Tag Archives: Democracy Dialogues

 Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today : Professor Achin Vanaik

The 15 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series will be delivered by Prof Achin Vanaik on Sunday, 27 th February at 6 PM (IST) 

He will be speaking on 

Secularism, Communalism and Indian Politics Today‘ 

Speaker 

Writer and Social Activist, Former Professor of Political Science at Delhi University Prof Achin Vanaik is a fellow of the Transnational Institute

He is author of numerous books including The Furies of Indian Communalism ( 1997) , The Painful Transition : Bourgeois Democracy in India ( 1990) , Hindutva Rising – Secular Claims, Communal Realities (2017), “Nationalist Dangers, Secular Failings:A Compass for an Indian Left”

Summary  : 

The presentation will start with a series of definitions of crucial concepts such as secular, secularization, secularism as well as distinguishing between religious fundamentalism, religious nationalism and communalism. This is important to get a handle on how the widespread Indian understanding of secularism as an ancient form of ‘tolerance’ is dangerously mistaken. Of course the rise of the political right and far-right is a global phenomenon in the last few decades giving rise to different forms of what can be called the ‘politics of cultural exclusivism’. So the first principle of explanation for this rise has also to be transnational. After this the question of the rise of the Sangh/BJP in the wider context of developments in India over time will be taken up. It is obvious that the Sangh/BJP is seeking to expand its existing power and influence i.e., to establish and expand its hegemony and this must be understood as well as what are the projects central to its efforts to establish a Hindu Rashtra or Nation. It should be obvious that its particular conception of how to secure a strong Indian nation/nationalism must be exposed and combated. The presentation will end with recognising that this is a long term struggle and how we must go about it.

New Socialist Initiative 

Voices of Dissent in Pre-Modern and Present Times : Prof Romila Thapar

The13 th Lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series  organised by New Socialist Initiative will be delivered by Prof Romila Thapar, Professor of Ancient History, Emerita, JNU, author of many books and a leading public intellectual on Sunday 19 th December 2021 at 6 PM (IST).
Prof Thapar would be speaking on  ‘Voices of Dissent in Pre-Modern and Present Times

About the Speaker :

Internationally renowned scholar of Ancient History, Prof Thapar was elected General President of the Indian History Congress in 1983 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 1999. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Kluge Prize of the US Library of Congress which complements the Nobel, in honouring lifetime achievement in disciplines not covered by the latter.  

Prof Thapar has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pennysylvania, and the College de France  in Paris and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford, the University of  Edinburgh (2004), the University of Calcutta and from the University of Hyderabad.


 Here is a select list of Prof Thapar’s publications


Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, 1961 ( Oxford University Press) ; A History of India : Volume 1, 1966 ( Penguin) ; The Past and Prejudice, NBT ( 1975) ; Ancient Indian Social History : Some Interpretations, 1978 ( Orient Blackswan) ; From Lineages to State 1985 : Social Formations of the Mid-First Millenium B.C. in the Ganges Valley, 1985  ( Oxford University Press) ; Interpreting Early India, 1992 ( Oxford University Press) ; Sakuntala : Text, Reading, Historie, 2002 ( Anthem) . Somanatha : The Many Voices of History, Verso ( 2005)  ; The Aryan : Recasting Constructs, Three Essays ( 2008) ; The Past As Present: Forging Contemporary Identities Through History, 2014

The lecture will be live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi.

For security reasons the zoom invite will be shared individually. Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in attending the lecture

p.s. Here is a playlist of  lectures in the series :

 : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtXBfoS5KZ78UFI_aYzROjUss8ZzhUKxy.

Will India Survive as a Democracy ? : Ashutosh

The 11 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Ashutosh, TV anchor, columnist, author and co-founder of satyahindi.com at 6 PM ( IST), Sunday, 31 st October 2021.

Mr Ashutosh spoke on ‘Will India Survive as a Democracy ?’
A highly acclaimed journalist and TV News Anchor, a reputed Columnist, and a successful Author, Ashutosh was associated with AAP for a while but was soon disenchanted with this experiment and returned to journalism again with a new experiment in the form of satyahindi.com

He has many books to his credit,  Anna – 13 days that awakened India, (2012) ; The Crown prince, The Gladiator & The Hope — Battle for Change ; Mukhaute ka Rajdharm ( 2015). In his latest book Hindu Rashtra published in 2019, he  takes a hard look at the political reality of India and what its future may hold.

The lecture was live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in attending the coming lectures.

