Democracy in India

Indian democracyA vote for laughterCompanion to Indian democracy

Columbia University Libraries is pleased to announce the launch of a new component of the: “New and Featured Books” in the Butler Library Lounge, Room 214. This display will include a set of circulating items from our collections that are curated around a topic of international relevance. Display themes rotate every semester, and feature books in three categories: newly-published titles, popular titles, and Columbia authors. You can check out these books at the Butler Circulation Desk (3rd floor), OR at the Self-Check Kiosks (in the main lobby or on the 3rd floor) OR use Columbia Libraries’ Self-Check app!

Democracy in India” is the second theme in the Fall 2023/Spring 2024 of the New and Featured  Books program. Established as a Sovereign Democratic Republic based on the Constitution of India, India has existed as the largest democracy in the world from January 26th, 1950 onwards, with a parliamentary government system. Encompassing 28 states and 8 union territories, with a 2024 population of 1.44 billion, Indian democracy has coexisted with the legacy of a caste system, multiple languages and scripts, and competing forces of religious pluralism and secularism, leading Robert Alan Dahl in 1998 to characterize India as “an improbable democracy.” The question posed by the title of a recent symposium in the Journal of Democracy (vol. 34, no. 3, July 2023), “”Is India Still a Democracy?” has been vigorously debated in academic circles and beyond. Included here are representative scholarly works on the contrapuntal forces of democracy, communalism, and ethno-nationalism in India, and their impact on the lives of 1.44 billion Indians. Also included are examples of dystopian fiction and political cartoons expressing contemporary anxieties around local and global struggles toward representative and accountable governmental structures.

A list of the books selected for the exhibit is available online.

For further assistance, please contact the South Asian Studies Librarian;
Dr. Gary Hausman ( ), department of Global Studies at Columbia University Libraries.

Popular democracy and the politics of casteProvincial democracyRadical democracy in modern Indian political thoughtThe political outsiderViolence of democracyWaiting for the people50 years of independence through the eyes of R.K. LaxmanAll quiet in Vikaspuri

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