【Date】 October 21 (Friday), 2016
【Venue】 Room AA447, Research Bldg No.2, Yoshida Main Campus, Kyoto University
(Building no.34 on the map)
【Title】 India at Crossroads: Will Its Democratic Institutions Be Able to Withstand the Challenges?
【Speaker】 Kumar Sundaram (Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace [CNDP])
In the recent years, the political landscape of India has been replete with controversies and contestations. The faultlines have multiplied: tolerance, nationalism, tradition and India’s national identity, caste and social justice, gender questions, development and people’s rights.
The rise of Narendra Modi and the surge of right-wing political discourse pervading all public discourses is more of a symptom than a cause, while it is true that the active cultural agenda of the RSS adds a qualitatively different dimension and thrust. The Indian elite has decided to shun the agenda of neo-liberalism with a human face that it flirted with at the beginning of this millennium, and a brazen bulldozing of every obstacle to its pursuit – labour laws, environmental norms, farmers and tribal rights over land and natural resources, social and gender justice – is underway today. The shrinking democratic space and increasing marginalisation is being resisted strongly by the affected sections. The ruling dispensation has chosen to woo the sections benefitting from neo-liberalism – the urban Hindu middle classes – and consolidate them under the umbrella of Hindutva nationalism. Even there, widening contradictions have surfaced in the form of assertion by dalits and backward classes, with divergent and antagonistic cultural and political aspirations.
Is India heading towards a decisive fascist moment? There are disagreements even among the strongest critics over this question. How much will the country`s democratic institutions, its sheer social diversity and complexities, and the contradictions of neo-liberalism and Hindutva agenda themselves, be able to prevent a civil crisis? Some key determinants and their dynamics of the current situation in India will be discussed in this seminar.
On the speaker:
Kumar Sundaram is a researcher and a political activist based in New Delhi, India. After finishing his M.Phil in Disarmament Studies from School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, he has been working with the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), a national network of grassroots peace and anti-nuclear movements. He writes in magazines and newspapers on wide-ranging public issues. He also runs IndiaResists.com, a popular online portal on resistance movements and political discourses on democracy, secularism, justice and sustainability. He has been actively involved in solidarity struggles through various forums for past 15 years.
【Contact】 INDAS-South Asia office indas_office[at]asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp
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(This seminar is charge-free. No reservation is required and all are welcome.)