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Bajpai, Rochana (2017) 'Why did India choose pluralism? Lessons from a post-colonial state.' In: Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies.

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India, a highly diverse society, is an endangered pluralist polity. An early adopter of a constitutional framework that recognized group-differentiated rights, India is now challenged by forces that threaten its fragile political consensus. This paper is divided into four sections. The first section offers an overview of India’s diversity, state forms and nationalisms in broad brushstrokes. The second focuses on a particular change experience: constitution-making in India (1946–49). The Indian Constitution’s adoption of group-differentiated rights in 1950 presaged multiculturalism in some respects. However, despite a range of group rights, including quotas for Untouchable and tribal groups, and self-government rights for linguistic groups, a normative deficit remained in India’s constitutional framework with respect to the protection of minority cultures. Shifting to the present, the third section discusses sources of inclusion and exclusion in the Indian polity. Focusing on reservations, discrimination against Muslims, Hindu nationalism and violence, it outlines key dimensions of exclusion in India today. The final section summarizes key lessons from the Indian experience with pluralism.

Item Type: Other
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2019 10:17

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