04.07.2016 India’s Democracy: Electoral Vibrancy, Liberal Deficits

Ashutosh VarshneyAttend the Annual Radha Devi Joshi Lecture, with Ashutosh Varshney

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2016
Time: 3:30-5:00 pm
Location: Dodd Center, Konover Auditorium, Storrs Campus

Ashutosh Varshney is Sol Goldman Professor of International Studies and the Social Sciences at Brown University, where he also directs the Brown-India Initiative.

His books include Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India; Democracy, Development and the Countryside: Urban-Rural Struggles in IndiaIndia in the Era of Economic ReformsMidnight’s DiasporaCollective Violence in Indonesia; andBattles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy.   His academic articles have appeared in the leading journals of political science and development. His honors include the Guggenheim, Carnegie, Luebbert and Lerner awards. He is a contributing editor for Indian Express, and his guest columns have appeared in many other newspapers, including the Financial Times. He served on the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Task Force on Millennium Development Goals, and has also served as adviser to the World Bank and United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

ABSTRACT:  Since 1947, India has forged and consolidated the world’s largest democracy in the unlikely setting of low incomes and multiple ethnicities.  But the electoral achievements of Indian democracy far outweigh its performance between elections, when basic liberal freedoms come into question and governance deficits accumulate.  This lecture will address this paradox, situating India’s democratic experience comparatively and theoretically.