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Nikita Sud presents on Indian democracy at FCO South Asia study day
Associate Professor Nikita Sud gave a presentation on Indian democracy as part of a Foreign and Commonwealth Office South Asia study day held in Oxford this week.
Professor Sud traced the trajectory of India’s democracy, pointing to its successes in institutionalisation, and in the broadening of representation to include some of the country’s poorest and historically most oppressed groups. At the same time, she also highlighted concerns in the run-up to several sub-national elections this year, and impending national elections in mid-2019. Despite regular elections, questions of legitimacy remain. This is particularly so in zones of conflict such as Kashmir or in the central and eastern Red Corridor riven by insurgency.
She noted that the weakening of opposition parties such as the Congress and the dominance of the Hindu right Bharatiya Janata Party had brought to the fore concerns about majoritarianism, repression of religious minorities, authoritarian strongman politics, the clamping down of institutional freedom including that of the media, and the growing role of big business and money power in the political process. She noted that these are global rather than just Indian concerns and asked whether the world’s largest democracy could help us shed light on matters that hold relevance for us all.
Professor Sud was one of three Oxford presenters at the event, which included staff from both the FCO and the Department for International Development. The study day was held at St Antony's College on 14 November.