State, Democracy and Civil Society in India

Students study the centrality of state, democracy and the active engagement of the civil society in development

In this course, we look at the modern Indian state in the postcolonial context and its institutional, political and economic architecture. We acknowledge the state’s role in steering India’s complex polity towards democracy and social progress even as we problematise it. We use examples from India’s history, from the proverbial tryst with destiny in the last decade of British colonial rule to the early twenty first century and the present. 

How have constitutional goals been transacted in civic life and what are the problem areas in the remarkable journey of this young republic? How is political authority legitimately constituted in a society? How has democracy as a form of political authority taken shape in a heterogeneous society like India fragmented around multiple cleavages such as caste, class, religion and language? How has the relationship between modern state, democracy and economy unfolded in the Indian society? And what is the relationship between democracy and development? 

In this course, you will understand the institutionalisation of the modern Indian state and critically evaluate the core institutions of the executive, legislature and the judiciary. Finally, you will examine state and civil society relationships and how this shapes development outcomes.