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Semester 1

Understanding Indian Politics (PLIT10088)







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Visiting students must have completed 4 Politics courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we cannot consider interdisciplinary courses or courses without sufficient Politics/Government/International Relations focus. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Politics department. **Please note that all Politics courses are very high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

As a result of globalization and its status as a key BRIC state, scholarly interest in India has risen. The course seeks to understand the puzzle of Indian democracy and explain the numerous paradoxes and challenges underpinning Indian politics and society. The course is divided in three parts. In the first part (weeks 1-3), the making of the Indian post-Independence state is set out, by analyzing how it is shaped by, but also departs from the British Indian order. Specific attention is given to how the Indian Nation is imagined and how political institutions were designed to accommodate the multiplicity of ethnic, social, religious and economic cleavages within Indian society. The second part (weeks 4-9) of the course considers, explains but also questions some of the dramatic changes that have been attributed to Indian politics since Independence, starting from (a) the transformation of the party system and the nature of government following on from this; (b) the gradual inclusion of lower and Other Backward Castes in the institutions of the state; (c) the Saffronization of Indian politics linked with the rise of Hindu nationalism; (d) the economic paradigm shift from command to market economy and globalization; (e) the resurgence of Indian federalism resulting from the changing party system and economic liberalization; (f) the paradigm shift in foreign policy from non-alignment to Western rapprochement. In the third and final part (weeks 10-11) we touch upon some of the key challenges facing the Indian polity. Domestic challenges relate to ongoing ethnic disputes, especially near the border with Pakistan (Kashmir) China (North-East), and to the Naxalist rebellion. We also address the issue of rising income inequalities between rural and urban India, Muslims versus Hindu India, female versus male India. A third challenge is the need to provide more effective and transparent governance that is less tied to patron-client relations, and that is ecologically more sustainable. Key international challenges remain India's relationship with Pakistan, the balance between realist and normative foreign policy (for instance in relation to Myanmar and Sri Lanka) and India-China relations.

Course Description

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 85%, Practical Exam 15%

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