12 May, 2021

Beyond Club And Cabal

Democracy just got a bit more democratised. Thank the economy.

Sanjay Rawat
Beyond Club And Cabal

The year 2012 may well be pivotal for India’s two great transformations: the deepening of its democracy and the transformation of its economy. Both are under stress. Both are the object of immense intellectual confusion. Both are at a potentially game-changing moment.

It is easy to reduce the tumult of Indian democracy to the ebb and flow of personalities and parties. But underneath the tumult, the basic character of power in Indian society is changing. How India fares will depend on how well we understand this. To simplify a great deal, the introduction of constitutional representative democracy was meant to unsettle relations of power in Indian society. The first big phase of that unsettling was the creation of inclusive politics.

Over the years, Indian politics became more representative. Marginalised groups, like the Dalits, found agency and utterance through politics. But the deepening of representation coexisted with an architecture of governance premised on three principles. First, that power can be hierarchically...

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