates how any presumed correlations between caste loyalties and voting patterns are
in reality quite invalid. Provocative and finely argued, Interrogating Caste is a remarkable work
that provides fresh insight into caste as a social, political and economic reality.
Political Sociology in India: Contemporary Trends (1996)

A descriptive study of current trends in political sociology in India (from the 1980s) in relation to
the ground realities in the social and political arena. This study spans the years beginning from
the late 1970s to the early years of the 1990s: from the Emergency and its fallout to the Punjab
crisis and the Mandal recommendations. Students and teachers of sociology and political science
will benefit from the book which clarifies the relationship between sociology and its sub-
disciplines, political sociology.

Caste in Question: Identity Or Hierarchy? (2004)

This volume offers a new understanding of caste in contemporary India. It argues that the
traditional view of caste - as a single hierarchy, with Brahmans at the top and the untouchable
castes at the bottom - is no longer valid.

Based on fieldwork, the articles in this volume prove that ritual dominance does not determine
the nature of caste interactions in any way. From politics to gender to economic interaction, the
single, pure hierarchy is constantly being questioned and weakened. Castes that once had the
status of shudras are now claiming, on occasions, a position superior to Brahmans and
Kshatriyas; agrarian castes - such as Jats, Ahirs and Gujars - are at the political forefront, taking
caste identities outside the village; the once passive untouchable castes are now aggressive and
militant, and aware of their rights in a democratic society.

This exciting collection of original articles demonstrates how caste identity today challenges the
outdated notion of a single, all-encompassing hierarchy, within which each caste co-exists
peacefully.

Ethics Incorporated: Top Priority and Bottom Line, Volume 13

This pioneering book discusses the role of ethics in today′s fiercely competitive business
environment. The author examines in detail how business ethics and values contribute to
effective business practices. The book approaches this important subject from the perspective of
leadership and maintains that thinking in terms of business ethics is really thinking leadership. It
illustrates how more competitiveness, creativity, cohesion and direction in business practices can
be achieved if top management has a clear focus on ethics.

The book also outlines the mechanism by which businesses can go about building an ethical and
transparent organization. The author examines:

- the purpose and role of business;

- the role of values, goals and the mission of business;

- the practical steps to creating an ethical organizational culture;

- the relationship between business ethics, productivity and profits.

Learning to Forget: The Anti-memoirs of Modernity (2005)

This project is written as a mission to separate the modern from the contemporaneous, to revisit
the idea of modernity and to de-link it from superficial traits of westernization. Discussing the
difference between modernization and westoxication, the book is a phenomenological treatment
that is abstract and yet illustrative, when discussing issues such as affirmative action, citizenship,
and development in India. This book argues that given the reality of mistaken modernity and the
idealization of the past in many societies of the South, it is necessary to make the case for
modernity as uncompromisingly as possible.

Interrogating India's Modernity: Democracy, Identity, and Citizenship (2013)

Surinder Jodhka

ABSTRACT

Written as a tribute to the contributions of Dipankar Gupta to the study of Indian society and the
discipline of sociology in India, this festschrift volume brings together essays of some of the
best-known scholars in the social sciences. Some of these essays are based on rich empirical
work, while others explore conceptual domains of the contemporary processes of social change.
Still others provide critical commentaries on the functioning of the Indian state and its various
administrative organs. Woven around the themes of modernity, identity, and citizenship, the
volume explores the dynamics of democratic politics and changing social order of Indian society.
The Western idea of modernity had been a source of fascination for a large majority of the
nationalist leadership and the newly emergent middle classes of India at the time of its
independence in 1947. It was perhaps relatively easier to frame a ‘modern’ Constitution after
extensive deliberations with a wide range of interests and opinions. However, institutionalization
of an organizational framework where there is a healthy democratic political system and a
culture of social relations informed by the modern idea of citizenship has been much more
difficult. While, on the one hand, these emergent complexities of the Indian experience raise
some very important practical/political questions, on the other, the process of change and
churning that Indian society has been undergoing over the last five or six decades also throw-up
a fascinating set of questions for the social scientists to engage with. The scholarship of Dipankar
Gupta and of those who have contributed to this volume is a good example of this engagement.