Showing posts from November, 2013

Modi, secularism, and the future of Indian democracy

Do you, as a voter, feel trapped by the Modi/Rahul Gandhi binary? Are you questioning the future of democracy in India?  And what does Modi's rise say for the nation's secularism?

These were some of the questions discussed in a session organised by The South Asian Studies School at Oxford and King's India Institute last week (which predictably, began late; 'we the Indians'). A few points from that were particularly interesting for me:

Dr. Matthew McCartney, ('political-economy macro-economist' at Oxford) invoked the idea of 'the developmental State' (see Öniş, 1991) and drew comparisons between India's growth trajectory and that of the Asian tigers, in particular Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. He  noted that while the civil services in these countries were largely meritocratic and elitist (as he suggested was the case in India too), the wider population was ready to sacrifice short-term goals to achieve the 'vision of development' as …