Inequity is challenge for Indian democracy: LSE teacher

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The instability that results from inequity in society and economic deprivation is a major challenge to Indian democracy, a teacher at the London School of Economics and Political Science said at a function in the national capital.

“How does instability because of economic deprivation and social inequity affect the functioning of the nation? That is a major challenge before India,” Sumantra Bose, a teacher of International and Comparative Politics at LSE said during the release of his book, “Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s Largest Democracy”, in New Delhi by noted journalist M.J. Akbar Thursday.

Bose said: “India needs a federal reconstitution of the centre” and added that “regionalism is becoming stronger”. He explained that far from challenging Indian identity, regionalism would only strengthen it, if the federal principle could work at the centre, and come into play in centre-state relations.

Talking of democracy, the author said it must must be construed not just as a contest between political parties, but as the daily turmoil in the lives of citizens.

“The nation state is being created not by the leadership, but by popular imagination,” he said.

Bose’s book deals with the years since Indian independence, the growth of regionalism, and also deals with issues like Maoist violence, as an ideological challenge to Indian democracy. It raises also the Kashmir question, a key to peace between India and Pakistan.

Commenting on the book, Akbar said “it reflected the India we live in, and not the India we remember”.

Replying to a query from Akbar who asked if Indian Muslims, despite their spread across the country could be rightly regarded as a singular electoral block, Bose said that would not be right, just as a similar yardstick would not apply to Indian Hindus.

Bose’s book is published by Picador India.

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