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India at 70

An international symposium brings together leading India scholars for a critical two-day conversation on India’s democracy yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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India at 70

The research project on ‘Democratizing Indian Democracy’ at the University of Bergen’s Department of Sociology organizes an international symposium to mark seventy years of democracy in India. The remarkable stability and longevity of India’s democracy compares favourably with other countries and regions in the global South, where democratic rule has tended to rest on feeble foundations. And yet, there also remain critical questions to be asked about Indian democracy. Impressive growth rates in a democratic set-up have, for example, not translated into substantial improvements in the standard of living for the majority of India’s citizens, more than half of whom still live in poverty. The symposium ‘India at 70’ brings together scholars and public intellectuals to explore the trajectories and contradictions of India’s democracy – past, present, and future. How did class and caste power shape the making of India’s postcolonial democracy? In what ways were the particularities of the Indian freedom struggle inscribed in its Constitution? What role has the public sphere played in sustaining Indian democracy and what challenges confronts it today? Does the revival of Hindu majoritarianism as a project of governance pose a significant threat to secularism and pluralism as democratic values? We address these debates through panels, conversations, and lectures that aim to illuminate the achievements, limitation, and specificities of Indian democracy. In doing so, the symposium seeks to foster critical dialogues about what the future of India’s democracy might look like and what role social movements and subaltern politics might play in giving shape to its compass. The symposium takes place at Sentralen in Oslo on 5 and 6 October and is open to the general public.