SAPT seminar: TT19: Week 6: Authoritarianism in India: The Postcolonial Settlement and the Coming of the Emergency

Conveners: Sara Perlangeli and Pratinav Anil

Speaker: Pratinav Anil


In 1975, virtually overnight, what was then the world’s ‘largest democracy’, at least on paper and in the rhetoric of India’s rulers, turned into a dictatorship. How did this come to pass? Thus far, the wide literature on this transition has focussed on prime minister Indira Gandhi and her coterie, the central actors in this drama; the series the economic crises and their attendant class contradictions; the contretemps between the judiciary and the executive. But, as this paper will illustrate, the answers lie elsewhere. Here, the very nature of the postcolonial settlement will be placed under the microscope to suggest that the Emergency cannot be explained without reference to the urgent political economic questions of the time, inter alia, land tenure, industrial relations, and the character of the Indian National Congress.

About the speaker

Pratinav Anil is a DPhil candidate at the Oriental Institute, University of Oxford.


All welcome. For further information, please contact