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Seeds of Democracy - India Votes 2024


Apr 06 2024 to Apr 06 2024 6:30 p.m.



Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

Cultivating Democracy: Politics and Citizenship in Agrarian India by Mukulika Banerjee is the first study of its kind of the world’s largest democracy that shows how the values of republicanism are essential for successful democratic practice. In 1950, after independence, India constituted itself as a sovereign democratic republic. While democracy indicated the character of the vertical representative nature of the relationship between citizens and state, the term republic outlined the horizontal relationship of fraternity between people and an active engagement by citizens. The discussion of Indian politics in this book thereby attends to both its institutional form and its democratic culture and shows how the project of democracy is incomplete unless it is also accompanied by a continual cultivation of active citizenship of republicanism. This book is an anthropological study of the relationship of formal political democracy and the cultivation of active citizenship in one particular rural setting in India, studied from 1998 to 2013. It draws on deep ethnographic engagement with the people and social life in two villages, both during elections and in the time in between them, to show how these two temporalities connect. The analysis shows how an agrarian village society produces the social imaginaries required for democratic and republican values. The ethnographic microscope on a single paddy growing setting allows us to examine how the various social institutions of kinship, economy, and religion are critical sites for the continual civic cultivation of cooperation, vigilance, redistribution, inviolate commitment, and hope—values that are essential for democracy. The talk by Mukulika Banerjee will be followed by a conversation and a Q&A session with the audience. This event is a part of BIC’s Election series.


Mukulika Banerjee Professor, Social Anthropology, London School of Economics

Mukulika Banerjee is the author of Cultivating Democracy: Politics and Citizenship in Agrarian India (2021), OUP Why India Votes? (2014), The Pathan Unarmed (2001), The Sari (2003, with Daniel Miller) and (ed) Muslim Portraits (2007). She studied in Delhi and Oxford universities and taught at Oxford and UCL before joining LSE where is she currently based. She was the inaugural Director of the LSE South Asia Centre from 2015-2020.

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