Indian Politics since 1947


Since independence, democracy and the state in India have been transformed. This course explores key themes in Indian politics, enabling students to engage with contemporary debates and develop informed analyses of the dynamics of political change.

Posing the key question ‘Has India’s democracy been a success?’, the course surveys the evolution of India’s political institutions, parties and ideologies since 1947. Students will analyse challenges to Indian democracy—such as corruption, regional movements, authoritarian tendencies and the colonial legacy—and will engage critically with the politics of gender, caste, class, religion and ethnicity. The course examines the transition from state-led development to economic liberalization, and the transformations in the country’s political economy and national identity which underlie this. Finally, it also explores democratic developments outside party politics—including changes in ‘civil society’, the role of NGOs, and the development of social movements.

Throughout, the course uses a mix of teaching strategies, including lectures, interactive presentations and seminar-style discussions. Six one hour lectures will be complimented by four 1.5 hour classes.

Take a look at…

Atul Kohli (ed.), The Success of India’s Democracy (2001)

Stuart Corbridge, John Harriss and Craig Jeffrey, India Today: Economy, Politics and Society (2012)