Nationalism : Then and Now – Professor Mridula Mukherjee

The 10 th lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Prof Mridula Mukherjee ( Retd.) on Sunday, 12 th Sepember at 6 PM ( IST). She spoke on ‘Nationalism : Then and Now’

Prof. Mridula Mukherjee, was associated with Centre for Historical Studies, JNU for a long time and was also Director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, ( NMML), New Delhi.

Well known as a historian for her work on the role of peasants in the Indian independence movement, she has authored two important books on the theme, Peasants in India’s Non-Violent Revolution ( Sage 2004) and Colonising Agriculture : Myth of Punjab Exceptionalism ( Sage 2005). She has also coauthored books with Prof Bipan Chandra, Prof Aditya Mukherjee on ‘India’s Struggle for Independence’ ( Penguin 2000) and ‘India After Independence‘ ( Penguin 2008). The monograph ‘RSS, School Texts and Murder of Mahatma Gandhi‘ which she has coauthored with Prof Aditya Mukherjee and Prof Sucheta Mahajan has been widely appreciated.

In this lecture Prof Mridula Mukherjee discussed Nationalism and its origins as a modern ideology, how nations are historical constructs with each nation having its own distinctive historical evolution and the emergence of two kinds of nationalism and how the present notion of aggressive, chauvinistic nationalism is in sharp contrast to the once evolved by the freedom struggle and how the task of preventing the appropriation of nationalism and its creative linking to progressive agenda is the need of the hour.

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in getting upadates about the series.

The lecture series is available on  facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi as well.

( Here is a playlist of earlier lectures in the Democracy Dialogues Series :

The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989 : Kumar Ketkar

 

The fifth lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues Series’ organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Kumar Ketkar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha at 6 PM (IST) on Sunday, 6 th December

Theme : The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989

Continue reading The Spectre of Evil…The world Since 1989 : Kumar Ketkar

Jawaharlal Nehru and the Current Challenge to the Idea of India : Prof aditya mukherjee

 

 

 

The fourth lecture in the Democracy Dialogues series organised by New Socialist Initiative was  delivered by eminent scholar Prof Aditya Mukherjee, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU who is also editor of the ‘Sage Series in Modern Indian History’

Theme :
Jawaharlal Nehru and the Current Challenge to the Idea of India
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Facebook.Com / newsocialistinitiative.nsi
Abstract :

In this talk I will look at how Jawaharlal Nehru tried to implement the vision of our national liberation struggle, which was reflected in our Constitution.  Critical elements of this vision were the creation  of a sovereign, secular, inclusive, democratic and pro-poor state. There was a consensus among the entire  Nationalist spectrum, from the Left to the Right on all these elements. While there was a consensus on the “pro-poor” aspect, from the early nationalists to Gandhiji to socialists and communists, there was no consensus on the idea of socialism, though a large and growing section was moving towards that objective. (The communalists and other loyalists who claimed to represent sectional interests, naturally did not share any aspect of this vision).

I will seek to outline how Nehru undertook the stupendous and in many respects historically unique task of creating a modern democratic nation state in a plural society, left deeply divided through the active collusion of the colonial state; of promoting modern industrialization within the parameters of democracy and sovereignty in a backward and colonially structured economy; of finding the balance between growth and equity in an impoverished, famine-ridden country; of empowering the people and yet expecting them to tighten their belt for the sake of the nation as a whole; of promoting the highest level of scientific education, a field left barren by colonialism; in short, of un-structuring colonialism and bringing in rapid economic development but doing it consensually, without the use of force, keeping what has been called the “Nehruvian consensus” intact in the critical formative years of the nation. I will also briefly discuss Nehru, who was deeply influenced by Marxism, tried to creatively move towards the socialist objective without compromising on the non-negotiable principle of democracy; though with limited success because of  a variety of reasons.

I shall end with reminding ourselves that, in these days of trying to erase Nehru’s memory altogether or to remember him in an unrecognisable demonised image created though false propaganda, much can be learnt from the legacy left behind by Nehru’s ideas and practice by those who wish to struggle to meet the current challenges to all the pillars of the Idea of India.
Sun, 15 Nov at 06:00 GMT+05:30
[https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtXBfoS5KZ78UFI_aYzROjUss8ZzhUKxy
This is the link of the playlist where you can find all the democracy dialogues video.]

 

 

State of the judiciary and reforms required : Prashant Bhushan

Democracy Dialogues Lecture Series Organised by New Socialist Initiative – 3 rd Lecture

Topic: State of the Judiciary and Reforms Required
Speaker: Prashant Bhushan, eminent Supreme Court lawyer and civil rights activist
Date and Time: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 6 PM IST

Zoom and Facebook Live details in the poster below.

