2017 1st KINDAS Group-2 International Seminar “Protean Institution: The Impact of the Changing Composition of Parliament on Indian Democracy”
(Co-hosted by South Asia and Indian Ocean Studies Seminar)
【Date and Time】September 27 (Wednesday), 2017 10:30-12:00
【Venue】Lecture Room 1 (AA401), 4F, Research Building No.2, Yoshida Main Campus, Kyoto University
(Building no.34 of the above map)
【Speaker】Dr. Ronojoy Sen (Senior Research Fellow and Lead (Politics and Governance), Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore)
【Title】Protean Institution: The Impact of the Changing Composition of Parliament on Indian Democracy
This presentation analyses the changing composition and character of India’s Lower House of Parliament or Lok Sabha (House of the People) and what it means for Indian democracy. From what was in 1952 a bastion of lawyers, many of whom were associated with the freedom movement and legislative bodies in pre-independence India, parliament has become much more representative of Indian society. This is partly due to reservation or quotas for the former untouchables or Dalits (Scheduled Castes in government parlance) and tribals or Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes). This is also due to the successive waves of the deepening of Indian democracy, particularly the forces unleashed by the implementation in 1990 of what is known as the Mandal Commission Report, which recommended quotas for the Other Backward Classes (consisting of the lower castes who were placed above the untouchables in the caste hierarchy). The diversity has, however, been accompanied by a large number of members of parliament, who belong to political dynasties. At the same time, there has been a sea change in the political make-up of parliament from one dominated by the Congress party to the first non-Congress dispensation in 1977, and from the late-1980s the formation of minority and subsequently coalition governments. The transition from a one-party dominant system to a multi-party one has fundamentally altered the rules of engagement in parliament. Some of the questions I address are: To what extent has the changing composition of parliament affected its functioning? Is the impact superficial or is it more deep rooted? What does it say about the trajectory of Indian democracy?
Profile of the Speaker:
Dr Ronojoy Sen has worked for over a decade in leading Indian newspapers. He was last with The Times of India, New Delhi, where he was a Senior Assistant Editor on the editorial page. Dr Sen holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He has an MA in International Studies from the University of South Carolina and a BA in History from Presidency College, Calcutta, India. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington, D.C. and the East-West Center Washington, and a Fellow of the International Olympic Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland. Dr Sen is the author of Articles of Faith: Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court (Oxford University Press, 2010; paperback 2012) and Nation at Play: A History of Sport in India (Columbia University Press, 2015). He has contributed to edited volumes and has published in several leading journals. He writes for The Times of India, The Straits Times and Today.
【Contact】KINDAS Office indas_office[at]asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp
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(This seminar is free and all are invited. Yet those who plan to participate in it are requested to make a contact with the above office of ours, so that we can provide you handouts etc.)