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'Democracy Dialogues 3rd Lecture State of the Judiciary and Reforms Required Time: 20 Sep 2020 06:00 PM India Join us on Zoom!! Meeting ID: 848 2963 1643 Passcode: 799603 f fb.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi Live link: Prashant Bhushan Public Interest Lawyer and Civil Liberty Activist New Socialist Initiative A World for the Workers! A Future for the World'

[New Socialist Initiative Presents Democracy Dialogues – Lecture Series

The idea behind this series – which we call ‘Democracy Dialogues’ – is basically to initiate as well as join in the on-going conversation around this theme in academic as well as activist circles.

The inaugural lecture in the series was delivered by Prof Suhas Palshikar on 12 th July 2020. The theme of Prof Palshikar’s presentation was  TRAJECTORY OF INDIA’S DEMOCRACY AND CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES, Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta delivered the second lecture on THE STRUCTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY AND THE RISE OF THE BJP on 16 th August 2020 ]

The Structural Contradictions of Indian Democracy and the Rise of the BJP : Prof Pratap Bhanu Mehta

[Democracy Dialogues Lecture Series ( Webinar)
Organised by New Socialist Initiative]

Date and Time: Sunday, August 16, 2020, at 6 PM IST (8.30 AM EST in the US)

 

Topic: The Structural Contradictions of Indian Democracy and the rise of the BJP

Abstract:

This talk explores the deep social transformations that have made the dominance of the BJP possible. It will take a longer view of the trajectory of Indian democracy and explore the profound changes in social and economic identities underway that have prepared a propitious ground for the rise of the BJP.

The Speaker: Prof Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Internationally renowned scholar and political scientist Prof Pratap Bhanu Mehta taught at Harvard, at New York University and at JNU. He was the Vice Chancellor of the Ashoka University till recently and served as the President of the premier think tank, Centre for Policy Research. Educated at Oxford and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, Prof Mehta is a columnist at Indian Express, a leading public intellectual and a bold and thoughtful voice for reason and justice. Among many honours and prizes to his credit, he is recipient of the Infosys Prize, the Adisheshiah Prize and the Amartya Sen Prize.

[New Socialist Initiative Presents
Democracy Dialogues – Lecture Series

The idea behind this series – which we call ‘Democracy Dialogues’ – is basically to initiate as well as join in the on-going conversation around this theme in academic as well as activist circles.

We feel that the very idea of democracy which has taken deep roots across the world, has come under scanner for various reasons. At the same time we have been witness to the ascendance of right-wing forces and fascistic demagogues via the same democratic route. There is this apparently anomalous situation in which the spread and deepening of democracy have often led to generating mass support for these reactionary and fascistic forces.

Coming to India, there have been valid concerns about the rise of authoritarian streak among Indians and how it has helped strengthen BJP’s hard right turn. The strong support for democracy here is accompanied by increasing fascination towards majoritarian-authoritarian politics. In fact, we would like to state that a vigorous electoral democracy here has become a vehicle for hindutva-ite counterrevolution.

The inaugural lecture in the series was delivered by Prof Suhas Palshikar on 12 th July 2020. The theme of Prof Palshikar’s presentation was  TRAJECTORY OF INDIA’S DEMOCRACY AND CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES]

 

Trajectory of India’s Democracy and Contemporary Challenges : Prof Suhas Palshikar

[Inaugural Lecture of ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series ( Webinar)
Organised by New Socialist Initiative, 12 th July 2020]

Join us on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi for further updates

 

( Prof Suhas Palshikar, Chief Editor, Studies in Indian Politics and Co-director, Lokniti at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, delivered the inaugural lecture in the ‘Democracy Dialogues’ Series initiated by New Socialist Initiative.

In this lecture he attempted to trace the roots of the current moment of India’s democracy in the overall global journey of democracy, the extra-ordinarily ambitious and yet problematic foundational moment of Indian democracy and the many diversions India’s democracy has taken over time. He argued that unimaginative handling of the extra-ordinary ambition and Statist understanding of the ‘power-democracy’ dialectic formed the basis for easy distortions of democratic practice and that while populism and majoritarianism are the current challenges, they are by no means only special to the present and therefore, even as critique and course-correction of present political crisis is urgently required, a more long-term view of the trajectory of Indian democracy is necessary.

Here follows a detailed summary of his presentation prepared by Dr Sanjay Kumar)

Continue reading Trajectory of India’s Democracy and Contemporary Challenges : Prof Suhas Palshikar